Dating the Series
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#1: Dating the Series Author: champagnedrinker PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:57 pm
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LizB wrote:
And birth years


Madge & Dick Bettany - July 4 1907
Joey Bettany: November 27 1918



So, how does Joey manage to get to be 12 by the time the first book is written, which I thought was 1924. Or, are they EDB years between 1918 & 1924, and some different EBD years between then & the enforced move to Guernsey?

I've split this thread from Birthdays in Joey's Trunk as it was going slightly off topic and felt that it deserved a thread of its own!
Carys with Mod Hat on

#2:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:35 pm
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It's counting backwards from Joey saying she was going to be twenty one in November 1939 (in the second half of Exile).

Something has to give, since Joey didn't age fifteen years between the time School At was published and the outbreak of WWII. Since the date of the Anschluss and the outbreak of war can't be pushed back, the founding of the school has to be moved forward.

#3:  Author: champagnedrinker PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:05 pm
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I thought that was the case, or, rather, knowing, as you say, that the date of the Anschluss can't be changed, that you'd have to have a bit of discrepancy. Hence I asked about the "E B-D years" before / after the start of the school. Clearly time sped up a bit between Joey's birth & the start of the school, and then slowed down a bit.

Along with all of E B-D's other inconsistencies Smile

#4:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:52 am
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JayB wrote:
It's counting backwards from Joey saying she was going to be twenty one in November 1939 (in the second half of Exile).

Something has to give, since Joey didn't age fifteen years between the time School At was published and the outbreak of WWII. Since the date of the Anschluss and the outbreak of war can't be pushed back, the founding of the school has to be moved forward.


Yes, but equally EBD certainly didn't set School at in 1930 and go forward from there. She quite clearly refers to 1920s events and customs (the Vienna riots in 1927, the Austrian currency - EBD uses Kronen in School at, which were actually replaced by the schilling in 1925, etc.) during the early years of the school.

So I can't possibly accept that she was writing books set in the future - she wrote books set in the years she wrote them (untill you get to the 60s, anyway, when it becomes obvious she hasn't exactly moved with the times - but even then, I don't believe she was deliberately writing 1950s style books in, say, 1964).

That's just me, of course, Very Happy - I've never understood the need to date the series to particular years...

#5:  Author: CarysLocation: London PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:51 am
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I agree with Caroline. Some of the later books definately refer to the changes in society that the 1960's bought with it. At the beginning of Adrienne there's a scene where Janice/Judy are talking about a friend from home who goes to dances and has a boyfriend! I see EBD having been influenced by the swinging sixties when she wrote this and was trying to emphasise how the CS girls have a longer childhood than those girls who don't go there.

#6:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:04 am
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It must be virtually impossible to write an ongoing series in real time. With one book per term during the later years of the CS, there'd only be approx 12 weeks in which to write a whole book, and for part of the time EBD was writing she was also teaching and caring for her mother.

To give a modern comparison, Bridget Jones's Diary is set in 1995 (refers to the 50th anniversary of VE Day), and then The Edge of Reason (the sequel, carrying straight on with the story) is set in 1997 (refers to the Labour election victory and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales) - either you make it clear that you've jumped time, so to speak (which seems a bit silly really!) or else readers accept that there are going to be inconsistencies with dates.

The War sort of forced EBD's hand: in the books preceding Exile, although she mentions the Vienna riots and the situation in Spain, she doesn't link the books to an exact date, e.g. she doesn't show the characters discussing the Wall Street Crash or the Abdication Crisis.

Hope that that makes some sort of sense!!

#7:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:57 am
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Different authors have different approaches to this. JKR says, I think, that Philosopher's Stone is set in the year it was published, and the rest of the canon is dated forward and backwards from then.

Antonia Forest said each of the Marlows books is set at the time it was published, even though that covers about 35 years and the characters only aged about three years.

DFB goes from the First World War to the Second in the Dimsie books - I'm not sure how well the RL events fit in with the internal chronology of the books - Dimsie should be around 30 in 1939.

Miss Marple ages slightly over her 30-40 year career, but since she was already elderly when Agatha Christie introduced her, she should have been over a hundred by the end!

I think as Alison says the difference with the Anschluss and the War in the CS universe is that these are world events that have a direct impact on the lives of the characters. They have to leave Tyrol in 1938, the triplets have to be born in November 1939, they have to leave Guernsey in spring 1940. When I read the earlier books I remember that EBD was writing in the 1920s, but when I consider the series as a whole, I do mentally move up the founding of the school to the 1930s.

When EBD started writing the CS she didn't know it was going to continue for so long, or that the Anschluss or the War were coming and that she was going to want to write about them. She could have ignored them, pretending she was still writing about Tyrol in the 1930s. Some other children's writers of the 1940s ignored world events.

In fact I think she was struggling to find a new focus and direction for the series after Jo Returns. It might have ended at New if the Anschluss hadn't happened and given her the inspiration for Exile and a whole new direction for the series.

#8:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:48 pm
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Speaking personally it is impossible to write a book a term and produce them three or four per year. With RCS I've tended recently to have each episode last about six months - and I'm still a year behind present day.

I think the dating of the series is difficult exactly because of the problems already stated. I agree with Caroline that the earliest books were obviously written in the 1920's and that this cannot possibly equate to the war ones that are so definitely dated. I've tended to take the Anschluss set as canon and work back and forwards from there and completely ignore all the discrepancies about the start of the series and later - even to the extent of correcting Carola's date of birth in my copy - must be a misprint that! Wink

#9:  Author: claireLocation: South Wales PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:04 pm
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In Harry Potter they go to a deathday party and it gives the date, so everything gets worked out from then. It's not when it was published (probably when it was written though). Harry and co are the year below me in school (and I'm 2Cool

#10:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:30 am
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I wonder if those who do favour dating the series so precisely as to need to know the exact year of Joey's birth (or whatever) could tell me why they feel the need to do so? I can understand (just about) why e.g. Lesley might need to - she's writing books about the CS characters where the real world features more than it typically did for EBD - but what about the rest of you?

Have to say, I've never felt the need - to me, the books operate on a whole timeline of their own which is adjecent to, but not the same as, the twentieth century. So, for me, School at happens in Chalet Year 1 and Prefects is in Chalet Year 27. And Chalet Year 1 is 1924ish and Chalet Year 27 is 1969ish. And that doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I don't even think about it when I'm reading or writing in the CS-verse.

So, why do you, oh Chalet Dating Fan, feel the need to anchor the CS in real time, with all the compromises it involves?

#11:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:59 am
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I'm a historian: I'm a bit obsessive about dates as a result Laughing . That's just me, though!

#12:  Author: bethanyLocation: Liverpool (mostly) PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:24 am
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Because I am a scientist and like things to add up properly?

(or maybe because I am a control freak who likes things to fit how I want them to... Embarassed )

#13:  Author: MiaLocation: London PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:28 am
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I think it loses a certain something when you date it so obsessively, all the Great War references for example. They start to have less of an influence.

Plus there are examples where EBD corrects herself, for example at the start of Bride when she lists the Bettanys' ages to become a little more plausible. How do people reconcile those - apart from saying EBD got herself confused? Technically they're canon..! Very Happy

#14:  Author: LottieLocation: Humphrey's Corner PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:41 am
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Alison H wrote:
... I'm a bit obsessive about dates ...

bethany wrote:
Because I am a scientist and like things to add up properly?

I'm a bit of a mixture of both - I like things to fit together properly. So I like to date things, and I like to fit them onto a map. I know the dates don't work properly, and I'm quite sure EBD had no intention of writing into the future when she wrote the first CS books, but I like to date forwards and backwards from 1938/1939. I then have to cope with the anomalies that throws up. But at least it gives me something to work from when I wonder silly things like how old Joey is now, or how much older than me are Phil and Geoff, or when would Miss Annersley be due to retire.

#15:  Author: KatherineLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:56 am
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For mea it's about knowing how old people are and for that I use their ages relative to one another. Other than that I am quite happy to go along with the fact that time is elastic.

#16:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:58 pm
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I know that before I starting writing Headmistress I had given no thought to dating the CS, didn't even consider it. So Caroline is quite right about my need to have set dates - and to have dates of birth for the major characters. Laughing

#17:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:05 pm
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bethany wrote:
Because I am a scientist and like things to add up properly?

(or maybe because I am a control freak who likes things to fit how I want them to... Embarassed )


Weird thing is, I'm a scientist too - chemistry - and yet I'm not at all bothered by things not adding up....

Don't tell my boss!

Very Happy

#18:  Author: CarysLocation: London PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:46 pm
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Alison H wrote:
I'm a historian: I'm a bit obsessive about dates as a result Laughing . That's just me, though!


Another weird thing is that I'm a Historian to in a History related job and I'm more obsessed with picking out the social history clues which EBD scatters in the books so I can try and work out what era she had mind for each book. Laughing
I guess at the end of the day it all comes down to differences in what people think are important.

#19:  Author: PatLocation: Doncaster PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:06 pm
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I think some dating in the War years works. For example, the time on Guernsey can only be from around May/June 1938 (they left Austria during half term) to Easter 1940, when the school evacuated to Plas Howell.
I don't have a problem with ignoring dating for most of the books - you just have to accept that time passes differently, though that's just me. I don't need to date things for the stuff I write, which probably makes the difference!

#20:  Author: FatimaLocation: Sunny Qatar PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:18 pm
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Katherine wrote:
For mea it's about knowing how old people are and for that I use their ages relative to one another. Other than that I am quite happy to go along with the fact that time is elastic.


Yes, I like to know how old my characters are, and then more or less when things I'm writing about are happening, so that I don't make silly mistakes like having them on the mobile phone when they're not yet invented!

#21:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:42 pm
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Certainly for Peace it was more necessary to date the books, particularly with the large gaps on either side between an EBD book and mine, so that I knew which form to put girls in and whether I could use statements such as "x number of years ago". Also I had to make sure that historical events I used were exactly right.

For my next fill-in, it's not so vital to date the book to a particular year, but it works very neatly that EBD would have been likely to publish a story about that term in 1937 (Jo Returns was published in 1936 and New in 1938) so she would probably have written it in 1936, which happens to be the year where it fits in my Years and Books table. I love when things work neatly like that! Laughing

#22:  Author: jenniferLocation: Taiwan PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:31 am
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I find the dating thing fun, but figuring out dates for the CS is downright tranquil compared to doing the equivalent for massive stars and HII region. At work I have to accept uncertainties of up to a million years.

I find with the CS it's not so much a case of fitting the books into their historical context - the early books are more advanced for their era, and the later ones more old fashioned. The really problematic thing is figuring out relative ages of characters. If all the characters ages matched, but the actual years were fuzzy, I'd have no great desire to work out the dates.

#23:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:50 am
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I'm a historian, too. I'm one of those that isn't too bothered about making the publication dates fit with the internal chronology of the series. I tend to alter my approach depending on which book I'm reading at the time.

I'm still to some extent influenced by the way I first read the books as a child. I read them all out of order as I got them from the library and didn't pay much attention to publication dates. I knew that Exile was set just before and at the beginning of the War, so all the Tyrol books were 'before the war'. I didn't know enough to pick up on the references that fix the early books in the 1920s. In my mind I dated the start of the school by Joey's age, and put it at 1930/31.

Nowadays I do think of School At and Jo Of especially as being set in the 1920s. The social historian in me loves the descriptions of Tyrolean life EBD gives. And I date Die Grossmutter's reminiscences on that basis too.

But if I'm considering the series as a whole I do mentally move those early books up a few years to fit with Exile. And I always date the post-Exile books from the triplets' birthdate, even though I know that doesn't quite work either.

#24:  Author: Hannah-LouLocation: Glasgow PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:18 pm
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I have never felt the need to date any particular book; the Tyrol ones are, as someone else said, "before the war", which as a child was unimaginably long ago, and also in a different country, so I could accept anything they said as "just the way it was." And for the books after the war, they were still dealing with people who were Not Like Me (had servants, went to boarding school, wouldn't have dreamed of going to the local school etc), so again, I could accept things as "just the way it was." And they were still in that period of history defined as "before my time", and also in another country, so I never stopped to consider if they were accurate.

The only thing that does bother me is inconsistency between the books. If A is three years older than B in book 1, then that should still be the case in book 50!. I admit that I can get a little obsessive about stuff like that, to the extent of drawing out charts of the ages of my imaginary characters, complete with actual birthdays, even though I'll never write down my mental stories about these people. You'd think I could find better things to do with my time! Laughing

#25:  Author: JackiePLocation: Kingston upon Hull PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:02 pm
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I've just noticed something else regarding this - and I'd be grateful if someone with the hardbacks could confirm it.

In Wrong - at the end of the Water Pageant - The King is played.

In Shocks - Bride says that they can't finish the Staff evening without playing The Queen.

If this is what is in the HB's, then we have another date which we can nail down in real time. It would be interesting to see if it adds up with ages and everything.

JackieP

#26:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:17 pm
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Probably not - they were probably reflecting real life at the time - weren't they written on either side of 1952? Yet the triplets were 10 during Shocks meaning that, using their age as a guide, it was 1949. Rolling Eyes

#27:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:42 pm
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It can't be made to work anyway, regardless of characters' ages. Aren't these consecutive terms, either side of the summer holiday? The King died in February. If it was 1952, they wouldn't still be playing The King in June/July.

#28:  Author: JackiePLocation: Kingston upon Hull PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:50 pm
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So just EBD again then Rolling Eyes

JackieP

#29:  Author: MonaLocation: Hertfordshire PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:03 pm
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Quote:
It can't be made to work anyway, regardless of characters' ages. Aren't these consecutive terms, either side of the summer holiday? The King died in February. If it was 1952, they wouldn't still be playing The King in June/July.


Quote:
So just EBD again then Rolling Eyes


In this case, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt Very Happy . Wrong, Shocks and Oberland were all first published in 1952, so it's very likely that Wrong was finished and with the printers, or even on sale, before the King died.



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