A few weeks ago I stumbled across a curious Britcom called Mapp and Lucia (pronounced in the Italian tradition - LuCHEEa). At first I didn't know what to make of the two battling divas, but by the third episode, I had decided to embrace them and dedicate myself to a summer filled with their competitive and devious antics. Well, wouldn't you know, Mapp and Lucia was not a series, rather was a simple, three part adaptation of Benson's books - and from the reviews I read, the adaptation was not well received. It was the second attempt to bring these two women to life; neither worked.
Still, I was intrigued and decided to follow up by reading one of the books upon which the TV show was based. Not far enough to say much, other than the style is as ostentatious as the characters, and from what I can tell, Mapp and Lucia each have been given the dignity of separate novels and don't appear to intersect as the show did.
This is what I know so far...comedy of manners in the tradition of Sheridan and Goldsmith plays set in English village society of the 1920's and 1930's. Lucia dominates the art scene in Riseholm, setting villagers straight on what they should and should not embrace when it comes to music, painting, flower arranging and interpersonal relationships. She indeed regards herself as the center of all that is important in the village, acting as her own spin doctor and staging opportunities for the masses to speculate about her and her motivations.
The author's father was Archbishop of Canterbury. E.F. Benson amused himself with associations the likes of Henry James and Oscar Wilde. He published over 100 books but is best known for the collection of characters occupying the pages of his many Mapp and Lucia novels. More next week.
Sigh. Fine Print on a Monday has one less reader today. Pat Chermak took her final bow early Sunday morning. Pat was quick to contact me if FPoaM didn't appear by the time she was up and ready to read it. I explained that if I wasn't deep enough into a book sending out a basically empty, vapid post seemed silly. "Just one paragraph. That's all we need." Didn't want to disappoint so I tried to follow the one paragraph rule when I could. Pat was an insatiable reader and frankly, I was often embarrassed to say "No" way too often when hit with her barrage of "Have you read....?'. I'll miss you Patsy Ann....