Elizabeth Taylor Centenary: General Discussion
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July 3, 2012 marks the centenary of Elizabeth Taylor's birth. We will have a year-long celebration, with monthly reads chosen by the group. We had some discussion of how things would work on this thread.
Update 10 January 2012
We have decided to read all 12 of Taylor's novels in order of publication.
- Polls will be run quarterly, to choose 3 books for the upcoming quarter.
- The polls will be organized such that we read Taylor's work chronologically. The first poll will be limited to her earliest work. Each successive poll will include later works.
- We will read and discuss one book per month. Of course you may read books in advance, and return later for the discussion.
Threads will be organized as follows:
- General Discussion (this thread)
- Book Selection (to announce polls and results)
- Monthly Reads
We could even have a "virtual party" on her birthday!
The VMC Group Wiki will include links to all of these threads for easy reference.
Let the fun begin!
Complete List of Elizabeth Taylor's novels, in order of publication:
At Mrs. Lippincote’s (1945)
A View of the Harbour (1947)
A Wreath of Roses (1949)
A Game of Hide and Seek (1951)
The Sleeping Beauty (1953)
In a Summer Season (1961)
The Soul of Kindness (1964)
The Wedding Group (1968)
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1971)
Elizabeth Taylor's short stories:
Hester Lilly (1954)
The Blush and Other Stories (1958)
A Dedicated Man and Other Stories (1965)
The Devastating Boys (1972)
Dangerous Calm (1995)
We are currently voting on our first quarter reads. Visit the Book Selection thread for details and a link to the poll, which will remain open until November 30.
Oh, goodie. I've read three of Taylor's books, and have several more, including the first three published, which seem to be strong favorites in the polling so far. This will be fun.
I love the idea of this - I have read a few Elizabeth Taylor's and really enjoyed them, I currently have another TBR which I will save in case it gets picked.
The results of the first book selection poll are in. We'll be reading Taylor's first three novels, in order of publication:
January: At Mrs. Lippincote’s (1945)
February: Palladian (1946)
March: A View of the Harbour (1947)
I'll create discussion threads on the first of each month, and include links to those threads on our group wiki.
Meanwhile, let's get reading !!!
Based on our first book selection poll, it appears there may be a preference for reading Taylor's work in order of publication. Conveniently, she wrote 12 novels, so we could just read them all in order from January to December. However this does overlook her short stories -- don't know how everyone feels about that.
So, let's start with a mini poll to get the sense of the group:
Vote: I'd like to read all 12 novels, in order of publication, from January through December
Current tally: Yes 15, No 0, Undecided 2
Comments & discussion welcome!
I will joining you for the group reads in February. I have all Taylor's novels except two but one of those two is At Mrs Lippincote's, unfortunately.
I've started At Mrs. Lippincote's, but I don't know if I'll get through all 12 -- I've read two or three already.
I have voted - though having read 6 of her novels already in only the last 3 years, so may choose to join in discussions but not re-read them at this stage - although they are so wonderful I may change my mind.
Just put my vote in. And I am in for the twelve. A good/great book/author is always deserving of a re-read.
Thanks for setting us up.
I just read on Lynne Hatwell's blog (dovegreyreader) that she has been invited to attend this......
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975): a Centenary Conference
Cambridge, UK - 7 July 2012
Deadline for proposals: 8 December 2011
Abstracts are invited on any aspect of the writing of the novelist Elizabeth Taylor.These should be about 250 words and sent in the form of an e-mail attachment to arrive by December 8 2011. The conference will be held at Anglia Ruskin’' Cambridge campus.
Participants include John Brannigan, Erica Brown, Alice Ferrebe, Maud Ellmann, Faith Pullin, N. H. Reeve.
The plenary speaker is Nicola Beauman.
Papers will be of 20 minutes duration.
The convenor is happy to talk informally to or correspond with anyone who may be considering submitting a proposal. Please include your postal address and daytime telephone number. Ph. D students are also asked to give the title of their dissertation and the name and e-mail address of their supervisor.
Convenor: Professor Mary Joannou, Anglia Ruskin University
E-mail: . Tel: 0845 196 2049
(posted 11 October 2011)
Lynne is in fact the reason we are having our Centenary celebration! Her blog was the first to alert me to the event and get me thinking about how we could recognize it in this group. I hope someone from the group can attend the conference, it would be so interesting to hear about it!
Oh - thank you for the alert Cate and Laura. I will try and get a ticket. I went to a conference at which Lynne spoke in Oxford about three years ago and it was great fun! This Cambridge 'do' sounds a lot more serious.
Are we expecting a Viragoite to be presenting alongside Lynne and Nicola Beauman?
This was in the NYRB Classics Tumblr today: A Very Angel New Year, "Elizabeth Taylor's take on the post-holiday blues."
Angel was the first Elizabeth Taylor I read. I take it NYRB Classics is reprinting it?
It's being released on Valentine's Day in a new NYRB edition. I have to admit that it's my least favorite of the Elizabeth Taylors I've read.
So can I ask? Are we going to be reading all of Elizabeth Taylors novels only - or will we be reading short stories too. I only ask because I have a lovely copy of The Blush sitting here - and I wasn't sure if I need to save it for a particular month.
Looks like Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont is set for November then? I'm trying to read as much of my TBR pile as possible, and I own that one.
Based on the vote in message #14, it looks like we will be reading Taylor's novels in order of publication.
>26: so you don't need to save The Blush
>27: and yes, we'll read that one in November!
Great! I'll join everyone in November for Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont.
That sounds good to me. I don't own any of the short story collections, but have about 6 of the novels so will look forward to reading and discussing those.
I was only missing a couple of her novels, so this gave me the "justification" to buy them!
Here's a question for you:
I've blogged about this centenary a couple of times, and some of the reader comments got me thinking about how the event could be opened up beyond LibraryThing.
Facebook is a possibility -- specifically, a Facebook page focused on Virago Modern Classics in general. All sorts of reading events could be hosted / promoted there: the Taylor Centenary, Virago Reading Week, All Virago/All August, etc.. People could post links to their reviews / blog posts about Viragos, upload photos or other links, and start conversation. There's a dormant FB group out there but I have no idea who administers it and would be inclined to start fresh.
The Elizabeth Taylor Centenary could also take place in the blogosphere and be actively sponsored by a few bloggers, perhaps in turns for each novel.
I'm curious what you all think and any other ideas you have.
20 - Thanks for the info about the conference - I might well try to go along. I gave my first paper at a middlebrow conference last year, and Erica Brown was one of the people there - she spoke on Elizabeth von Arnim's Christopher and Columbus and was generally nice :)
32 - Laura, I love your ideas!
#32 Laura, I think you should start a new Virago FB group. I'm on FB more than LT these days, and have fallen impossibly behind on most of these threads. I might be in touch more on FB.
Laura, I started that group on FB yonks ago, and it looks like reviving it is easy. The other admin is a 'Simon Jones' from London. Is this our SIAB Simon!!?? Anyway, I'd love to see it active again (last post was in 2010) so, please, feel free to add yourself as admin and admin away!
>35: Cate, FB has made some changes since that group was created and I think a "page" would work better than a "group" in their current model. Given the encouragement here I'm going to create a new FB page. In addition to inviting people to "like" the page, I will post a message on the old group directing people to the page.
Thanks all ...
Go to it, Laura! I continue to prefer the LT environment to any other on-line, but I'm all in favor of spreading the word. Just point me to it when you've done it.
I much prefer the LT environment to Facebook -- I only check into Facebook now and then to see what's happening to younger family members.
Jane (#40), you mean you're not checking it every day to see pictures of what I've cooked for dinner? You're obviously not using it properly!:-)
I just discovered this thread and quiet at random I picked up At Mrs. Lippincote's to read on my commute Monday morning. I just finished it tonight. What a splendid and terrifying book. I also found your page Laura and have liked it. I am glad I finally caught up to someone's group read and look forward to chatting about it.
I don't know if I'll make it through all of them this year but it would be fun to try!
I too spend more time on LT than FB, but I will keep checking in on the VMC page to see what's going on. It's a great idea.
My copy of At Mrs Lippincote's finally arrived yesterday, so I can stop studiously ignoring the thread and join in soon!
No - that's not our Simon. Would be interested in sponsoring a post on one of my two blogs!
I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but could we designate Tuesday 3rd July as Elizabeth Taylor Day? Or even go for a week ...
That would give us enough time to organise ourselves so that we can cover every book, and as many angles as we can think of.
Possibly we might be able to persuade Virago to provide some books for giveaways.
And I'd love a guest post from anyone who doesn't blog ...
>45: hurray! I've made a note of that Verity and will be in touch
>46: ooh, some very good ideas there Fleur. I'll start a new thread to discuss birthday celebrations. And the guest post idea is a good one, too!
~40 and 41 Rob - your food pics are so tempting - not to mention all the other very interesting stuff .... or your mass updates!! I love being able to enjoy the pics of the children as well !
Anyway - I do agree with the view that FB is for me a secondary social place - this is my bookish home without a doubt! However, in terms of raising the profile of quality reading FB certainly needs bookish groups like ours!
Elizabeth Taylor's Complete Short Stories (Virago Modern Classics) is scheduled for publication as a VMC on 21 June 2012.
I have just had a look throughthe Radio Times and noticed that the film version of Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont is being shown on BBC2 at 1.50pm today. I shan't be able to watch it that time but have programmed my box to record it.
This is just for information, not a recommendation!
>53: I've seen it. Joan Plowright stars as Mrs P. It stays fairly true to the book and is a sweet film overall.
If you're a blogger you might be interested in this opportunity to host monthly reads on your blog. Please let me know if you'd like to host a month!
I am ready for February now. A nice green copy of Palladian arrived today - looking forward to reading it.
Aha, me too as I received a notice saying that my library copy was ready for collection :))
I think I might join you all in reading Palladian next month, as I received a copy for Christmas...
I'm looking forward to joining in with the Palladian read too. My copy is a new VMC but is actually rather nice so I am not too jealous of those of you with greens!
I had a hardback ex library copy but decided to buy the new VMC edition as I enjoyed At Mrs Lippincotes and this was relatively affordable.
I can't believe that Virago has 3 different editions of AML - with an autobiographical piece by ET herself, an intro by Tim Waterstone or in the newest edition by Valerie Martin.
At least they're doing intros for these ones, I'm quite disappointed that apart from South Riding the new editions don't even include the introductions for the green ones, don't understand why not.
I'm so excited to see so much interest in Palladian, it's a lovely book.
I am set and ready to go as well. Looking forward to it. Like Linda, I am still caught up in my Orange reads.
A lovely post by Rachel at Book Snob on our Elizabeth Taylor Centenary Read.
Thank you, Rachel!!
Pssst ... you heard it here first!
Our centenary celebration will include prizes!! I'll be giving away a copy of The Other Elizabeth Taylor, and I'm in discussions with Virago about the new volume of her Complete Short Stories, slated for publication June 21. Description and pretty dust jacket picture here.
I've organised an Elizabeth Taylor Day in the town where she was born. Her son and daughter will be there. Speakers include her friend, fellow author and admirer, Elizabeth Jane Howard (another under-rated writer) and Philip Hensher. Details here: http://www.readingarts.com/othervenues/event.asp?id=SX1348-A781F4E6 If any librarything members would like to come, please sign up as soon as possible.
71: I am very excited as the event is held at my sister's local library, five minutes walk from her house. I've just checked and she is happy to have me stay over the weekend and even offered to pop into the library tomorrow and get me the ticket!
It would be wonderful to have some LibraryThing friends there too. Anyone? Reading is very close to London and Oxford and not too far from Birmingham!
>74: oh you are sooo lucky Dee! I hope you'll come back with a full report ... and photos, even!!!
Second thought: you could write a guest post on my blog !!!!
I think I am about to click and book - yay!!! And yes done it:)))
Dee - we will meet and celebrate!
I know - oh Laura - I wish you could join in! My interest in Elizabeth Taylor was piqued partly because of her geographical proximity.
What a Virago evening I am having here - our Oxford tea party is going to be a busy week with Mother U coming to stay plus the lovely Helen staying in the most wonderful place nearby :))
http://www.kingswell-hotel.com/index.htm Maren will recognise it as we all had a very English evening here!
Squee indeed! So happy you'll be there too, Julie especially as it doesn't look like I can make Oxford. Wonder if anyone else will make it and yes, really wish Laura could!
I'm embarrassed to confess here that I didn't know Taylor was from Reading and won't be admitting that to anyone on the day!
No need to be embarrassd! In fact she lived much of her life in Penn, Buckinghamshire.
#71 I've just booked my ticket! Thanks for letting us know about the event.
#79 I hadn't realised Taylor was from Reading either...
Oh no, Reading doesn't look do-able from Nottingham in a day by car or train. Pity I don't still live in Buckinghamshire. I used to have an aunt in Wokingham but, sadly, she died.
I already have 2 other things to choose between for that day, so had better not even start to consider a third, although it sounds as though it would be a really good event. And of course, a chance to meet some fellow Viragoites before June. Ah well.
Ack, how did delete when I meant to edit?
*bangs head on desk* See below:
(no I'm not jealous, really)
>88: It's the Virago Tea Party in Oxford, to which all VMC group members are invited. I believe sqdancer links to the original thread in the msg above.
I just saw that a new book about Elizabeth Taylor has just been released. From the introduction it includes several new critical essays on her work and its contexts as well as a substantial number of her own stories, essays and letters which readers are unlikely to have encountered before.
Elizabeth Taylor: A Centenary Celebration by N. H. Reeve (amazon.co.uk, amazon.com).
Unfortunately it's quite pricey.
93: That looks really good! I notice the author Neil Reeve is one of the speakers at the Reading event so presumably the book will be on sale there. Now how am I going to resist that?
#93 I have added it to my wishlist on Amazon. It will be very hard to resist it at the Reading event.
Ditto the library thing.
Soup, you can resist by not having 60 bucks in your wallet.
Can't wait to read it though.
The Reading event was most likely planned in the light of the book ..... in other words they are very much hoping that we will all buy the book! It may have to be a 'leave the plastic at home' type of day!!!
Is there anywhere a list for the next few months? I know April, but May June July? I have some Taylors, but not all.... am just finishing up Palladian -- only a bit behind.
Oh, never mind, I see. 12 books, 12 months, in order of publication...... excellent.
Hmmm, I'll be back in July then as I don't have copies of the next few titles on the list. But I will be following the threads with interest.
GUEST HOSTS NEEDED!
I am looking for two wonderful Virago Group members to serve as "guest hosts" on my blog during the months of August and December. I lined up bloggers for all of the other months, but these two remain vacant. Here's what a guest host would do:
- Publish a short post (which will appear on my blog), introducing yourself and advertising the monthly read. Ideally we'd publish this a week or two before the month begins. Your post would encourage people to read the book, and to visit on a specific date when you commit to posting about the book and facilitating discussion in the comments.
The most important thing is to have fun and promote one of our favorite authors.
Oh -- and there will be a special reward to say "thank you" for hosting. I'll be sharing details of this soon, but trust me, it's good!
Interested? Willing to help in either August (In a Summer Season) or December (Blaming)? Let me know!
No blog required! You would write the blog posts as mentioned, send to me via email, and I would take care of publishing on my blog.
I'll volunteer for December and Blaming then. August is out as I'll be away and off-line for part of it.
Dee - well done for that offer! There were a great number of references to Blaming on the great Reading ET day so that is one to really look forward to!
Well Julie, I read Blaming a few years ago and have to admit that I didn't love it! I hadn't quite caught the Taylor bug then though so it will be interesting to read it afresh.
Errrmmmm - I'm a little nervous about this as I don't have a blog and I'm fairly new to all this - but I'm willing to give it a try (tho I will need a bit of guidance with the Mr. Linky - whatever that is - and the round up of links).
113: Hooray! I'm a bit nervous and not a blogger too, Kaggsy but you're in good hands with Laura :)
Oh...thank goodness! I've been wrestling with myself over this, and I was this close to volunteering, but my trepidation was stronger that yours, Karen.
Hooray for Karen/kaggsy! I'll put you down to guest host in August (In a Summer Season) and will definitely be an involved party in this whole thing. We'll start working together a little closer to the time ...
Glad you'll be there to guide me - looking forward to it (tho' still with a little nervous anticipation....!)
For those who have a kindle, the Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Taylor is available for preorder at Amazon. Prince is $9.99 for the over 600 page book.
That reminds me! I'll be giving away a copy on July 2 (the actual centenary), thanks to the kind people at Virago Press.
Did we know about comedian and writer, David Baddiel, doing a BBC thing about Elizabeth Taylor? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tp43
Good old Mr LyzzyBee spotted a tweet about it!
You can download the prog as a podcast here:
(it's the ep from 21st June)
>122-124: ooh, thanks for that! I just downloaded the Night Waves podcast and am hopeful the R4 programme will also be podcast later.
Just wanted to pop in here to say that on Tuesday I will be giving away a copy of Elizabeth Taylor's Complete Short Stories on my blog. I'll post more details here on Tuesday!
Two more days to enter the Elizabeth Taylor giveaway! Details here.
You know there's no correct answer, right Grant? It's OK to have more than one! I'm just trying to ward off the folks who enter any and all giveaways, and may have never even heard of our dear Ms. T.
Elaine (Liz1564) won the copy of Elizabeth Taylor's Complete Short Stories ! Congratulations Elaine!
ETA: Here's what Elaine wrote in response to the prompt, "what is your favorite Eliz Taylor novel and why?"
It is hard for me to pick one, but I think I have to go with my first Elizabeth Taylor because it made me not only seek out more of her books, but also seek out the rest of the Virago Modern Classics list. That would be Soul of Kindness. I am looking forward to rereading it this year to see if the heroine is as ghastly as I remember her!.
I can't wait to read that one in September!
WOW!!!! I don't believe it!. As I told Laura, the only thing I have ever won was a tune-up at the local gas station when I didn't own a car!
I should have added that if I hadn't read Soul of Kindness I would not have wanted to find out more about the ViMC list. It was looking for more info on Viragoes that I found a snippet on Google about Soul of Kindness. When I followed the link, it led me here to this forum. One of the nicest things that ever happened to me.....
Thank you, Laura, and thank you everyone here for just being you!
This is so awesome Elaine! You are such a generous, giving soul that it is well and fitting that you should have won this.
As for the rest of us: We can read the first three shorts (For Thine is the Power, Ever so Banal & Mothers) of this book online here:
Well, forget that. It was working but isn't now. That sucks!
It's working for me, thanks Belva though I think it's actually from the Elizabeth Taylor Centenary Celebration book rather than the Complete Short Stories. Still free short stories from Taylor though!
Elizabeth Taylor led me to Librarything and this group too. Someone on ReadItSwapIt requested a book from my swap list and the way RISI works is that you then decide if you want to swap it for a book from their swap library. There are links to Amazon and Librarything to help you find out more about each book offered. The swapper was offering Mrs Palfrey, I followed the link to discussions about Mrs Palfrey on LT and never looked back!
I love to hear those stories...did this group ever have a thread on "How I Found LT"?
I came to LT because I was busy buying Viragos and downloaded Christiguc's list. I then e-mailed her about a book missing from the list (Stella Dallas which I owned in Virago) and she led me to this group.
I gooled how to remove mould odour from books which lead me to an LT thread on that topic and the rest is history...
My lovely copy of Elizabeth Taylor's Complete Short Stories arrived today from Virago Press. Thank you, Laura. It is certainly a tome!
This article about Elizabeth Taylor in the current New Statesman:
Thanks for that, Kerry. Always good to see some appreciation of our Liz and it alerted me to Tracey Thorn's memoir too.
Is there a thread for the September read yet? The Soul of Kindness right? I have it all ready to go......
>144: yes, September's thread is here. I'm ready to dive in too -- just need to clear a book review off my to do list and I'll be there.
Just a suggestion - if we want to be Elizabeth Taylor completests, why not read the collected short stories in January 2013. It would be a nice New Year's present for the group. And ... if some people don't have the book and they decide to participate in our Virago Secret Santa book exchange, then those people might put it on their wish list ... though perhaps that might take the fun out of Secret Santa surprises.
#146 - great idea - though I am dipping in and out of it already : )
I'm currently writing a post for my December guest spot on Laura's blog, which looks back at all the Taylor novels we've read over the Centenary year and what we thought of them. I'm looking at which were the favourites, which weren't, which ones divided opinion and how our opinions on Taylor have evolved over the year.
Could I please check that it's ok to refer to people's comments made on LT in reviews and on our threads? I would, of course, be referring to LT usernames rather than real names. If anyone wouldn't be happy with this, please let me know.
I didn't end up reading or contributing much to the Taylor reads, but if I said anything worth repeating, you're welcome to do so Dee!
I only read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont but I loved it. You can quote anything I said or my review.
You can quote me too, if you wish. I liked your first blog post, it was very well written and insightful.
The post I mentioned above is now up on Laura's blog.
I've looked back on what bloggers and LibraryThing members have said about Elizabeth Taylor during our centenary celebrations this year. Please do drop by to have a read, make a comment and/or check I haven't misrepresented you! There was so much more I could have included but even my "concise" version gave Laura a bit of a challenge, in squeeezing it into its blog space.
There's also a giveaway prize of a 1987 Virago green copy of A View of The Harbour, so if you're looking for a copy there's another reason to visit!
It's a wonderful post, Dee, and I'm seeing lots of traffic on the blog today!
Even though I fell off the wagon and didn't read any Taylor after A Wreath of Roses, I really enjoyed the wrap-up post, Dee and Laura! She was a new author to me and I look forward to reading more.
And woot! I got quoted in the blog :)
@ # 161;
katie, I did as well. WOOT!~! Does that mean we are famous? lol!~!
Soup, I certainly enjoyed your post on Laura's blog. Well done my friend, well done!
Ooh, I'm quoted too! Thank you, I feel honoured :-) And it is a lovely post with which to sum up the year.
It has been a wonderful year - reading Elizabeth Taylor - and promted by Dee's lovely post on Laura's blog I have been reflecting on my own year of reading Elizabeth Taylor.
Thank you Laura - for hosting this wonderful event for us all - I have loved it.
This has been a great Virago event and focus for the year. Anyone offering or organizing anything else like it for next year?
BTW - I am deep into the collection of short stories The Blush and they are truly excellent.
Ali - I want to say it here too - your blog post rounding it all up is EXCELLENT; I really enjoyed reading it.
We will have fun with Our Barbara next year, though!
That's a superb post, Ali. I'll link to it in Dee's Sunday post and on my Centenary page.
Wonderful post Ali and Lucy, the stories in The Blush are just perfect, aren't they?
I received the Complete stories for Christmas - am really looking forward to dipping into them!
OOoh lucky you! Might have to pick that up with my clicky-clicky vouchers I still have left ...
I missed out on most of this Taylor reading year because I was trying to concentrate on reading books I already had on my shelves, and at the start of 2012 I didn't have any ET. By the end of the year I had managed to acquire a couple, so my very last book of 2012 was At Mrs Lippincote's - I'm glad to have squeezed that in and to have participated in a small and late way in the centenary read. I'll be looking forward to reading more of her as I gradually acquire them, but meanwhile, here comes Barbara Pym!
I didn't do well with the Taylor reads, either. I did the first 3, and then I guess you'd have to call me a drop-out. I didn't own 4 and 5, and just fell off the bus. I had already read Angel and The Wedding Group, but missed getting in on those discussions. I will make it a priority to visit their threads sometime soon, though, and soak up everyone's thoughts. As you say, Genny, on to Barbara Pym, who I already love and hope to do better by in the coming year.
@ > # 174;
LyzzyBee; I clicky-clickyed a ton of Psresphones before we left on our trip. We will get home at 3:00 A.M. this night/tomorrow and I can't wait to open and add them to my library. They arrived the day we left and I didn't get a chance to do so at the time. Will be a bit before I clicky-clicky again, I am afraid. ;-)
ha ha; We arrived home at 3:00 A.M. today and whilst the others are snoozing away I remain up and am here at the computer to open and add my clicky-clicky books to my library. I thought about those packages the whole time I was gone (except for when I was watching football games).
I've finished up my last Taylor book, short stories The Devastating Boys - they were good but not great - somehow I wasn't as taken with them as I was with the first set in
The Blush. In case anyone else reads it - Suzanne Lenglen was a French tennis sensation in the 20's and she wore a 'bandeau' around her head that became a very chic thing. She also had a bit of a wild rep. so it was a social statement to wear one. You can find the review if you click on the book title.
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