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 Some Buried Caesar (1939) 
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New post Some Buried Caesar (1939)
You're invited to use this topic to discuss the quotations from Some Buried Caesar (1939) – a Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout.

You may also use this thread for general discussions about this literary work; you do not necessarily need to discuss specific quotations.

Or, if you'd like to talk about anything else related to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, or Rex Stout, feel free to create a new discussion topic.


Last edited by Faterson on Fri, 27 Jul 2007, 6:37, edited 1 time in total.

Thu, 5 Jul 2007, 22:53
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New post Lily Rowan
I was hoping to start a thread on this book myself, but I haven't been approved! Great minds, anyway! :wink:

I only really adore this book for Lily, and the occasional Wolfe/Archie moment (Wolfe reassuring Archie is heartwarming, even if his ultimate goal is to stop him rubbing his hand!) I agree with the post in the Too Many Cooks thread - Lily is human in this book. What becomes of her? Why do we hear nothing more about her 'man-eating' - I doubt she would be content to wait around for Archie to free up an evening? In NQDE, it is Lily's turn to do the chasing, but after that both she and Archie settle down into an 'old pair of slippers' routine, which is fine - their friendship is just the kind of low-maintenance relationship to survive Archie's devotion to Wolfe - but Lily loses her spark.

In Dude, a book which I would now only use to prop up wobbly furniture, Lily barely makes a cameo appearance - and it's her ranch! The only quote I recall from that book is Archie thinking that her expression says, 'How well I know you', which I adore. They are the perfect match, although sometimes Stout risks turning Lily into an honorary man to emphasise the point - I wish she was a little more approachable after Caesar - but I also think Lily's character is sacrificed as a plot device.

She is not a prototype for independent 'playgirls', she merely fits the template of popular, wealthy womanhood in the 1930s - Jordan Baker in 'The Great Gatsby' (1920s, I know), Ellen Thatcher in 'Manhattan Transfer', Gloria Wandrous in 'BUtterfield 8' (an unfortunate example!) She's sharp and shrewd, but she also shows some weakness - after that, or maybe after NQDE, she is merely an alternate source of 'highbrow' knowledge for Archie, and the 'friend' he visits when not with Wolfe.


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 10:08
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New post Re: Lily Rowan
Archie Goodwin wrote:
I was hoping to start a thread on this book myself, but I haven't been approved!

If you mean the AdonisGuilfoyle handle, it is approved, so you can go ahead and use it to start new threads if you like. :)

It just takes some time to approve newly registered members in the forum, as spambots keep registering here on a daily basis, and so it's impossible to let new members be approved automatically. I do it manually every other day or so. (Even so, the forum needs to be regularly cleaned from spam, including porn spam in pictures, submitted here anonymously on a daily basis. :evil:)

Anyway, thanks for the opening post on Some Buried Caesar :!: Since this board and site are meant to last, the advantage compared to a mailing list discussion is that anyone can arrive here in 2008 or 2024 and reply to some of the points you've just made in 2007. 8)


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 10:33
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New post Re: Lily Rowan
Faterson wrote:
AdonisGuilfoyle handle is approved, so you can go ahead and use it to start new threads if you like. :)


Pardon the impatience! I know things take time, I'm just being a giddy kipper! :oops:

I forgot about Lily in In The Best Families, where she shows amazing insight into Archie's relationship with Wolfe and her place in it, and in The Father Hunt, where she handles Archie and Amy with cool detachment (on the surface, at least - another book where she was cheated as a character). And I haven't read A Family Affair yet, but I understand she and Archie are very honest with each other in this story?


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 11:32
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New post Re: Lily Rowan
Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
And I haven't read A Family Affair yet, but I understand she and Archie are very honest with each other in this story?

Honestly, I completely forgot she even was in that story! :roll: So, I guess she's not that important in it after all. :wink: A Family Affair is an excellent novel, though, even ignoring the fact it was written by an 88-year-old man – an amazing feat by itself.

I do remember Lily in In the Best Families, her shenanigans with Wolfe and the perfume. Hilarious! :D However, in that A+ novel she was basically there to bring comic relief, unlike in Some Buried Caesar discussed in this thread, where she is fully developed as a character important for the story itself.

BTW Adonis, you may also create new threads in the Rex Stout forum to discuss individual characters rather than individual Wolfe stories. 8) So, if you like, you may create a new discussion topic only for Lily, another dedicated discussion topic for Fritz, or Cramer, or even Theodore. (Which reminds me of the sour milk I drank this morning.) :P

Also, new discussion topics may be created to discuss any particular aspect or issue of the Wolfe Corpus, or any aspect of Rex Stout's personal biography, etc. etc.


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 11:46
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New post Re: Lily Rowan
Faterson wrote:
BTW Adonis, you may also create new threads in the Rex Stout forum to discuss individual characters rather than individual Wolfe stories. 8) So, if you like, you may create a new discussion topic only for Lily, another dedicated discussion topic for Fritz, or Cramer, or even Theodore. (Which reminds me of the sour milk I drank this morning.) :P


Oh, the power! :wink: An individual thread for Lily - and of course Archie - might be fun, if I don't end up just discussing them with myself! :D I know that Goodwingrad - Danielle - is not a fan of Miss Rowan, but I've blathered on enough about her to at least present a counter-argument, I think!


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 13:12
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New post Re: Lily Rowan
Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
An individual thread for Lily - and of course Archie - might be fun

Not to mention another individual thread to discuss the relationship between Lily & Archie. :lol: Anything Stout goes in the Rex Stout forum.

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
if I don't end up just discussing them with myself!

There's always the danger. I myself don't even have enough time for working on the quotations site itself, let alone the associated forum. Though I'll try to chime in whenever I can (I often can't :().

The advantage of this board, though, as already mentioned, is that it's a web-based discussion tool, not a mailing list, so nothing said here is really ever lost, and the issue someone raises in their posts today can be taken up and profitably discussed years later by other Wolfe fans.

I only set up this forum because the quotations site would seem incomplete without giving the visitors the option to discuss whatever quotations are posted. The wiki software's discussion webpages seem too crude a tool for that, so I just set up this full-fledged forum to facilitate discussions.

That it has actually already sparked some discussion, although the site itself is still at the earliest of its beginnings (the homepage is still empty, for chrissake :roll:), has already exceeded my expectations and made me raise an eyebrow. (OK, both eyebrows, I'm no Archie Goodwin.) 8)

Plus, I've just enabled avatars for the forum. 8) So, there's now the site logo next to each of my posts in the forum. If you select your own avatar, Adonis (I fear it won't be Miss Rowan!) :wink:, this makes it a lot easier for forum visitors to follow a discussion – who's saying what, etc.


Last edited by Faterson on Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 13:57, edited 1 time in total.

Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 13:41
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New post Re: Lily Rowan
Faterson wrote:
That it has actually already sparked some discussion, although the site itself is still at the earliest of its beginnings (the homepage is still empty, for chrissake :roll:), has already exceeded my expectations and made me raise an eyebrow. (OK, both eyebrows, I'm no Archie Goodwin.) 8)

Plus, I've just enabled avatars for the forum. 8) So, there's now the site logo next to each of my posts in the forum. If you select your own avatar, Adonis (I fear it won't be Miss Rowan!) :wink:, this makes it a lot easier for forum visitors to follow a discussion – who's saying what, etc.


Hmm. I have avatars a-plenty, but they ain't 6KB! :!: How do I 'downsize' to use my own images? (They are 100 x 100, but apparently that's not small enough!)

And I've always wondered about that - I can raise one eyebrow. I do it a lot. Is it like a rolling-the-tongue trick, or is Wolfe's brow just too heavy to raise one side like that? Who else can quirk one eyebrow, in surprise, disgust, indignation?

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Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 15:59
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New post 16 More Quotations Just Added!
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
Hmm. I have avatars a-plenty, but they ain't 6KB!

OK. I've pushed the limit up to 20 KB per avatar. Please try to activate your avatar again; the new limit should be high enough.

I've also increased the physical size (= height & width) limit for avatars to 110 x 140 pixels, so that any fans of Wolfe or Archie or Cramer can put their full-figure photographs as their avatars if they so desire. :lol:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
How do I 'downsize' to use my own images?

It should no longer be necessary, but there's superb free software that lets you do such things. For example, in IrfanView, you simply open a picture and re-save it with a lower quality. The standard quality for digital pictures online is 80%, so a user might try something like 65% or 50% which would reduce the picture's size in kilobytes, even if the picture's physical size in pixels (height & width) remains the same.

By the way, Adonis, wouldn't you like to have a space in your username? Wouldn't Adonis Guilfoyle be preferable over AdonisGuilfoyle :?: If yes, just let me know and I'll fix that for you without the need for you to register again and lose, for your user statistics, the one post you've thus far made under your username. 8)

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
And I've always wondered about that - I can raise one eyebrow.

I think the thing is Archie is capable of raising a single eyebrow a lot higher than any of us can. There are frequent references in the Corpus to how Cramer and Stebbins and Rowcliff, too, not just Wolfe, hate to see Archie perform the trick. Because they're incapable of doing it, either.

Finally, Adonis, I've got a surprise for ya :!: I've just added 16 more delightful quotations to the collection of quotes from Some Buried Caesar. Those 16 quotes are all I currently have from the book. Perhaps other Wolfe fans will add other memorable excerpts from the book that seems to be among the best-regarded Wolfe stories generally.

There are several quotations among those I've just added that I consider crucial, seminal in terms of the Wolfe Corpus and understanding Wolfe's and Archie's psychologies.

A few assorted highlights:
  • quote from page 8 (bull & the pasture): one of the greatest comic gems in the entire Corpus
  • quote from page 47: an astute comment by Archie on the potential obsessiveness of relationships between men and women
  • I've added three more quotations from the classic chapter 6 where Archie has lunch with Lily Rowan in the Methodist tent; these are some of the legendary verbal exchanges and skirmishes in terms of the whole Corpus :!:
  • in particular, in quote from page 83, Lily gives a lucid explanation of why she prefers to avoid marriage forever
  • the quote from page 85 is a fantastic one from Archie, ostensibly funny, but in reality serious, and one might even say tragic – explaining why he will probably never marry either, or more to the point: why he's unlikely to ever establish any intimate relationship with any person (aside from the professionally intimate relationship with Wolfe). It's fascinating that although in many respects Wolfe and Archie are exact opposites of each other, in this one aspect: that they value work over romance, Wolfe and Archie are exactly alike. I suppose that's the secret of their long-lasting, successful professional cooperation.
  • a great quotation by Wolfe from page 180, summing up his relationship to women in only 8 brief words
  • another great qutoation by Wolfe from page 191, explaining the importance of regular meals for every human being, not just Nero Wolfe
  • quite a handful of other delightful quotes :D
By the way, Adonis and others who may be reading this, don't be shy to use footnotes on the quotation pages :!: It's very easy; I've already started the footnotes section for Some Buried Caesar, as you can see; there are 3 comments as of right now. Brief comments on the quotations can be placed directly on the webpage with the quotations, while more in-depth discussions and controversial exchanges :wink: about the quotations can take place right here in the discussion forum.

Adding a footnote on any quotation page is very easy: simply enclose the text of your footnote like this, directly within the body of a quotation, following the word where you want to place the footnote: <ref>This is the text of my footnote.</ref>.

Everything else is processed automatically by the software: your comment will automatically appear in the page's Comments section, and will be automatically hyperlinked, so that readers can click on the footnote mark to be transferred to the Comments section, as well as back again to the text of the quotation itself. :idea:


Last edited by Faterson on Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 23:19, edited 1 time in total.

Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 21:29
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New post 
Excellent quotes! I have the Archie and Lily references in my little file, of course, because I was sourcing everything they say to each other! :D And I think the 'fighting shy of bonds' line is about the most direct Archie has ever been! In another book, Where's There's A Will, funnily enough, Archie groups women into three camps when walking with them - clingers, divers or laggers - and he admires the rare few who match his pace perfectly. He and Lily are perhaps too similar in the beginning, and she is both a clinger and a diver in Caesar, but they find their stride - she's not a dishrag, like the women Archie patronises or mauls, and her predatory technique is almost as blatant as his. Plus, I love when she almost walks away when he sits down too close to her - it's as if it's her game, and she sets the rules. Excellent.

Avatars, on a tangent - still can't squidge a jpeg beyond 29 KB! If I sent a couple to you, could you condense them for me, please?

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Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 22:33
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New post 
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
Avatars, on a tangent - still can't squidge a jpeg beyond 29 KB! If I sent a couple to you, could you condense them for me, please?

Ah, what the hell – I've now increased the limit to 35 KB per avatar (and 130 x 150 pixels). After all, we live in the broadband day and age. 8)

Can't wait to see your avatar, Adonis, that so obstinately refuses to become downsized :!: It should picture Nero Wolfe, then, I suppose? :lol: Though I suspect I know what it will picture instead. Incidentally, in which book did Archie call himself Adonis Guilfoyle :?: I just can't remember. Edit: OK, ignore the question – I've just noticed the delightful quotations from If Death Ever Slept you started putting up a few moments ago, and that's where Guilfoyle is from. :D

For anyone else with the same avatar concerns, imageshack.us may be useful. The site offers the option to resize images for avatars: just select the avatar option in the resize image? menu box. That should help bring down any image to below 35 KB.

Away from technical discussion: I can feel with Archie when he complains about women walking too slowly. I have the same complaint. :P I love walking just as much as Archie does, although the area where I live doesn't resemble Manhattan in any way. :? I spend an entire hour every single day by walking briskly between my house (circled in blue), two shopping malls (red circles), and the school where I work (orange circle). The distance between any two of the four locations (except between the two shopping malls) is only 15 minutes of brisk walk, but hardly anyone who ever accompanies me can keep up with my usual pace, man or woman, which tends to mess up my Wolfean daily schedule. :)

People seem to be getting steadily lazier nowadays. The thing beginning at the right edge of the photograph is the Bratislava airport, and when I was returning from Italy recently and said to another, athletic-looking guy who was there with me, "Well, so long, I'll just walk home", he looked at me in horror and said, "Are you crazy? We're completely out of town!" :o That's nonsense, of course, because if you walk briskly, you really can get to the airport from my house (and vice versa) in about half an hour or so. I hate cars, let alone taxis, every bit as Wolfe did.

That's enough off-topic for now. :twisted:


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 23:12
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New post Archie and Lilly
Taking advantage of your generous "no muss - no fuss" posting rules (Thank You), I would like to make a comment:
Both Archie and Lilly seem to be a bit commitment phobic.
This allows them to feel "safe" with each other and share common ground. I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed together and eventually (God forbid!) even married. :D
However, I cannot see either one of them as a candidate for parenthood. 8)


Mon, 9 Jul 2007, 18:02
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New post Re: Archie and Lilly
starfish wrote:
Both Archie and Lilly seem to be a bit commitment phobic.
This allows them to feel "safe" with each other and share common ground. I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed together and eventually (God forbid!) even married. :D
However, I cannot see either one of them as a candidate for parenthood. 8)


I'm torn on this point - their early relationship is all about pushing each other's limits and pursuing the other without appearing to have formed a 'commitment', but once they do find safe ground it's like they're trapped between two levels: friendship and marriage. The spark dies, as apparent in the few books where Lily features with any kind of impact after NQDE, and Lily is a 'friend' - instead of moving forward to the obvious conclusion, they have to take a step back.

I think, if the whole premise of the books were not built on the partnership of Wolfe and Archie, that Stout would have married Archie and Lily off - what else could he have done? And there are comments like 'I know you would never marry and if you did it would be Lily' from Sue in 'Murder is Corny', which Archie doesn't object to - I took that as Stout's confirmation that Lily is the one, but that Archie of necessity must stay with Wolfe.

So - I think that they are made for each other, but I don't know that I would like the finality of marriage in the corpus; I prefer the idea of an 'ever after', following on from A Family Affair, where Lily and Archie sort of cement their enduring alliance, but nothing changes! I don't believe that they have an 'open' relationship, as feminist types insist upon for Lily, but I think that both would demand their own space - living with someone rather dulls the shine of any relationship, friendly or otherwise!

And Lily has an ambiguous perpsective on marriage in Caesar - ‘I don’t suppose I’ll marry. Because marriage is really nothing but an economic arrangement, and I’m lucky because I don’t have to let the economic part enter into it. The man would be lucky too – I mean if a man attracted me and I attracted him.’ Is she saying here that she would marry the right man, and he would be lucky, or that any man would be lucky because she wouldn't insist on marriage? She adds later that she would marry Archie for a string of cellophane pearls, and seems almost keen to suggest it to him - would he be lucky because she would marry him because she is attracted to him, and not for financial security, and then he could share her 'economic arrangement' (which is one reason why Archie probably wouldn't marry Lily)?

I think she's open to a commitment with him, but she also understands that his first loyalty is to Wolfe - she seems to get this in both Dude and Best Families, although she does take advantage of his absence in the latter, too. It's Archie who claims he 'fights shy of bonds', bar his working partnership with Wolfe - yet he, too, muses on marriage and the ideal partner, and talks of 'retiring to the country' in Die Like a Dog!

I say Wolfe is the main obstacle between these two, but I wouldn't want it any other way! :wink:

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Mon, 9 Jul 2007, 20:36
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New post Archie and Lilly
Your last sentence says it all.
It is the existing tension, the 'not quite-but almost-maybe' that adds the zing to their relationship.
Marriage would be deadly to the stories.
Archie could no longer be his free-wheeling, savvy, picky and opinionated (when it comes to wimmin) self. All those 'very good dancers' at the Flamingo would be devastated!
Lilly would cease to be the smart, sophisticated, glamorous, independent city girl.
Wolfe would be alone in the Brownstone, making do with an 8 to5 'clerk' since the happy couple surely would live elsewhere and Fritz would sink into a deep depression, no longer able to mother Archie.
It is too disgusticulous to even think it! :(


Tue, 10 Jul 2007, 3:04
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New post Re: Archie and Lilly
starfish wrote:
Archie could no longer be his free-wheeling, savvy, picky and opinionated (when it comes to wimmin) self. All those 'very good dancers' at the Flamingo would be devastated!
Lilly would cease to be the smart, sophisticated, glamorous, independent city girl.


I think both are too strong-willed to change, especially Lily - why would she forfeit her 'smart, sophisticated, glamorous', independent life? :wink: This is the only part that bothers me about the idea of their marriage - what would happen afterwards?

And I wonder about Archie - do you think he 'dances' with every woman he charms, either through Wolfe's office or at the Flamingo, or is he faithful to Lily, in his own way? When he tells Wolfe of his upcoming nuptials with Margot Dickey, in Christmas Party, Wolfe asks, 'What of Miss Rowan?' and Archie replies tersely, 'We'll leave Miss Rowan out of this'. The only woman I've ever thought he might have been halfway serious about, aside from Lily, is Lucy in 'The Mother Hunt' (did he stay the night, or did he just dance on the sidewalk and then go home?) Danielle put forward, and I would have to agree, that if he is not a gentleman, he is at least a prude - and a romantic. I think he just wines, dines and dances with a lot of women, but is not an old roue.

starfish wrote:
Wolfe would be alone in the Brownstone, making do with an 8 to5 'clerk' since the happy couple surely would live elsewhere and Fritz would sink into a deep depression, no longer able to mother Archie.


Wolfe would hire Orrie :wink: (And here's a tangent - I'm currently reading 'Bullet For One', and Archie, in a state of heightened paranoia in this story, makes a reference that Orrie will soon be bald! :shock: I always imagine the actor from the series when I think of Orrie, so this random comment made me think, 'Wha'?') Anyway - does Fritz mother Archie, is what I was going to ask? I've always thought Fritz bothers more about Wolfe, and objects to Archie needling his boss and disturbing him at mealtimes.

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Tue, 10 Jul 2007, 12:12
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