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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.

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.


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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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