Sunday, June 28, 2009

Anne Finch (The Countess of Winchilsea)--"Adam Pos'd" (c. 1700) This is a short poem about the confusion Adam (the Biblical fellow) would face if a vain modern coquette were presented to him, her type being supposedly unknown in our earliest natural state. It isn't a terrible effort, but I can't really get into it. Its claim to fame is that it is supposed to be funny, but I was grimly unstirred to laughter. The joke was introduced too soon, instead of being built up to, and then having been introduced, didn't have anywhere else to go, but re-emphasized the point brought up in line 4 for the remaining seven lines of the poem. Nothing interesting is brought to life in the sketches either of Adam or the generic nymph. As this is an assignment I have given myself, there is no need to tax my brain to try to extract thoughts from it which aren't there.

Now Anne Finch's hotness is a subject on which I might have something more to say. I'm kind of liking this picture of her. Not that she is a ravishing beauty, but she does have the curls, she isn't a tank, and she has the eyes of one of those highly sexed, almost too intelligent for what the practical world has to offer them literature babes that in fallow ages are one of higher civilization's few salvations. Does she crack my list of the top 10 serious writer babes of all time? Let's see.

1. Dorothy Parker. She was genuinely funny and a genuinely terrific writer in her form, as well as a babe. I don't have to live with her, so her being neurotic and miserable is not anything that bothers me. Plenty of people have these unfortunate qualities without a tenth of the redeeeming ones.

2. Charlotte Bronte. The drawings of her at least are very sexy, and we all know that she was a very intense writer giving off a flood of pent-up erotic frustration that even I could pick up on.

3. Fanny Burney. Author of Evelina, a good book which unlike many famous books by women, has the air of being written by someone who bears no latent animosity towards the sort of good-looking women men like. She looks in the paintings of her to be cute, or at least has the features of someone who had been cute, and Samuel Johnson is recorded, by her, of being very warm towards her at a time when she was in her twenties and he was celebrated for being one of the grouchiest men in England, which indicates to me that she must have been possessed of some attractiveness.

4. Ellen Glasgow. I confess I haven't read anything by her, but she was a real babe when she was young.

5. I guess the Mitford sisters can be taken as a group, since they were all better writers, in that spare, beautiful, stinging 1930s upper class English prose that I love so much, than 99% of published authors today. They also did things like dump their husbands to run off with avowed Fascists because the Fascist was a manlier man. Who in the literary world does stuff like that anymore?

6. Helen Keller. We've been over this before, but Helen Keller as a teenager and young woman = Cutie pie!

7. Anita Loos. Author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which is also a much better book than the supposedly smarter stuff people write nowadays with all their research and fellowships and everything. She was recognized as quite glamorous in her time actually, so I almost didn't count her, but she was a babe, and a pretty good writer too.

8. Edna St Vincent Millay. Camden, Maine is in the house! She didn't age very well, probably not unrelated to being a notorious nymphomaniac, but she was quite cute in her early days. We are heavy on 1920s American girls on this list, but that's what I like, in a lot of different areas, literature not least among them.

9. I know I am missing somebody but I can't think of who it is now, so maybe we'll put Anne Finch here. I guess I don't have a #10 I feel confident about.

Honorable Mention: Jane Austen--it is my personal opinion that she was probably reasonably attractive; she was apparently a very small person. Edna O'Brien--I saw a picture of her once when she was young where she looked really gorgeous. However, every other one of her I have seen is frightening. I've also never read anything by her. I also once saw a photograph of Doris Lessing, who is generally even more frightful, where she looked sort of cute as well, so almost everyone short of George Eliot has her moments. Virginia Woolf--She wasn't bad-looking, but jeez, if I'm making a list of prospective dates I want there to be some possibility of having fun on them.

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