In ‘The Pursuit of Love,’ Looking for Liberation, Too
Mortimer first read “The Pursuit of Love” when she was a teenager. Her father, writer John Mortimer, also gave her “Hons and Rebels,” Jessica’s 1960 memoir of the Mitfords childhood.
“Dad was obsessed with this book,” Mortimer said. “I remember a story he would always quote. Whenever the Forsaken Mitford sisters were asked by their desperate mother to sit down with pens and paper and write down how they would save £ 200 a year for a household, Nancy flawlessly wrote “£ 199: Flowers.” “
Mortimer welcomes this story, she said, because it is a perfect rejection of “old-fashioned patriarchal preconceptions of how women should be – organized, sane, kind, selfless.” She added, “It’s punk rock behavior in my opinion.” In the miniseries, Linda’s mother humorlessly uses Nancy’s joke to convey Linda’s indiscipline to Lord Merlin.
Mortimer comments on this rebellious streak through the series’ soundtrack, which includes tracks from Sleater-Kinney, New Order and Cat Power, as “the songs of the 1930s weren’t sexy or dangerous enough,” he said. she declared.
Overall, however, Mortimer sees the themes of liberation and self-discovery for women at the center of “The Pursuit of Love” away from the new quests.
Fanny reads several Virginia Woolf books in the series, and via email Mortimer quoted a 1931 speech by Woolf that has become a book on the sex lives of women. In the speech, Woolf described how she had to shake off the influence of the pure and self-sacrificing ghost of the ideal Victorian bride described in the popular 19th century poem “The Angel in the House”. Killing this paragon, Woolf wrote, gave it back its spirit and “was part of a female writer’s occupation.”
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