Making Conversation

Making Conversation

Christine Longford Rachel Billington / Jan 17, 2020

Making Conversation The heroine Martha is plain with curly hair small eyes which she tries to enlarge in a soulful manner by stretching them in front of the looking glass and very little chin She is extremely clever

  • Title: Making Conversation
  • Author: Christine Longford Rachel Billington
  • ISBN: 9781903155738
  • Page: 303
  • Format: Paperback
  • The heroine, Martha, is plain, with curly hair, small eyes which she tries to enlarge in a soulful manner by stretching them in front of the looking glass, and very little chin She is extremely clever and totally innocent Her besetting trouble is that she either talks too much, or too little she can never get right the balance of conversation The genteel school MarthaThe heroine, Martha, is plain, with curly hair, small eyes which she tries to enlarge in a soulful manner by stretching them in front of the looking glass, and very little chin She is extremely clever and totally innocent Her besetting trouble is that she either talks too much, or too little she can never get right the balance of conversation The genteel school Martha goes to is run by Miss Spencer and Miss Grossmith Martha doesn t mind them Indeed, she doesn t really mind anything she is a most detached girl, letting even their idiotic sarcasms slide off her back Now Martha, said Miss Spencer, What is adultery Martha had not the faintest idea It is a sin, she said, committed by adults, putting the accent on the second syllable That is a parrot s answer You think you are very clever, Martha, attempting to conceal your ignorance and your lack of thought The attempt at concealment is not better than a lie Adultery is self indulgence It is the extra lump of sugar in your tea It is the extra ten minutes in bed in the morning It is the extra five minutes a girl wastes by dawdling up the High Street and gaping at the shop windows Martha accepts this Chadbandery in the same way as she accepts the constant nagging that she should be keen on netball, and the gossip she hears around her concerning her preceptors The new Persephone Preface to Making Conversation is by Rachel Billington, who is Christine Longford s niece by marriage She describes the menage at Tullynally Castle where the Longfords lived and describes why, despite the wonderful reviews Christine received for the book, she gave up writing.

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      Posted by:Christine Longford Rachel Billington
      Published :2019-03-23T23:53:25+00:00

    About "Christine Longford Rachel Billington"

      • Christine Longford Rachel Billington

        Christine Longford n e Trew was born in 1900 in Somerset and died 14 May 1980 in Dublin, Ireland Following her parents separation her mother took in lodgers while Christine attended Oxford Wells High School She won a scholarship to study Classics at Somerville College, Oxford There she met and in 1925 married Edward Pakenham, later 6th Earl of Longford She moved to Ireland with her husband in 1925 They divided their time between Dublin and Pakenham Hall, now Tullynally Castle, in Castlepollard, County Westmeath.In 1930, Christine Longford and her husband bought shares in The Dublin Gate Theatre Company In addition to designing costumes and managing productions Christine wrote plays including Lord Edward and Patrick Sarsfield She also adapted novels for the stage, Jane Austen s Pride and Prejudice among them The company suffered when the Longfords withdrew their backing.Her books include A Biography of Dublin, published as part of the Biographies of Cities series, Country Places, published by Parkside Press Dublin and Making Conversation, republished by Persephone Books in 2009.


    158 Comments

    1. Christine Longford was billed by one reviewer as "a kind of Jane Austen with shingled hair", but in my opinion, if there was a Jane Austen of the 1930s, it was Nancy Mitford. This book is a bit like an early Mitford except that it focuses on a single character and has less plot. It's mostly dialogue, so the title fits. It follows Martha Freke, a girl growing up in a small town in England who passes from a local girls' school to Oxford without much happening to her. The ending comes out of nowher [...]


    2. A dry and witty look at English Martha growing up in the early 1900s and attending Oxford shortly after WWI. It's subtle humor and I'm sure some of it went over my Anglophilic-but-still-American head, but I did chuckle at quite a few passages, especially those involving Miss Spencer. It's a quick read with an abrupt ending. I didn't warm to any of the characters, but I doubt Longford would have expected me to. "Watch me, next time you have the opportunity. It is never too early for a woman to le [...]


    3. I usually enjoy Persephone Books very much and I'm all for their mission of bringing forgotten little literary treasures back to light. I'm not sure why this one was chosen, though. The protagonist was unsympathetic AND unfunny, which is worse. I typically read for pleasure, and finishing this little book just felt like work.


    4. The countless references to things I didn't know made me feel stupid and uneducated, and the abrupt ending made me wonder if the book was incomplete, which made me feel I had missed something, which made me feel dumb all over again. Maybe I was in the wrong place mentally to read this book, or just not british enough, but I really struggled with this novel, which didn't (in my opinion) age well, unlike other books written about the time intbetween the wars (which I typically adore). It was funny [...]


    5. Making Conversation is an immensly readable novel about a young girl Matha Freke, growing up, during and just after the first world war. To start with she lives with her mother and thier often slightly eccentric collection of paying guests. Later Martha goes to Oxford to study classics, where she meets a host of different people both male and female. Throughout the novel, Martha struggles with the art of conversation, she is often unsure of herself, and feels that hollow awkwardness that we have [...]


    6. Interesting period piece but not something to crow about - has a lovely introduction by Rachel Billington, Longford's niece, which suggests that this is one of those re-discovered treasures from the golden age of the early 20th century but don't you believe it - while certainly a disappointment, Longford's novel is pleasant enough especially if you can overlook the racism, anti-semitism, general bigotry and sexism - Billington found this deliciously funny but I never did find it as laugh-out-lou [...]


    7. I don't know what it is about Persephone blurbs but I always get a very different impression of the book than how they describe it and Making Conversation was no exception. It was a quick, pleasant read, a lot more fun than I expect from Persephone books (there are notable exceptions) but while I could see how it would be funny in 1931, I'm sorry to admit that it only amused me. Still, I would definitely recommend this as an enjoyable read.


    8. Meh. This is supposed to be a comic novel as great as Cold Comfort Farm, but I just didn't get it. Maybe I would have appreciated it more if I were British? I think there were a lot of cultural references I just didn't understand. I didn't feel any attachment to the heroine or her story at all. A disappointment.


    9. I'm sure I liked this more than others because the protagonist reads Classics. I liked those bits a lot (esp. "Pindar is not educational."). I discovered on WorldCat that Christine Longford also published a bit in Classics journals and wrote a book about Vespasian which could be an interesting bit of ephemera to look at.


    10. I adore this book. It's just so FUNNY. I really don't get why other people dislike it so much. (I think part of the reason I like it is because Martha reminds me of myself, but funnier, unintentionally or not.)


    11. I've read this book twice and both times I've struggled to get through it. Not one of my favorite Persephone's.


    12. Not my favourite Persephone. Some amusing moments, but was hoping for more from the novel than I got (although I did enjoy the descriptions of Oxford societies).


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