➲ The Buccaneers Read ➺ Author Edith Wharton – Saudionline.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Buccaneers

  1. says:

    First, the Romans had come Then the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons Then the Danes terrorized England for three centuries Norman pirates took the country over in 1066 Five centuries later Turks raided the Thames and took prisoners to sell in the Libyan slave market But never had there been any phenomenon to match this this invasion of England by American women and their chiefs of commissariat, the silent American men This is by no means a high seas adventure story and you won t find any swashbuckling pirates within these pages What you will find is a delightful and wholly absorbing story about a group of new rich young ladies and their struggle to attain social status and suitable husbands in the complex society of 1870 s New York Annabel St George, her sister Virginia, Lizzy and Mabel Elmsworth, and Conchita Closson will find that they just don t quite fit into the highest of social circles Rather than vacationing at the fashionable Newport, they find themselves strolling the verandahs of the apparently less exclusive Saratoga much to the dismay of their overly ambitious and scheming mothers Thank goodness for the likes of Miss Laura Testvalley who has been hired as governess to Annabel, or Nan Miss Testvalley is a godsend indeed than just a teacher of letters, manners and music, she will help Nan navigate the tricky and unmerciful currents of her society Nan is not your ordinary social ladder climbing young woman She is romantic and clever and has hopes and dreams beyond that of a marriage made simply with the goal of achieving rank and wealth I do believe Miss Testvalley sees her own reflection in the young eyes of Nan Miss Testvalley s background and link to an impoverished family may not match that of Nan s upbringing, but in those things that matter most in life those of the mind and of the heart Miss Testvalley is a true champion I simply adored her steadfast affection and support of Nan and her well being Now, when one doesn t quite succeed amongst the fierce competition of young ladies in New York society, there is one solution England At a time when many of the British aristocracy still upheld their titles and legacy but lacked the funds to sufficiently maintain their lands and other holdings, new money from overseas was perhaps just the ticket to preserving such heritage And now behold the buccaneers our young ladies from New York Can they and their superficial mothers achieve what they intensely desire in this country There now exists a whole new set of rules and customs to which they must conform Nan finds herself in love with the land and the sense of history which it invokes Maybe finally this is a place in which she can find true happiness It was not the atmosphere of London but of England which had gradually filled her veins and penetrated to her heart She thought of the thinness of the mental and moral air in her own home the noisy quarrels about nothing, the paltry preoccupations, her mother s feverish interest in the fashions and follies of a society which had always ignored her At least life in England had a background, layers and layers of rich deep background, of history, poetry, old traditional observances, beautiful houses, beautiful landscapes, beautiful ancient buildings, palaces, churches, cathedrals Would it not be possible, in some mysterious way, to create for oneself a life out of all this richness, a life which would somehow make up for the poverty of one s personal lot But what is a girl to do when presented with the attentions of Guy Thwarte landholder and heir to Honourslove, a place towards which Nan feels herself somehow immediately attached, or the Duke of Tintagel owner of the romantic and historical castle of Tintagel, a place steeped in the legends of King Arthur How this plays out, you will have to find out for yourself You will most likely root for Nan with as much devotion as did I and Miss Testvalley You will nod in agreement with Edith Wharton s subtle and witty scorn towards the customs and demands of both the New York upper crust as well as the British aristocracy You will fall in love with the elegant prose which Wharton displays so flawlessly One important note regarding this novel which did not in the least affect my desire to read it Edith Wharton passed away prior to finishing writing this My version included an ending completed by Marion Mainwaring, a Wharton scholar I was not able to distinguish a difference in writing style between the words of Wharton versus Mainwaring, but then I am not by any means a Wharton scholar, but simply an amateur reader who thoroughly appreciated the effort put forth by Mainwaring However, I can t help but wish that Wharton had survived to see this novel through to completion One will never know exactly how she intended for this to end, but I was nevertheless quite satisfied.


  2. says:

    The Buccaneers is Edith Wharton s last and uncompleted novel She had written approximately 89,000 words before her death and the novel was printed in its incomplete form by her publisher In 1993 Marion Mainwaring, a noted Wharton scholar, completed the story, in line with notes that Wharton had left behind She did a good job, since there is no obvious break in the voice between the beginning of the book and the end, but it seems clear to me that no one, even a great scholar, could ever know exactly how Wharton would have ended her work If someone was going to guess, I think Mainwaring was a good choice, but I can t help wishing Wharton could have done it herself and that it were as pure a Wharton as The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth Despite this, The Buccaneers is a masterful work of fiction, set in Wharton s high society world, and full of the angst and manipulation that makes me happy for just a moment not to have been among the fabulously wealthy, well married women of the time Love and marriage do not go together like a horse and carriage in Wharton s world Marriage is mostly an institution of convenience and profit, you get a name and I get money, and woe to the romantically inclined girl who stumbles into this world of harsh reality unawares.It is the reality behind the mask in a Wharton that makes it so worthwhile to read her She strips the conventions to the bone and calls them by name She exposes what people are willing to do and become in an effort to climb a social ladder, where someone else is always contriving to knock them off or at least kick them down a rung And, she is superbly adept at lending light to the less affluent who have to circle in this world and navigate its waters One of her finest characters in The Buccaneers is Miss Laura Testvalley, a governess who knows her place and sees the world without any rose colored glasses, but whose caring heart cannot resist loving and aiding her charge, Annabel St George Nan There is always the beauty of Wharton s descriptive writing that would, alone, make me wish to read this book It was dark when Folyat House loomed high and stately in Portman Square, light shining from its long rows of windows and torches flaming at the grand portal Footmen jumped down from the barouche which had met the travelers at Paddington, opened the escutcheoned doors, and helped them out Other footmen led them up steps and into an oval colonnaded lobby The Glenloe girls eyes widened as the groom of the chambers, attended by yet other footmen, conducted them into a great rectangular hall through an arch at the opposite end When I read that,I feel I am one of the Glenloe girls and can see the glamour of the hall and the bustle of the footmen providing their services to the titled and privileged in a stoic and efficient manner.I loved seeing the five girls who are the buccaneers transform from innocent pawns in the game to active players In the beginning, they are primarily spurred on by ambitious mothers, while they are, themselves, just happy to have a good time and attract the attention of the men By the end, they are among the ones pulling the strings and conniving for power, and the wheat is separated from the chaff, as they say They change, even toward one another Virginia, who had seemed to Annabel so secure, so aloof, so disdainful of everything but her own pleasures, but who, as Lady Seadown, was enslaved to that dull half sleeping Seadown, absorbed in questions of rank and precedence, and in awe actually in awe of her father in law s stupid arrogance Finally, they are seen, even by their husbands as pirates, conquerors, rulers who come to rule by stealth What a gang of buccaneers you are he breathed to his wife Buccaneers, Lizzy reminded him gently, were not notorious for paying fortunes for what they took Several of these girls do pay heavily for what they take, and they pay than money Those who fail to toe society s line pay a price and lose a lot, but those who adhere to it pay almost as much, if not Wharton does not traffic in happily ever after in her novels people die, they are ruined, they are impoverished I personally see the hand of Mainwaring in this novel most heavily in the lightness of the penalties exacted I believe Wharton would have visited a harsher punishment on her characters in the end She was unflinching when portraying the viciousness of society She had seen it in her lifetime She knew the costs You need only think of Lily Bart to know that she did I can t help wondering, had fate allowed Wharton to finish this novel, if my dear Nan and Laura Testvalley would have been spared.


  3. says:

    I ve fallen in love, readers It took me about 12 hours from start to finish to read the last of Wharton s novels, left unfinished for decades and then completed in Wharton s style by scholar Marion Mainwaring As I mentioned earlier, I ve watched the PBS series three times now and there s something about it that gets to me Perhaps because it s sexier and funnier and looser than what one would expect from the era, and because SPOILER ALERT its ending which actually arises from Wharton s notes, is decidedly un Whartonian I m terribly moved by the idea that at the end of her life, Edith Wharton would decide to write a novel about a heroine who behaves in the exact opposite way of nearly all her other major characters, who to put it quite frankly doesn t give a shit about social convention and flouts it utterly I like to think of it as the author s reconciliation to romance, her final, deathbed middle finger to the rules and hierarchies with which she had such a deeply tortured relationships.Reading The Buccaneers is a dream for those who like comedies of manners for their own sake Wharton will never be Austen she takes ten lines to explain the social relationships that Austen dispatches with a sentence this, I think, is evidence of Wharton s psychic struggle with society But the first two thirds of the book, written by Wharton without revision, each page dropped off the side of her bed as she finished it, are blithe, satirical, sexy and both funny and sad.The many scenes where the characters forge connections over poetry and art as well Nan St George s stifling marriage and post marital sexual awakening make me feel as though this is Wharton s Persuasion And like that novel and other novels with heavy autobiographical elements Copperfield, The Song of the Lark, etc it has an emotional immediacy that feels startling and gives it a value different from a controlled, classically perfect novel.Wharton s contrast of Laura Testevalley, who gives up on romance and sacrifices her chance of happiness so that Nan can run away with Guy Thwarte, and Nan, who finds happiness with Guy after having giving up on it in her role as duchess, fascinates one feels that Wharton is both Laura, in middle age loosening her scruple, and Nan herself.Mainwaring s best contributions are a number of concluding love scenes that are satisfying if not as satisfying as the wheat field fornication in the film and a deft weaving in of the horribly sexist divorce laws of the time that existed to punish women, humiliate them, and treat them as property Marital rape is legal, and Nan s refusal to produce heirs for her huband after becoming emotionally estranged from him is a pivotal plot point.This was definitely the best read I ve embarked on in a while I couldn t recommend it enough for Wharton fans who have long desired a less thwarted ending for her characters I d add that picturing Greg Wise in the romantic leading role definitely added a lot to the reading experience.http unpretentiouslitcrit.blogspot.


  4. says:

    I found a copy of this book in a used bookstore, and hesitated before finally caving and buying it I loved The Age of Innocence, but as I learned from reading the book jacket while in the store The Buccaneers is unfinished Wharton wrote about 89,000 words of the story before dying in 1937, and Wharton scholar Marion Mainwaring picked up where the book left off and finished the novel There s a note at the end about how Mainwaring made some changes to Wharton s draft to account for later changes in the story and she also removed some hella racist language , but for the most part, the first two thirds of the book are primarily Wharton s I don t like the idea of reading unfinished stories, and I can t decide what irks me an unfinished novel like Suite Francaise, which didn t have an ending because Irene Nemirovsky died before she could finish it or The Buccaneers, where another author is brought in to complete the draft Either way, it makes for a frustrating experience That being said, Mainwaring does a pretty good job of continuing Wharton s novel, to the point where I couldn t tell where Wharton s writing ended and Mainwaring s began Maybe if I was a experienced Wharton reader I would have noticed discrepancies, but as far as I was concerned, it was a solid story The story opens in 1876 New York, where new money sisters Virginia and Annebel St George are preparing to find husbands They find that they can t compete with the old money families of New York, and, after one of their friends marries an English lord who was visiting America, decide to follow her to England Guided by their British governess, Laura Testvalley, the girls make their mark on the London social scene Two American sisters join the St George girls, and their group becomes known as the buccaneers, fortune hunting Americans invading London to snatch up all the eligible lords and dukes Each of the four American girls ends up marrying into the aristocracy, with varied success The story wasn t as tightly constructed or engrossing as The Age of Innocence, but I still loved reading Wharton s perspective on the shallowness and complexity of high society in the 1800 s She also makes it clear, without needing to slam it in your face, how much it sucked to be a woman in this world The two most engrossing characters were Miss Testvalley, a confirmed spinster who s given up all hope of finding a husband and throws herself into the job of finding good marriages for her charges and Annabel St George, who ends up making the best marriage and is completely miserable Her efforts to make the best of her circumstances, knowing that she s completely trapped in this life that she chose, were heartbreaking and beautiful To begin with, what had caused Annabel St George to turn into Annabel Tintagel That was the central problem Yet how could she solve it, when she could no longer question that elusive Annabel St George, who was still so near to her, yet as remote and unapproachable as a plaintive ghost Yes a ghost That was it Annabel St George was dead, and would therefore never be able to find out why and how that mysterious change had come about The greatest mistake, she mused, her chin resting on her clasped hands, her eyes fixed unseeingly on the dim reaches of the park, the greatest mistake is to think that we ever know why we do things I suppose the nearest we can ever come to it is by getting what old people call experience But by the time we ve got that were no longer the person who did the things we no longer understand The trouble is, I suppose, that we change every moment and the things we did stay.


  5. says:

    The St George and Elmsworth families are new money and looking for brighter prospects for their daughters in the marriage market so they hie off to England looking for Dukes and Earl with aging homes in need repairs that only cold hard cash can bring them The young ladies make their splash, make their marriages and then no surprise, have to lie in those beds that they ve made for themselves Some are successful, others not so despite a very promising beginning But it s rather lonely sometimes, when the only things that seem real are one s dreams I really did enjoy this a lot, and Wharton excels as always at her descriptions of society s quirks and restrictions This was Wharton s last novel, which was finished off by Marion Mainwaring based on plot outlines left by Wharton I definitely noticed a difference towards the end where MM stepped in to finish, and like other reviews some of the first 2 3 don t have quite the polished feel of Wharton s earlier work Still, fans of Wharton and this topic American heiresses in London should definitely give this one a go Just don t expect The Age of Innocence or The House of Mirth.


  6. says:

    The Buccaneers proved to be an interesting bookend for the career of Edith Wharton.Wharton had completed about two thirds of The Buccaneers when she died in 1937 For decades, it appeared in unfinished form But in the early 90s, Wharton expert Marion Mainwaring completed the book, based on Wharton s own high level synopsis The Buccaneers proved to be an apt companion piece to Wharton s most famous novel, The Age of Innocence Set in the same time period, it focused on a group of new money girls who found themselves denied entry to the upper reaches of New York society Instead, they crossed the Atlantic, where London found their brash charms a breath of fresh air Marriage to a variety of nobles ensued.Wharton s idea was fairly genius Dramatizing how a group kept out of old society in one country prospered by being the new blood that an even older social set in another cried out for provided an interesting extrapolation of themes the writer had explored in numerous of her works The Buccaneers still was a drama of manners The Americans faced differing levels of success in navigating the labyrinth of customs and expectations of Upper Class Brits But unlike other novels where the newcomers were kept out, here they succeeded brilliantly Fans of Downton Abbey may recognize the concept of a rich American becoming the wife of a British noble.At its core, The Buccaneers was about the complicated romance of Nan St George and Guy Thwarte A brief encounter established a seed of sympathy between the duo But Guy was obliged to go abroad and make the money needed to keep his family s estate afloat Nan entered an ill advised marriage to a colorless Duke who couldn t appreciate her unique sensibilities The feelings that spark between Nan and Guy when they re enter one another s lives drive the drama of the final act.In many ways, The Buccaneers is atypical of Wharton s plots For one, the star crossed couple got that rarest of Wharton rewards a happy ending The duo transcended the blight on their reputations and ran off together Prior Wharton heroines had only a life or regret and loss or, occasionally, poverty stricken death as reward for their impulsive actions and questionable decisions Nan got to be with the man she loved, even if the scandal produced would blow back on her family.Nan also had something few Wharton heroines had a sympathetic friend and advisor who cared about Nan s happiness than bowing to propriety Nan s governess, Laura Tetsvalley daughter of an expat Italian family , filled the maternal role for Nan capably than Nan s own fairly useless mother Laura made mistakes of her own along the way, but eventually elected to bear the brunt of Nan s scandal on her own shoulders, allowing her former pupil to escape a life that made her unhappy The Buccaneers also is notable for how sympathetic its putative villains are Ushant, the colorless Duke, set a lot of the unhappiness in motion He married Nan not because he particularly valued her, but because he found her ignorance of his station appealing and thought he could mold her into an ideal wife While that doesn t value Nan s virtues, it s also not exactly hissable The Duke was a product of his upbringing and only wanted his wife to learn her role and help perpetuate his line But the story made clear that, while not warm, he wasn t a bad person The rules of British society at the time gave him the right to force his will on Nan, but he couldn t quite bring himself to do that Given that his wife left him after telling him she was in love with someone else, the fact that he tried to end the union in as quiet a manner as possible is rather commendable.The Dowager Duchess was also a source of antagonism for Nan But the writing does a good job of demonstrating that she was motivated by her sense of duty, to her son, his position and their family You may not like her, but she s understandable Even a spoiled noblewoman who launched an unfounded scandal about Nan out of a fit of pique was pathetic than evil.Some of those differences might be attributed to Mainwaring And yet she channels Wharton s style almost seamlessly And the plot developments were based on Wharton s own plans for The Buccaneers Mainwaring blends into Wharton s work quite well A reader could believe the finished book is the product of one voice.For fans of Wharton s famous books, The Buccaneers is a thematic variation worth checking out.A version of this review originally appeared on www.thunderalleybcp.com


  7. says:

    This seemed a bit lighter than others by Wharton that I ve read Perhaps that is because this was her last novel, and unfinished She didn t live to revise, and I think this simply her first draft It was completed by another author Mainwaring did a good job of this as the transition was seamless, and it wasn t until I d read the last page that I knew where Wharton left off and Mainwaring began That said, the ending is weaker than what I might expect from Wharton As with other authors I ve come to love, Wharton s endings tend toward the sadly ironic I wasn t as invested in the character to whom that applies.Even with that criticism, I thoroughly enjoyed this I enjoyed it despite the fact that the synopsis on the back cover of this edition has a huge spoiler However, an author only has one best novel, and, of course, for Wharton that is The Age of Innocence She has some others that are close seconds, and this falls below them A liberal 4 stars from me, but it probably sits toward the bottom of that group.


  8. says:

    Books like this are so very difficult to review I felt so deeply for Nan and I could understand how she felt and what she thought Indeed, I could relate to her very well as her thinking process is similiar to mine My problem with the book is that in the end she makes a choice When you read it it seems like a good choice You want her to live and love You want her to live happily ever after, to be with the man that she is passionately in love with And in most stories that would be wonderful But in this story there is a slight problem.She s already married.The writing style is engaging, the plot is well developed and fascinating I finished it in two days , and you love some characters and hate others But somehow at the end of the book, despite being relieved that she will live happily ever after, you feel a slight tinge of guilt associated with that relief I hate reading books like this because I m a romantic at heart and deep down inside I know that if I finished the book and she didn t end up with the man that she loved I would be furious I love books where the girl and the guy come together in the end When they re in love and live happily ever after That s why books like this are so difficult for mebecause sometimes what s right isn t what s romantic And I want love to prevail in the end.Nan did what was right romantically but did she do the right thing morally Questions like that are bound to surface after finishing Edith Wharton s The Buccaneers.


  9. says:

    It s the 1870s, and the daughters of New York City s nouveau riche are being scorned by their social superiors They are forced to vacation at Saratoga because they haven t gotten invitations to Newport A clueless father humiliates his family by ensconcing them in a house on shlubby Madison Avenue rather than chic Fifth Rejected at home, the four daughters set out for England to snare them some aristocratic husbands They are the buccaneers.Four stars for the portion Wharton wrote, which co author Marion Mainwaring tells us is about 89,000 words One star for the concluding chapters, written by Mainwaring It just goes to show Wharton is really, really difficult to copy, in every way plotting, tone, style, idiom Mainwaring s addendum was dull and clunky, like so much of random historical fiction I don t know where the 89,000 word division came in the text, yet there was a point where I suddenly noticed that the Wharton magic was gone Not coincidentally, it was accompanied by the types of romantic interactions between characters that Wharton would only hint at, but a modern writer would spell out for you.I want to get hold of the 1938 edition, which doesn t contain Mainwaring s concluding chapters, and also contains the racial language Mainwaring removed for fear it would offend modern readers The 1993 text is full of words like brown, and dusky, and someone sends a telegram inquiring about her future daughter in law Is she black The bowdlerization left a bad taste in my mouth Fear of offending should never cause words to be changed or passages to be excised Jottings I m a little alarmed Yes, another author finished this uncompleted work by Wharton But it would be nice to see where Wharton s work ends and Mainwaring s begins Also, the text is bowdlerized some nasty racial language has apparently been removed Now I m going to have to read the 1938 edition to find out what Wharton really wrote Finally, there is no attribution of the cover art Big no no It s the Acheson Sisters, by John Singer Sargent, hanging at Chatsworth House.


  10. says:

    The Buccaneers is a romantic anti romance novel, if that makes any sense Five young American daughters of fortunate financial speculators, finding themselves excluded from the crustiest New York society, begin to marry into an extended family of English nobility As attractive as marrying into the top tier of society initially seems, navigating their responsibilities to ancestral mansions, families and tenants brings unhappiness, particularly for the youngest, Nan, who has married a duke who wanted a bride he could mold Nan realizes that she s made a mistake in marrying the duke, but there is no way for her to return to her schooldays, and pursing her true love will be disastrous.This story could be completely depressing typical for Edith Wharton if it weren t for the fun of comparing it to the real life drama of the Churchill family s American heiress brides I listened to The Churchills In Love and War back in February and March, and it s clear that Wharton borrowed liberally from the sensational memoirs released by Consuelo Vanderbilt married to the Duke of Marlborough and Jenny Jerome Churchill mother of Sir Winston Churchill The result is that the book feels a little smutty, the way that reading a tabloid might.If you don t know anything about the disappointing fairy tale marriages Wharton is referencing, I wouldn t recommend this as a particularly fun or interesting read Not that it was bad, exactly It was just uneven The depictions of the mothers in New York are from a comedy of manners, and the ruminations of Sad Nan come from a melodrama Nan s sister and friends basically disappear from the book halfway through, when it appeared from the beginning that they would have slightly larger roles Wharton died before completing a first draft, so it s possible that there would have been substantial editing As it is, Marian Mainwaring made it a mostly cohesive story focused on Nan s reclaiming her own identity.


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The Buccaneers download The Buccaneers, read online The Buccaneers, kindle ebook The Buccaneers, The Buccaneers 8e15af414dde Nan And Jinny St George Have Both Wealth And Beauty In Generous Supply In The New York Society Of The S, However, Only Those With Old Money Can Achieve The Status Of The Elite, And It Is Here That The Sisters Seem Doomed To FailureNan S New Governess, Laura Testvalley, Herself An Outsider, Takes Pity On Their Plight And Launches Them Instead On The Unsuspecting British Aristocracy Lords, Dukes, Marquesses And MPs, It Seems, Not Only Appreciate Beauty, But Also The Money That New York S Nouveaux Riches Can SupplyA Love Story Of Love And Marriage Among The Old And New Moneyed Classes, The Buccaneers Is A Delicately Perceptive Portrayal Of A World On The Brink Of Change