An improving book!

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brightspice
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An improving book!

Post by brightspice » Fri 6 Nov, 2015 20:06:19

This past week I picked up 'Uncharted Seas' (didn't fancy working my way through a full Gregory, Roger or Duc series), and despite this being the umpteenth time of reading this book I have learned some nautical terms: fo'c's'le, gunwale, painter, thwart.... I looked them all up to fully understand the geography of the action.

While realising this is probably because I am very much a landlubber, it was good to learn something new.

Who said DW only told a good story! I bet there are countless such examples of other terms that we've all learned through reading his books.

Great weekends to all

Anna

ken68
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Post by ken68 » Sat 7 Nov, 2015 12:18:15

indeed yes anna, its one of the great joys from a DW book, the effortless learning.
for me its like the stories an old uncle tells you and you remember, but if you heard them in a stuffy classroom you would forget before you left the room.

ken

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Sun 8 Nov, 2015 18:31:32

I always rather enjoyed DW's didactic side. And the 'info dumps' certainly saved a few trips to the library back in the pre-Internet era.

Darren
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Post by Darren » Sun 8 Nov, 2015 18:48:59

I have noticed that Unchartered Seas is the one book by DW that is quite well-known - and, indeed, actually been read - by readers/colleagues/friends whom are not Dennis Wheatley fans, and is not part of his Black Magic compendium.

I wonder if it is because of the "Lost Continent" film - it is also one of the few novels by DW that was serialised in the 1930s in The Daily Mail.

Are there any other non-Black Magic DW books that are well known outside the DW community?
Regards,

Darren.

duncanpaul17
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Post by duncanpaul17 » Mon 9 Nov, 2015 09:44:27

I think there will be quite a few well known DW books outside his "Black Magic" ones, but unfortunately possibly not read and known by younger readers. I think, as has been discussed elsewhere, that DW would have remained popular if more of his books had either been filmed or made into TV series.

I feel there will be readers with favourite characters irrespective of a Black Magic content. Although DW is probably better known for his Black Magic books, he wrote more books in other genres. I, probably like my others, was introduced to DW through his Black magic stories, but reading Irish Witch introduced me to Roger Brook. As I studied the French Revolution for History "O" level the background to these stories was interesting to me. (Need to re-read these again as I have forgotten what I learned.)

Reverting to the main topic for this thread, a lot can be learnt from reading DW books with his "information dumps" Although they may not be politically correct today they often reflected the period in which they were written.

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Mon 9 Nov, 2015 19:17:32

I don't think many people under the age of forty have even heard of DW, never mind his book titles.

The black magic titles are the best-known, and probably the only titles generally known by non-fanatics.

Dealers at book fairs often have the crime dossiers on offer, probably only for their novelty value.

If anyone does actually watch 'The Lost Continent' these days, I doubt if they are aware that it is based on 'Uncharted Seas'.

But maybe I'm just having a gloomy moment....[font=Times New Roman] [/font]

ericmocata
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Post by ericmocata » Mon 9 Nov, 2015 22:38:18

Ah, cheer up, Steve. I am under forty and I have heard of Dennis Wheatley. Hey, I've even read a couple of his books! :D Actually, I am not sure offhand how many I have read, but I know it is more than half of them. Most of the ones I haven't read are probably Roger Brook novels, plus a few of the Duc's stories I have not been able to get ahold of just yet, etc. I was, naturally, brought to Wheatley's work through the black magic/occult stuff and was actually hesitant to read stuff like The Forbidden Territory at first. But I gave that one a go and found it thoroughly enjoyable.

I don't find many of his works around here, but I have found a few. I did get one or two of the Crime Dossiers in local stores, plus a few of the black magic stories. I remember some years ago, scouring through the third party sellers on Amazon and Barnes & Noble to get many of his books. Neither site gave much information about the edition or the condition, so it was a bit of a gamble. Usually, it worked out okay. Sometimes, I'd be rather pleasantly surprised, such as a cheap copy of To the Devil a Daughter I found, which turned out to be a first edition. Speaking of which, I remember somebody once mentioning that the text of that novel is usually not the same as the first edition in the later ones. Does anybody have more information about that?

I do think that the public awareness of Wheatley today is likely to be almost the polar opposite of what it was during his lifetime. I doubt there were many people who didn't know of him in those days and now there aren't many who do. I imagine it is worse here in the U.S. than in England, though. I imagine I have mentioned it before, but it is a very similar situation with Sax Rohmer, but perhaps worse, as I almost never find anything of his in stores around town.

Maybe we need to develop a secret handshake or something. Or maybe a greeting, to identify Wheatley fans. "When is coffee served in your home?" "Not 'til after ten, old chap!" Sorry about the stereotypical British thing in there, but it seemed to fit nicely.

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Post by shanedwyer » Tue 10 Nov, 2015 18:02:10

The more likely stereotypical British thing would be a reference to tea, rather than to coffee Eric. (Mind you, UK consumption of the former seems to have declined precipitously over the past few years.)

ericmocata
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Post by ericmocata » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 07:16:19

I was actually referring to the "old chap" part, Shane. Or does that mean you guys still say that?

I did always think it was odd that it was always coffee that was served after ten. Was it common in the '30s for the English to drink coffee, especially fairly late at night?

Actually, I did work with an English bloke for a bit. I used to talk to him a lot and we would antagonize each other quite a bit when not discussing British humour and slang. He explained the origins of English idioms, such as the "dog's bollocks". He said it was to do with a toy building set (I suppose something along the lines of an Erector Set) and there were 2 varieties. One was called Box Deluxe and I guess it got worked around into "dog's bollocks" from there. Of course, he very likely could have been making it up. I think the other part of that story was "Bog Standard" which came from the Standard Box.

Anybody know the truth of this, old chaps?

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 12:48:57

One was called Box Deluxe and I guess it got worked around into "dog's bollocks" from there. Of course, he very likely could have been making it up. I think the other part of that story was "Bog Standard" which came from the Standard Box.
As dogs prize, nurture and cosset their bollocks, I'd say the provenance of the metaphor is much more straightforward than your inventive mate would have it.

I do use the term 'old chap', faintly ironically, but frequently and heartily enough.

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Post by Cibator » Fri 13 Nov, 2015 00:42:09

There seem to several ideas as to the origins of that phrase. One I've not seen mentioned is that a dog's testicles are often quite prominent (or "outstanding", in one of the less common senses of that word). Possible confirmation of this comes from an interview with cartoonist Bill Tidy I remember reading in the 1970s. Describing Edward Heath's reaction on taking umbrage to something, Tidy said: " ... his eyes stood out like dog's balls. F**king hilarious!".
Fas est et ab hoste doceri

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