Friday, April 17, 2009

Literary challenge, part II

Mark Twain was too easy, clearly. Let's try something less widely read, in schools at least. Something a little racier, perhaps.

Once again, the text is downloaded raw from Project Gutenberg, pasted into a Word document (I'm using Word 2007, in case that makes a difference); the Gutenberg preamble and notes are stripped out; then I click the "Summarize" button and ask for 100 words. No further editing of any kind has taken place.

I think this one is pretty tough, although it's certainly a famous book, probably available in the classics section of any big bookshop. But let's see...


"Sweet-heart, do you want a place?

what pain could stand before a pleasure so transporting? The present possession was all my little head could find room for.

Then, who can express the fire his eyes glistened, his hands glowed with! whilst sighs of pleasure, and tender broken exclamations, were all the praises he could utter. the unnumbered kisses! You would ask me, perhaps, whether all this time I enjoyed any perception of pleasure? A little eternity in love!

I felt the prodigious keen edge, with which love, presiding over this act, points the pleasure: love!


Ruby Apolline said...

Oh, this one is harder. I have no idea. Too sweet for D.H. Lawrence, which was my first thought.

Vanity Fair?May I have a hint?

Ruby Apolline said...

OK, sorry to be a bore, but I had to do one myself. It's...not accurate exactly but does manage to convey the tone of the book, I think:

"What!" cried d'Artagnan.
"Athos! "d'Artagnan, monsieur."
"Well, monsieur?" asked d'Artagnan.
"What!" demanded d'Artagnan.
"Madame Bonacieux!" murmured d'Artagnan. "Monsieur."
Monsieur! "You are Monsieur d'Artagnan."
D'Artagnan returned.
"Ask d'Artagnan."
"This d'Artagnan."
Never!" said d'Artagnan.
D'Artagnan blushed.
D'Artagnan trembled.
Oh, d'Artagnan!"
"You laugh, d'Artagnan."
d'Artagnan, remember this! "Well?" asked d'Artagnan.
"Horror!" cried d'Artagnan. Athos drew d'Artagnan aside.
"Monsieur Porthos! "Well?" demanded d'Artagnan.
D'Artagnan blushed.
D'Artagnan colored.
D'Artagnan paused.
M. d'Artagnan,
"I!" cried d'Artagnan. "d'Artagnan."
Bravo, d'Artagnan! "MILADY DE ——
D'Artagnan! "Dear d'Artagnan! "d'Artagnan! "Oh, d'Artagnan, my beloved d'Artagnan! I recognized Monsieur d'Artagnan. "Silence, d'Artagnan!" said Athos. D'Artagnan advanced.
D'Artagnan obeyed.

vet said...

Hints, hints - hmmm...

It's an old book, older than Vanity Fair. The author (so Wikipedia tells me) wrote it while in the Fleet Prison (for debt), and when he got out of the Fleet he was promptly re-arrested for pornography, or whatever they called it in those days.

That D'Artagnan is a sensitive flower, isn't he? Trembling, blushing, coloring, finally 'obeying'. I remember thinking he was a bit wet, but Word really picks out his highlights.

Ruby Apolline said...

You, sir, are obviously not a woman. D'Artagnan trembles, blushes, and colors for that greatest of all human endeavors: love. Quel gallant! Remember, he was just a country boy, up from the Gascon, in fancy Paris.

Moll Flanders?

vet said...

Close, but no cigar. More clues:
- The author was a one-hit wonder.
- His obituary in the Monthly Review said that he had a government pension of 100 pounds a year to keep him from writing filth. This is regarded as 'probably not true'.
- Ooh, here's one for you - I didn't know this - in 1966, the book was the subject of a case before the US Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Don't recall the writer, but the story is "Fanny Hill"?


vet said...

S takes the prize! Well done.

I doubt if I'll find another one that difficult. I mean - no names? That's bordering on unreasonable...

Ruby Apolline said...

That S is a bright creature. I swear Fanny was my next guess except I couldn't remember the name and so would have said something like "that one with naughty pictures in it of a woman spanking a nobleman."