Dorian and I thought it would be fun to do some kind of informal collaborative summer read-along; we settled on Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale as a book that neither of us knows and that lies in between our two main “periods” (me, Victorian; Dorian, Modern). I’ve been wanting to get to know Bennett on his own terms for a long time—suspecting, for instance, that Woolf’s brilliant but inevitably Woolfian perspective on Bennett in her (in)famous essay “Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown” is far from the only way to think about his contributions to the history of the novel.
The basic idea is that we’ll read The Old Wives’ Tale in instalments and take turns posting at our blogs to begin the discussion. Anyone who wants to can read along and join in, in the comments – or on Twitter or, of course, they can just post on their own blogs! When we get started, we’ll use a Twitter hashtag (probably #OldWivesTale21) so people can either follow it or mute it, depending on how they feel about this undertaking. 🙂
Here’s our (tentative) schedule, subject to the kinds of adjustments that both the pandemic and the fluidity of our summer plans mean are probably inevitable.
Our intention is to keep this quite low-key: the instalments are pretty modest, the overall time-frame for reading the novel is generous, and there are no rules about what or how much we will be posting or how the spin-off discussions should go. It just seemed like a bit of structure would be a good way to make sure we actually do this! Please do join us on whatever terms would make it fun for you.