I have grand plans for this blog. Well, not really. I have slight to moderate plans, but the point is they’re on hold because I have to spend the next three months writing about Roald Dahl. If you’re going to write a dissertation it might as well be on a subject you know a bit about. For my undergraduate degree it was Britten’s Peter Grimes, and the resulting piece of work, while pedestrian in the extreme, did at least display not so great a degree of incompetence for me to be openly derided during the graduation ceremony.
I think this dissertation should be more successful than the last. I’ve got the hang of Harvard referencing now, for one thing, and I think I’m probably better at putting coherent arguments together, though the problem of my brain overflowing still crops up. So it’s an agreeable prospect, though it will probably mean less posting here until September.
Dahl was an odd chap. Smart and gifted writer with a brilliant understanding of the child mind though he was, he could be egotistical and cruel, and the old allegations of racism and anti-Semitism still cling to him. A flick through Jeremy Treglown’s unauthorised biography provides this fascinating snapshot of the man, one of many:
In the case of The BFG, Dahl was also rewarded by one of those coincidences in which life imitates fiction. The story takes the giant to Buckingham Palace, where he blows a dream through the Queen’s bedroom window warning her of the bad giants’ attacks on children. When she wakes, Sophie is sitting on the window-sill while the BFG prowls in the garden outside. One night in July 1982, between the book’s completion and its publication, the real Queen Elizabeth II woke up in Buckingham Palace to find a man called Michael Fagan in her bedroom. Dahl delighted in the story and, long after it had died down in the newspapers, he would fantasize ribaldly that Fagan had ‘actually done it’ with the Queen, and had been got rid of by the security services.
This could be fun…
Tags: Roald Dahl