The Curmudgeon


Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Intertextual Heart

A biography of Georgette Heyer is poised to shake the literary world with details of the historical romance author's accusations against the notorious Barbara Cartland. Cartland produced several metric tonnes of sub-literary matter about people with names like Vesta and (probably) Mavis, and it appears that the sanctimonious old gargoyle was not above bulking out her bodice of work with a bit of what would these days be called hommage, postmodern sophistication or Situationist daring. Heyer's character Sir Montagu Revesby, for example, had a near-namesake in Cartland's character Sir Montagu Reversby; and given the extent of Cartland's literary talent, it is quite possible that the resemblance was intended to be closer still. Heyer, who prided herself on her historical research, to the extent that she only found time to churn out fifty-six novels against Cartland's seven hundred or so, was sufficiently annoyed to instruct a solicitor, whereupon Cartland's Tarantinoisms came to an abrupt halt. However, an enterprising publisher did reissue one of the offending volumes, Knave of Hearts, under the slightly worse title The Innocent Heiress and the heading "In the tradition of Georgette Heyer". By that time, no doubt, the beneficiary of the compliment was safely dead.


  • At 6:52 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    I'm sure history will iron things out. But it's sad when literary titans can't get along. Hell, even GBS was on friendly terms with Oscar Wilde.

  • At 12:56 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    Yes, but they were both Irish and wrote plays.


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