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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2019, 23:22 
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There's a book called Killing Dragons about the development of alpinism which you might enjoy Miles. It has a lot about how perceptions and portrayals of the Alps changed over time. I suspect Alison might have read it...

I think that EBDs portrayals are always going to be coloured by the fact that she is a visitor writing about people moving to the Alps rather than a native writing about natives. Doesn't mean that her portrayal is wrong, just that her priorities are different. Also worth bearing in mind that she was writing in an era where mountaineering was competitive and a matter of national prestige - big alpine faces in the 1930s and the Himalayas post war.


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2019, 01:15 
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One thing I notice when comparing EBD to books by EJO or Brazil is that the Chalet books are very enthusiastic about nature, but the descriptions are shallow. Girls rave over the views and the picturesque Alpine huts and meadows, but there isn't much detail. The EJO and Brazil books are in more familiar (at least to UK readers!) settings, but the detail is denser. The mention particular species of plants and their seasonal variations, and individual birdsongs. The descriptions are written from the point of view of someone who knows the local ecosystem well. EBD only visited Austria briefly, and Switzerland not at all, so the detail is missing. The closest EBD comes is in the seabirds in St Briaval's, which definitely has more of a guide-book tone.

I think the name Heidi in English comes purely from the popularity of the book.

EJO's Swiss books come pretty close to the Chalet School. They have a boarding school in the Swiss Alps, established on English lines (but bilingual) for the children of patients at the Swiss Sanatorium. There is beautiful scenery, daring rescues and exciting adventures. The main difference is that there's a corresponding boys' school, and plotlines about flirtations.

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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2019, 11:31 
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Alison H wrote:
Also, from quite early on in the days of Alpinism, women were involved - we see Eustacia and Thekla being quite shocked that the girls go clambering up mountains, so there's a bit of women's lib in there.
Yes, corsets and long skirts didn't stop the early women climbers, though bifurcated garments for females became more acceptable with the rise in popularity of cycling around the 1890s. Eustacia may have felt that climbing breeches were "unmaidenly", but that was already an old-fashioned view in 1930.

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I think the name Heidi in English comes purely from the popularity of the book.
Perhaps not entirely - one of my younger relatives (just turned five) is called Heidi, and it's been a popular name in East Anglia, where she lives, for decades. In that instance, I think the popularity arises from the American presence in East Anglia, particularly via the USAF air-bases.


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2019, 12:15 
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EJO's Swiss books come pretty close to the Chalet School. They have a boarding school in the Swiss Alps, established on English lines (but bilingual) for the children of patients at the Swiss Sanatorium. There is beautiful scenery, daring rescues and exciting adventures. The main difference is that there's a corresponding boys' school, and plotlines about flirtations.


EJO's Swiss books were written before EBD started her Chalet series, too. The 'flirtations' plotline is shown ans something to be frowned upon, but EJO also shows developing relationships that will lead to marriage in the later books, when the characters have left school.

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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2019, 13:42 
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Noreen wrote:
jennifer wrote:
I think the name Heidi in English comes purely from the popularity of the book.
Perhaps not entirely - one of my younger relatives (just turned five) is called Heidi, and it's been a popular name in East Anglia, where she lives, for decades. In that instance, I think the popularity arises from the American presence in East Anglia, particularly via the USAF air-bases.

I was chatting with a friend called Heidi yesterday (not having seen this thread until today!) and was somewhat taken aback when she commented on how many dogs she has come across which seem to be called Heidi :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 07 Jan 2020, 13:29 
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Thanks for the recommendation of Killing Dragons, exile. I now own a copy and it goes on the already overloaded To Be Read shelf.

In the meantime, I have been reading The Gilded Chalet: Travels Through Literary Switzerland by Padraig Rooney. This book is not unknown in CS fandom as months ago – before I started posting here – I came across someone discussing a book which I now recognize as this. Doesn’t seem to be on CBB, though, so I’ll summarise. It is disappointingly low on both Alpine air (no Heidi!) and TB sanitoria (he gives up on The Magic Mountain a third of the way through) as he prefers tales of spies and bankers and is drawn to more self-consciously literary material than CS. I like to imagine an editorial meeting.

Editor: We like the stuff on Joyce and Nabakov, but you’ll need to read EBD’s Chalet School as well.
Rooney: no prob. I’ll read that.
Editor: There’s 58 of them. Bare minimum.

His conclusions ae that the series created/played to “a certain notion of alpine luxury – Kaffee und Kuchen, galumphing girls with crushes on handsome ski instructors and mistresses of French alike.” Hmmm…
More positively, he’s drawn to the war books, tracing the school’s movements and arguing that it’s final movement to Switzerland “mirrors not only Switzerland’s perceived role throughout two world wars, but also Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s trajectory,” which, I suppose gives us some literary connections. He also says that EBD is credited with inventing the term “smashing” – is that true?

Anyway, I found the book disappointing. Other Alpinists may find more there.


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 07 Jan 2020, 20:03 
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That was pretty much what I thought of The Gilded Chalet!

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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 08 Jan 2020, 13:33 
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Aren't some of Showell Styles mountaineering books set in the alps (ages since I read them)? Climbing and spies combined IIRC

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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 08 Jan 2020, 17:25 
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Miles wrote:
He also says that EBD is credited with inventing the term “smashing” – is that true?

.


No. It's an Americanism, for a start.

It's usually "fabulous/fab" that EBD is credited with inventing/popularising and she didn't do that either!


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2020, 13:12 
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Showell-Styles - there's a name which rings the very faintest of bells in my Pooh-sized brain. I must have read some when young. Having looked him up on wiki he appear to have written 160 books, many of which are concerned with mountaineering and/or spies. But I'm really looking for alpine fiction which might be thematically similar to CS. This would include: Alpine heroines, mountain health, sanitoria, English schools in the alps.

I'm relatively confident that some academic will have done a comprehensive study of Alpine literature and that this would provide new contexts for me/us to think about CS. It is distinctly possible, of course, that such a book was only ever printed in German.

I'm sorry to hear that EBD did not invent either "smashing" or "fab" (it would great to think she'd contributed to the slang which is so rigorously outlawed in the Chalet School). Who was it who claimed she had invented the term "fabulous"?


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 10 Jan 2020, 22:59 
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Miles wrote:

I'm sorry to hear that EBD did not invent either "smashing" or "fab" (it would great to think she'd contributed to the slang which is so rigorously outlawed in the Chalet School). Who was it who claimed she had invented the term "fabulous"?


If I recall correctly, the claim was made in an obituary and was "quoted on" from there. Goodness knows from where the writer got it.


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2020, 13:39 
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It would come as a significant surprise to anyone who actually knows me that I had some medium-term plans for this thread. I was going to read The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (published 1924 in German, set in a TB hospital in Switzerland) and prompt discussion on this. The flaw in the plan was that it assumed I'd find time to read it by actually taking my two week summer holiday in Turkey this year, and I'm sure you can imagine how that fell apart.

Ho hum. Moving onwards. Anyone read this and do you recommend it? (it's not cheap)


[The Alps: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)] [By: Beattie, Andrew] [November, 2006] Hardcover – 12 Nov. 2006

The Alps are Europe's highest mountain range; their broad arc stretches right across the centre of the continent, encompassing a wide range of traditions and cultures. In former times the mountains were feared as the realm of wild and dangerous beasts, and the few travellers who ventured over high passes such as the Simplon or the Great St. Bernard expected to encounter tempests and torments of hellish proportions. But over time the Alps became celebrated by writers for their beauty rather than their savagery. In the nineteenth century, inspired in part by the work of poets such as Byron and Shelley, tourists began flocking to the mountains, and with the development of winter sports a hundred years ago the fate of the Alps as one of the great tourist playgrounds of the world was sealed. Andrew Beattie explores the turbulent past and vibrant present of this landscape, where early pioneers of tourism, mountaineering and scientific research, along with the enduring legacies of historical regimes from the Romans to the Nazis, have all left their mark. * HISTORICAL FIGURES: From Julius Caesar and Hannibal to Napoleon and William Tell, the position of the Alps at the heart of Europe has led to centuries of war and conflict. * FOLKLORE AND TRADITION: The wildness of the mountains has inspired a unique popular culture, from legendary tales of dragons flying among the peaks to performances of religious passion plays in valley towns. * WRITERS, ARTISTS AND FILM-MAKERS: From the Romantic poets to Charles Dickens and Mark Twain; from Turner and Ruskin to the film-maker Leni Riefenstahl; from James Bond to The Sound of Music; the beautiful scenery of the Alps has provided the setting for books, poems, films and paintings through the centuries.


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2020, 17:22 
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Miles wrote:
It would come as a significant surprise to anyone who actually knows me that I had some medium-term plans for this thread. I was going to read The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (published 1924 in German, set in a TB hospital in Switzerland) .


I wouldn't bother. I started it last June, before my holiday in Switzerland. Still not finished it! It's very long and not very readable :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2020, 18:30 
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Sorry Miles I only just saw your question about attitudes to the Alps in German literature. I can't help you because although yes, I do read German, I am scared of the Alps so would not read about them if I could avoid it.

I find them far too imposing and overwhelming and spent my time in Pertisau keeping my eyes firmly on the lake!

My Czech parents however were great skiers - in fact they met on the ski slopes in the 1930s in the Riesengebirge. Not exactly the Alps but big enough mountains to bother me. They were totally matter of fact about them, skiing merrily across frontiers before the war....

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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2020, 21:44 
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Alison H wrote:
Miles wrote:
It would come as a significant surprise to anyone who actually knows me that I had some medium-term plans for this thread. I was going to read The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (published 1924 in German, set in a TB hospital in Switzerland) .


I wouldn't bother. I started it last June, before my holiday in Switzerland. Still not finished it! It's very long and not very readable :lol: .



Which is kind of the attraction (Alpine themes aside). There's a point where reading becomes an extreme sport, usual notions of pleasure evaporate and and you're doing it for... Because it's there,I guess. If that makes any sense. Anyway, you've all been spared my desperate attempts to make tenuous links between EBD and Thomas Mann for at least a year, so don't say 2020 was all bad!


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2020, 21:47 
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My Czech parents however were great skiers - in fact they met on the ski slopes in the 1930s in the Riesengebirge. Not exactly the Alps but big enough mountains to bother me. They were totally matter of fact about them, skiing merrily across frontiers before the war....[/quote]


Sounds like an epic romance as war clouds gather. I can't wait for the film.


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 14 Sep 2020, 21:08 
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Reading a good book at the moment - HOW THE ENGLISH MADE THE ALPS by Jim Ring. Although it has its fair dollop of mountaineering, it's just as much about tourism. It says that the first regular scheduled channel crossing was 1820 (the Napoleonic war having put a stop to Alpine pursuits which had started to become popular late in the previous century) and by 1957 critic/aesthete John Ruskin was complaining about the general populace crowding into what had once been a sublime location.

Very interesting book and I recommend it. Domestic commitments mean I have had to pitch base camp on page 106, but the index tells me that the first reference to the Tyrol is only two pages away....


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 Post subject: Re: HEIDI and other Alpine Literature
PostPosted: 14 Sep 2020, 21:28 
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I read that last year, before I went to Switzerland ... in the Good Old Days when going abroad was a normal thing to do.

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