The Reading List: Scandals
Monday 20 June 2011
'Notes on a Scandal' by Zoë Heller (Penguin, £2.60)
A murky tale of middle-class scandal from Zoë Heller.
When Sheba, an art teacher, begins an affair with a 15-year-old pupil, she confides in Barbara, an older colleague and friend. But Barbara's intentions are flawed; she uses her position to render Sheba entirely dependent, a solution to her own loneliness and obsessions. It is also the subject of an excellent film adaptation starring Cate Blanchett.
'The School for Scandal' by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Oxford World's Classics, £8.99)
Sheridan's famous play is a masterpiece in comedy and intrigue. Brothers Joseph and Charles contend for the affections of the beautiful Maria, though their intentions are much different. First presented in 1777, it challenged the Georgian social standards of its day with aplomb and remains Sheridan's most-loved work.
'Daisy Miller' by Henry James (Penguin Classics, £5.99)
A vivacious young American travelling in Europe with her mother catches the eye of Frederick Forsyth Winterbourne. When she forms a close friendship with an Italian man, perceptions of her compromising behaviour make her an outcast among American society. It's only later – too late – that Winterbourne discovers her true nature. James's short novel is an elegant portrait of the destruction wrought by the rigidity of social mores.
'Journal of the Plague Year: An Insider's Chronicle of Eliot Spitzer's Short and Tragic Reign' by Lloyd Constantine (Zontik LLC, £ 63.59)
A fast-paced account of the 16 turbulent months that Constantine spent working as a senior advisor to Eliot Spitzer, focusing on the pivotal 61 hours from the moment he received a phone call notifying him of the news that Spitzer had patronised the notorious brothel, Emperors Club VIP. With the story about to dominate the front pages of newspapers the next day, Constantine was forced into a frantic exercise of limiting damage.
'Scandal' by John Clare (Everyman Poetry, £3.00)
"She stands with eager haste at slander's tale / And drinks the news as drunkards drink their ale." Clare's poignant reflection on a gossip-mongering young woman captures, wonderfully, the hypocrisy that is embedded in our observation of social scandal.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 5 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations