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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 2 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 3 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Great British Bake Off, episode 4, review: Heat gets turned up – and Iain goes into meltdown
Doctor Who lesbian kiss sparks Ofcom complaints over 'weird lesbian-lizard perv trip'
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Emmys 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Steven Moffat win big awards for Sherlock
Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
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