The Buccaneers (Anglais) Cassette – 3 janvier 1995
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
The New York Times Book Review
"The Buccaneers brilliantly showcases Wharton near the top of her form."
"Mainwaring has added gloss to the story's original elegance and wit, and the novel emerges like a master's painting from the hands of a highly skilled restorer."
"Mainwaring's version of The Buccaneers is a tour de force. . . . [She] deserves high marks for her ingenuity, novelistic skill, and critical intelligence."
"A sense of unobtrusive accuracy of tone and detail prevails throughout Ms. Mainwaring's [writing]. . . . It's hard to imagine a better writer equipped to take on Edith Wharton."
The Wall Street Journal
Présentation de l'éditeur
After Wharton's death in 1937, The Christian Science Monitor said, "If it could have been completed, The Buccaneers would doubtless stand among the richest and most sophisticated of Wharton's novels." Now, with wit and imagination, Marion Mainwaring has finished the story, taking her cue from Wharton's own synopsis. It is a novel any Wharton fan will celebrate and any romantic reader will love. This is the richly engaging story of Nan St. George and guy Thwarte, an American heiress and an English aristocrat, whose love breaks the rules of both their societies.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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reading Ethan Frome in high school, or having
seen The Age of Innocence at the movie
theater. While she is best know for these works
they are dim in tone and portray the oppressive
nature of society.
In The Buccaneers, Wharton presents us with a group
of young women who have been rejected by
late 19th Century NY society, and journey to
England in search of husbands. Each of the
characters in fully drawn, and while Wharton
maintains her description of society as oppressive, she
counters this with the idealism and hope
of her brave young women and societal rules that with time are changing.
These women for the most part strive
to attain happiness, and unlike Wharton's
other principal characters, do acheive it.
This is probably the only Wharton novel
to end on a note of happiness and hope.
Combined with the richly drawn backdrop of 19th
century English & American society, it makes
for an enchanting and provocative read.
The story is told through the eyes, and from the hearts, of these young debutantes - wide-eyed, innocent and full of fun and American energy. Their longed-for entry into English society, and their subsequent marriages, joys and disappointments, as well as their strong, never waning, friendship for each other, is chronicled here with fascinating detail. The world of their childish fantasies is not the world of reality, as romance fades and financial worries, marital infidelities and lost love take the place of past dreams. They each struggle with the conflict between individual and social fulfillment, repressed sexuality, and the manners and mores of Britain's 'old families.' They discover secrets that were kept from them during courtship - intrigues, and hidden, devastating character flaws in their matrimonial choices.
Edith Wharton's descriptions of the wonderful American and British settings - the gorgeous countryside, great homes and extravagant furnishings, lavish clothing and courtship rites are remarkable. Each of the four young women have much in common, although their characters are quite different. Part of the glory of this novel is Wharton's development of her characters and their growth, as the young women mature with time and experience. The lesser characters are vividly drawn and complex. Her portrayal of the conflict between the American old society and the immense wealth of the newly rich robber barons and their socially ambitious wives, is an accurate and compelling glimpse of our past.
I know that Edith Wharton died before completing this extraordinary novel. I could wish, along with thousands of others, I am sure, that she had been allowed to live long enough to complete this masterpiece. However, Marion Mainwaring's conclusion does not diminish my immense enjoyment of the book in the least.
The daughters of the St. George and Elmsworth families have been snubbed by New York society for the newness of their wealth, and when their friend Conchita Closson marries a member of the British nobility, they follow her to England, intending to participate in "the season" and perhaps find husbands of their own. Though the older girls sometimes compete for the same suitors and are preoccupied with the superficialities of society, the youngest St. George sister, Nan, still retains her carefree spirit, her innocence, and her zest for life.
Wharton completed about three-fifths of the novel before her death, leaving a plot outline for the remainder of the novel. More melodramatic than most of her other novels, The Buccaneers is filled with domestic intrigues, as straightforward but remarkably naïve American heiresses are wooed by faithless suitors who need funds to support their traditional lifestyles. Nan's courtship and marriage become the emotional and dramatic focus of the last part of the novel.
The point at which Mainwaring begins writing is obvious. Though she follows the plot summary which Wharton left behind, her language is less elegant and less formal, her emphasis on the sexual aspects of the relationships more blatant. Marriage, when viewed by the participants as a social responsibility, rather than as a free, romantic choice, leads to the opportunistic marriages we see here, with one partner gaining at the expense of the other. Women take lovers, withhold sexual favors from their husbands--and talk about everyone else who does what they are doing. Trapped in stultifying relationships, they gain social acceptance at the expense of their freedom and happiness. The ending, filled with ironies, is unique among Wharton's novels, feeling more like a Gothic romance than Wharton's usual social commentary. n Mary Whipple
The St. George family is wealthy and cultured, but since they are "new money," haughty Virginia and childlike, passionate Nan are excluded from New York society. Nan's governess offers an alternative: the girls and three other snubbed debutantes will spend a season in England, where the newness of their money won't matter. The girls all jump at the opportunity (especially with handsome young aristos running around).
England's aristocracy greets them with both suspicion and delight: Most people love the honest, innocent attitude of the American girls. But when Virginia becomes engaged to a mild-mannered aristocrat, some people see the Americans as "stealing" eligible Englishmen. Meanwhile, Nan has fallen in love with an impoverished aristocrat, but she has some growing up to do first...
Okay, nobody expected Wharton's manuscript to simply sit there, unfinished. It's not very satisfying, for one thing. But "The Buccaneers" doesn't quite work as a Wharton novel. Don't worry, it's a fun read with glimmers of Wharton's wit and societal observation. She just took the story across the pond to England.
The problem is that Marion Mainwaring doesn't write like Wharton. She writes like someone TRYING to write like Wharton, and so her style and characterizations seem very exaggerated at times. Fortunately she only wrote about thirty percent of the book (based on Wharton's original synopsis) and so most of the book has Wharton's flavor.
Not that the Wharton sections are quite perfect either -- since the book was unfinished, some parts of it have a "second draft" feel. And her sharp observations feel dulled here. But it accurately captures Wharton's preoccupation with Victorian propriety, manners, and the delicate social structure around old New York. Not to mention a dash of Henry James, with the stories of American innocents abroad.
The concept of new vs. old money was a big deal in the 1870s, especially since it eventually overturned the old social order. Wharton populated her novel with wide-eyed (and sometimes loudmouthed) American girls, and impoverished young dukes and earls who are trying to keep the crumbling old estates going. Wharton also spiced up the cast with flamboyant mistresses, amnesiac noblemen, and a prim governess who happens to be the cousin of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Edith Wharton left a promising book behind her when she died, and fortunately "The Buccaneers" was given passable treatment by Marion Mainwaring. It's too rough to be among Wharton's best, but this flawed novel is still a fun read.