Flora’s opinion of poetry: Cold Comfort Farm

July 21, 2010

Lisa’s been reading Cold Comfort Farm, and we had a little chortle about this exchange between Elfine and Flora:

Elfine progressed. Her charming nature and Flora’s wise advice met and mingled naturally. Only over poetry was there a little struggle. Flora warned Elfine that she must write no more poetry if she wanted to marry into the county.
‘I thought poetry was enough,’ said Elfine, wistfully. ‘I mean, I thought poetry was so beautiful that if you met someone you loved, and you told them you wrote poetry, that would be enough to make them love you, too.’
‘On the contrary,’ said Flora, firmly, ‘most young men are alarmed on hearing that a young woman writes poetry. Combined with an ill-groomed head of hair and an eccentric style of dress, such an admission is almost fatal.’
‘I shall write it secretly, and publish it when I am fifty,’ said Elfine, rebelliously.
Flora coldly raised her eyebrows, and decided that she would return to the attack when Elfine had had her hair cut and seen her beautiful new dress…

– page 137, Penguin, first published 1932

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