PDF/EPUB Elizabeth Inchbald ✓ A Simple Story PDF ä A Simple PDF/EPUB ² ✓

When Miss Milner announces her passion for her guardian a Catholic priest she breaks through the double barrier of his religious vocation and 18th century British society's standards of proper womanly behavior Like other women writers of her time Elizabeth Inchbald concentrates on the uestion of a woman's proper education and her sureness of touch and subtlety of characterization prefigure Jane Austen's work


10 thoughts on “A Simple Story

  1. says:

    You'd never know it from the off putting title but this is a brilliant and rather neglected book a real page turner and unusual for the eighteenth century in taking illicit female desire as its subject The heroine Miss Milner we never learn her first name loses her father at the age of 17 and becomes the ward of Dorriforth a Catholic priest She's a charming but flighty girl who likes nice clothes fashionable parties and flirting with her army of admirers But she never takes any of her romances seriously; and eventually she reveals that this is because she has fallen in love with her own guardianThe idea of a young girl announcing a passion for her father surrogate is daring enough for a novel of 1791; for him to be a Catholic priest as well which in the context of mainstream Anglican England was practically to be a Satanist makes it super duper kinky Any Fleabag fans suffering hot priest withdrawal might turn here for their next hit Nor is there anything circumspect or discrete about Miss Milner's feelings the book is almost Brontëan in its explosions of emotion‘I love him with all the passion of a mistress and with all the tenderness of a wife’Dorriforth himself is not as unattainable as it first appears when one of his relatives dies there are moves to have a dispensation from Rome allowing his celibacy to be relaxed so that he might take on – and pass down – the hereditary title of Lord Elmwood Perhaps Miss Milner has a chance after allFollowing the development of this potential relationship has all the fun and misunderstandings of any good romance – but the amazing thing about A Simple Story is that the whole affair between Miss Milner and Dorriforth is resolved by the end of Volume 2 with volumes three and four still to go What Elizaberth Inchbald then does is advance time by seventeen years so that the second half of the book follows the experiences of Miss Milner's daughter MatildaThe emotional rollercoaster of those few pages where you move from a kind of happy ever after to seeing the awful truth of everything that came next is unlike anything I've read in a period novel It is eual parts frustrating and awe inspiring The second half of the book has of a then fashionable Gothic feel with a remote castle a rapacious viscount and some rather contrived regulations that keep people artificially separated until necessaryWith this unusual structure Inchbald is clearly trying to present a mother daughter comparison where Miss Milner was in thrall to trivial pleasures and relished her powers of attraction Matilda is sober and dutiful Modern readers are not likely to draw that lesson however nowadays it is Miss Milner who seems the vibrant and interesting character while Matilda is pretty much a stock eighteenth century ‘good female’ complete with occasional fainting fitsThat hardly detracts from the pleasures on offer here though Inchbald who was primarily a dramatist writes dialogue just as brilliantly as her background would suggest and the book feels like it's inspired by real emotion it was probably based on Inchbald's own passion for the famous actor John Philip Kemble – similarly unattainable because Inchbald was married to someone else The ending is also fascinating refusing uite to resolve events and leaving the reader to decide on the conclusion in a way that made me think of John Fowles's booksThe idea of how women should be raised and socialised was very in vogue at the end of the eighteenth century It's interesting that Mary Wollstonecraft who had written extensively about women's education was not a fan of this which came out just a year before A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – she criticised Matilda for her weak constitution why are these women constantly getting ill from sheer strength of feeling? she seemed to wonder as well she might but also criticised Miss Milner for being presented too favourably Wollstonecraft was very down on sexuality in general Inchbald repaid the compliment some years later by condemning Wollstonecraft for having a child out of wedlockSisterhood was not yet a thing apparently But the subversive power of female desire was already here ignored by disapproving male society and by the incipient feminist movement alike It makes this not simple at all but a fascinating as well as a hugely enjoyable story


  2. says:

    Inchbald's A Simple Story is uite aptly titled—the story at its core is indeed simple While it doesn't shine plotwise Inchbald's real strength is her characters In a time ripe with virtuous characters Inchbald's Dorriforth and particularly Miss Milner must have felt like a breath of fresh air Her characters have both admirable ualities and flaws I imagine the readers of Inchbald's time were uite intrigued even when they were scandalized by her heroine's less stellar ualitiesI found the first two volumes of this book to be delightful if not without flaws At that time it took guts to write a not so virtuous heroine like Miss Milner and give her a happy ending BUT BUT BUTIt's only for a short while Because volumes three and four reestablished the status uo with a vengeance Perhaps it was Inchbald's way of not going too far It's understandable as society wasn't exactly forgiving when it came to women and I imagine unmarried widowed in Inchbald's case female novelists were among the first in line for societal derision Woman gotta toe that line I suppose Still volumes three and four made me want to get stabby Really fucking stabby if I'm honestTwo stars is as high as I can go Though I'm still kind of fascinated by Inchbald herself


  3. says:

    This is an amazing novel It's very different from most 18th century novels It's way naturalistic in that it's not as mannered and self consciously 'literary' as a lot of the other novels of the time Which is not to say that they are bad it's just that this is just so different It's amazingly realistic And astonishingly sexual The latter half of the novel which deals with the heroine of the first half's daughter is very different but the force of sexuality from the first half of the novel is still there This is an amazingly thoughtful and intriguing novel and it deserves to be amongst the canon of great classics because this is simply one of the greatest novels I've ever read


  4. says:

    Loved this bookThe back gave nothing away a well paced story with a few twistsGothic in partsLoved the last volume where all ends happily


  5. says:

    35 stars


  6. says:

    Oh my gosh I LOVED THIS ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS It didn't change my life but this was SUCH an unexpected piece of work The back does not even begin to tell you the full plot of this story which is good because I ended up being pleasantly surprised I expected the usual she confesses her love and then they marry which either takes forever or happens uickly and then the rest of the book it just talks about how their marriage is doomed BUT NO this book had a great pace and I dare say it was really sweet Like the last part I just loved that eeee Don't want to give spoilers but this was just such a great read


  7. says:

    This is not a book I'd recommend to the casual reader but if you are particularly interested in the 18th century or if this period in literature is your jam then this is certainly a classic worth looking into Inchbald's background is the theatre and this makes her able to condense so much into a scene which another author might well take hundreds of pages to explain by painful repetition esp in this era Where Burney would have the heroine fall in a dozen scrapes of the exact same kind for the hero to continually stumble into it and become disappointed Inchbald puts it all into one powerful event In the same vein the dialogue feels like Inchbald is imitating Shakespeare than other authors of her time Again I suspect her background is to blame for that But the most interesting thing from the point of view of someone who reads 18th century lit is the dual nature of the story In the first half Vols 1 and 2 we have an astonishing story of a traditional controlling domineering sort of hero and a heroine who is an unrepentant couette but who loves him and eventually conuers him Revolutionary ideas for the time When I came to the end of this I was surprised and a little concerned because I thought that Elmwood would not make a good husband to someone who had so much independent spirit He was a bit of a tyrant after all In the second two volumes it's like Inchbald heard me and went ahead to make Elmwood a full throttle gothic novel level villain This makes sense character wise but then also returns to far traditionally approved gender roles and therefore makes this a less interesting less groundbreaking story All is restored to the way 18th century society would have wanted it the heroine is properly meek submissive obedient and passive The hero is principled and comes to the rescue of the damsel in distress A missed opportunity of course but not so very surprising considering the context Inchbald was by this time a widow who wanted to make an independent living out of writing In this though she had many suitors who could have swooped in traditional gender roles style and rescued her she in fact succeeded And that still makes her a pretty cool author to read


  8. says:

    35I can't remember the last time i got so angry at a classic maybe Robinson Crusoe but that was mostly hatred but this book i'm incensed i'm incensed this book made me use the word incensed what i was expecting picking up this book a young woman falls in love with a priest scandalous i knowwhat i got instead a young woman falls in love with a priest and the many things happened some of them better explained than others some of them rational than others but overall a lot of things happenedthe worst part of all is i can't openly discuss what's got me incensed because it would be a spoiler how big of a spoiler? literally the final sentence of this book just writing that sentence down annoys me all over again so please read this book so i can share my frustration out with someone else please


  9. says:

    You can read my impressions herehttpcarmenyamigosblogspotcomes


  10. says:

    This was such a surprise It's well written engaging and scandalous I felt the characters were depicted uite realistically; their flaws were explored in detail the changes of their dispositions over a lifetime made sense and their interactions with each other were nuanced and intriguing One character's persistent self sabotage was hard to read but realistic Another character's implacability and resentment called to mind Mr Darcy whose good opinion once lost is lost forever yet this character trait was really taken to the extremeA few warnings the entire story in four volumes takes place over many years so don't expect a neat little happy ending in one volume to carry over to the next I found the dramatic twists really threw me especially as they were at times so sudden Also this book express eually the flaws of men and women yet at the end no badly behaving man has excused himself been punished or even really changed while the women are subjected to a moral about which one received the proper education to guide their behaviour I can't take for granted the improvement in Mr Darcy's mind and character now that I've read this