ULTIMATE LITERARY OTPS: Lily Bart and Lawrence Selden, The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton)
THEIR STORY: Society girl loves penniless but super-dreamy lawyer who adores her and tries to free her from her gilded cage. Tragedy ensues, Old New York-style.
WHY THEY’RE ON THIS LIST: Selden is the dreamiest man in the entire western canon. I would hit it like the fist of God (and so would Lily, if only he didn’t have the credit score of a homeless ghost). And the tragedy of it all! No one does thwarted, agonized love like Wharton. This book is the most frustrating thing you will ever read, because it’s so comically obvious that Lily and Selden are crazily in love with each other, but they just can’t say it out loud. Frustrating!
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: ”Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well—you did love me for a moment; and it helped me. It has always helped me.”
DREAM CAST: I’m a little embarrassed at ‘casting’ a couple from fucking Gossip Girl in a classic like House of Mirth, but it has to be said: Dan Humphrey and Blair Waldorf for Lily and Selden, please.
THEME SONG: Just Like a Woman by Bob Dylan
vivianleighs said: FIRST OF ALL HOW DARE YOU
If I were you, I’d save that rage until the inevitable Lily/Lawrence post.
I'm not sure if anybody's asked you this before, but if no one hasn't, could I ask you if you subscribe to the theory that Marie Antoinette had an affair with Axel von Fersen? Also, could you also give me a list of good books (fiction and non-fiction) you've read about Marie (and Louis, by extension, since they're an OTP of mine too)? Thanks! :)
Oh my gosh, this has been sitting in my ask box for weeks. I’m so sorry for the delay! But better late than never, right?
As far as Marie and Fersen are concerned: They definitely loved each other, but I have my doubts as to whether or not it was ever physical. A lot of the support for that argument rests on Fersen’s “reste-la” diary entry, but I don’t think that necessarily means they had sex. The reason I lean towards thinking they never slept together is because Marie Antoinette was actually kind of a prude. The image that popular culture has of her makes it seem like she was an extravagant, frivolous person who had affairs and gorged herself on macarons, but none of that is really true. This is a woman who wouldn’t even get naked at bath time, for god’s sake.
And what’s more, she took her marriage vows extremely seriously. Maybe I’m alone on this, but I think an affair just seems really atypical when you consider her prudishness and how deeply committed she was to Louis. Her relationship with Louis might have started out as a typical royal marriage, but it eventually became the Real Thing, and that’s what really bothers me about the tendency to romanticize the Marie/Fersen affair: I think she loved him. Maybe she even slept with him. But at the end of the day, Marie thought of herself as Louis’s wife above anything else. That’s what she considered her main role in life to be, and she chose to stay with him, knowing that by doing so she was fast-tracking her own death. That’s a real love story! Let’s talk about that instead of Fersen and his magical cheekbones!
My favorite books about Marie are Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution (REALLY excellent insight into the challenges she faced at Versailles and what drove her to some of her more outlandish behavior), Marie Antoinette: The Journey, Marie Antoinette: Portrait of an Average Woman, and this coffee table book. It’s all in French, but I know juuuust enough to get by! It’s a really beautiful tribute to her life.
ULTIMATE LITERARY OTPS: Giles Winterborne and Grace Melbury, The Woodlanders (Thomas Hardy)
THEIR STORY: Childhood sweethearts torn apart by social ambition who (in typical Hardy fashion) lose their second chance at happiness because society is really awful and sexually repressed and stuff.
WHY THEY’RE ON THIS LIST: Mostly, it’s just because Giles is super adorable and hopelessly devoted to Grace. And this might be a Victorian novel, but let me tell you: Grace’s thirst is real. She daydreams about Giles’s “undiluted manliness” (even though she’s married to someone else), and when Giles is reluctant to kiss her, she sounds like she’s been binging on Mae West pre-codes: “Why don’t you do what you want to?” They proceed to make out and all is well with the world for about two minutes.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: “Indeed, he cared for nothing past or future, simply accepting the present and what it brought, desiring once in his life to clasp in his arms her he had watched over and loved so long.”
DREAM CAST: Hugh Dancy as Giles and Jessica Brown Findlay as Grace
THEME SONG: When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge