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Old 10-02-2016   #31
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Justin Isis
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
The missing chapter makes it a bit too tame. Actually, way tame.
Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
The insane pleasure/pain metaphysical orgy I had in mind was more interesting
Think people here are misinterpreting not only the final chapter but the book as a whole (probably by conflating it with the film). The book is not "The White People", or even especially about paganism or any kind of sex (a sub theme at best),†it's more about notions of linear vs nonlinear time (or we could say, Victorian clock-based time vs an Aboriginal idea of Dreamtime) - again, clear if you read the final chapter immediately after reading the entire novel, the introductory materials and Yvonne Rousseau's excellent essay.†

Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
The teacher turning monstrous is at least nice.
Miss McCraw's transformation is comical (she's described in "raddled, clownish" terms), not monstrous, since as the math teacher she represented the Victorian concept of order and purpose/linearity. Although she seems to be evolving past it, given that she can apparently see the other characters' hearts and brains in an almost literal sense (!)

This is an incredibly complex ending to a complex book, although from the reactions here it seems like Joan Lindsay's fears that people wouldn't get it were justified.†Still, how many books have a secret chapter or even anything like this that you have the option of ignoring if you choose? Real ergodic literature.
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Old 10-02-2016   #32
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
The book is not "The White People
The White People isn't even The White People.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 10-02-2016   #33
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

It's hard to follow up Abe's cogent response but here goes--

I've never liked 'occult' novels that drew on Dunne's serial time or even on Ouspensky. That's my point, Justin. The last chapter reveals the writer's intention and the ambiguity is gone...
Suddenly, a low-keyed macabre novel becomes science fiction. What a sea change!
I don't think that would bother you, Justin, because you don't think in genres.
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Old 10-02-2016   #34
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Eh, I maintain Picnic at Hanging Rock the novel is much more concerned with the characters' various psychologies and reactions to the disappearances than non-linear vs linear time, but even then that element is set up without the missing chapter. I don't think this is a case of a book building up to a 'reveal' and that being removed, especially as Joan Lindsey went back and edited the book when the publisher insisted she remove the final brief chapter to add in the information she felt was necessary earlier in the book. The book as published is complete, and as a result the final chapter doesn't really flow that well after reading the novel.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 10-02-2016   #35
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Please allow me to explain my eliptical remark by quoting myself ( from a comment thread over at tor.com ( yes i read their Lovecraft rereads- guilty as charged):

"There is one angle of interpretation i hardly ever see mentioned. Is it possible that Cotgrave is misrepresenting the truth, that the girlís feverishly ornate impressions are merely a fabulation to give covert expression to a far more human evil, in which Cotgrave himself is far more complicit & culpable than heís willing to admit?

After all, thereís clear indication in the text that the man is something of a hypocrite; when he pours his guests a drink, he abuses ďthe teetotal sect with ferocity,Ē then proceeds to pour himself a glass of water.

Iíve always read the story as a dream of female (or children's ) empowerment which in the end gets cruelly crushed by men imposing their world view. And thatís why itís a horror story, not because paganism equals evil, or something like that."

I meant to say that the paganism vs. catholicism angle has been overstated at the expense of other ambiguities.

Now, back to Hanging Rock, which i really want to read (and watch) but the case has been made so eloquently for either of the two versions of both, that i now must ask: is it still worthwhile reading after having been confronted by the many spoilers here? I.e. is the prose any good?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 10-02-2016   #36
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I'd say it's still worth reading, it's written well with subtlety. August Derleth once wrote to me as a kid that anything worth reading once was worth reading twice. Just pretend that you already read it and are now looking for a pleasurable reread lol.
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Old 10-02-2016   #37
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

The film and book are both magnificent. You may as well read the removed chapter when you're done out of curiosity, but my point is that I don't think it's essential to understanding or appreciating the story.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 01-02-2017   #38
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I just watched it today after noticing there's a thread for it. The movie itself is so light and airy that one feels everything is only a mid noon-dream. Girls are missing, yes, but I feel as if they turn into bubbles or sunlight instead of the terrible things people imagine. Especially the beautiful Miranda who is compared to Botticelli's Venus, her ethereal beauty seems to mark her for (dare I say) a God. Here I am thinking of Machen's Pan and also Apollo's kidnapping of Daphne. Or maybe Hanging Rock is another Enigma of Amigara Fall?

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 02-15-2017   #39
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I've just finished reading No Picnic at Hanging Rock by Helen Goltz which claims to be a 50th Anniversary study of the novel (with some mentions of the film).


It contains some interesting information, but is rather shoddily written. There are several embarrassing mistakes ("plaintiff" for "plaintive", "collaborate" for "corroborate", "forward" for "foreword" etc.) and she can't get on board with Chapter 18 at all ( "If we consider Joan Lindsay's The Secret of Hanging Rock, Chapter 18, then we may accept that the young ladies met their death by a landslide." Huh???) I'm moving closer to the timeslip theory for the novel. Irma hears a sound like the "beating of far-off drums" which might refer to sounds made by the search party later on, and Lindsay apparently said that The Ghosts of Versailles, a book about the famous alleged timeslip experienced by two women in 1901, was an influence on her novel. The film feels a bit different to me, and I'm still sticking to my "absorption by nature" theory (post #27) for that.
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