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This volume includes, for the first time ever in North America, Hartley's own introduction to the novel. Paperback , pages. Published by New York Review of Books first published Norfolk, England , To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Go-Between , please sign up.
How does Hartley present young love through the character of Leo? Maurene Kauter by Leo's attachment and attraction to Marian See all 3 questions about The Go-Between…. Lists with This Book. Jul 08, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: A sublime novel, beautifully written and very evocative.
It has, probably one of the most famous opening lines in literature. Do I need to quote it? Probably not, but I will because it does sum up the book; "The past is a foreign country: He discovers his diary and begins to piece together the events. Hartley describes life in an E A sublime novel, beautifully written and very evocative.
Hartley describes life in an English preparatory school rather well and the relationship between Leo and Marcus Maudsley is believeable throughout.
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Leo is invited to Brandhan Hall to spend part of the holidays including his birthday with Marcus and his family; a home much grander then Leo's. Here Leo accidentally falls into the role of go-between for Marian Maudsley Marcus's sister, supposed to be engaged to Lord Trimingham and a local farmer Ted Burgess. The description of a hot English summer is spot on I'm being reminded of that at the moment!
Leo becomes obsessed with Mr Maudsley senior's weather station checking the rising Mercury contrast Mercury, messenger of the gods. Leo's innocence, inquisitiveness and naivety perfectly counteract the desires, plots and plans of the adults. Hartley explores the nature of class and gender at the time; the cricket match is so exactly portrayed Hall vs Village. Of course, when reading and writing about it, Pinter's brilliant film starring Alan Bates and Julie Christie is in my mind and has become almost impossible to separate from the book. The remembering of repressed memories is very Freudian and the obvious defence mechanisms ring very true; as does the intrusion of adult sexuality into young innocence.
The restraint and not revealing everything adds to the power of the novel; just a beautifully written novel View all 20 comments. The go-between by L. Hartley, one of my favourite novels, is in my mind inseparably connected with the movie directed by Joseph Losey. Having watched lately the recent adaptation of that classic I felt strong need to read it again to know how I would feel with it today. In the summer of just under 13 years old Leo Colston, imaginative and sensitive boy receives an invitation to spend part of holidays with The go-between by L.
In the summer of just under 13 years old Leo Colston, imaginative and sensitive boy receives an invitation to spend part of holidays with his schoolmate Marcus Maudsley in his family country estate, impressive Brandham Hall. Previous year was a bad one to him, first had been seriously ill, then orphaned by the father Leo has right to think of this year and the new century with high hopes and expectations as a beginning of something exceptional, onset of mythical Golden Age from his dreams. And entering Brandham Hall seems to create a real opportunity on that way.
Hartley brilliantly captured dreams and dilemmas of a twelve-year -old caught, against own will, partly due to own naivety and vanity though mainly because of egoism and callousness of adults, in a network of interrelated though conflicting aspirations. Enchanted by all participants of the drama boy is trying to please everyone.
Lovers are waiting for the letters. Do I see little wings at your feet? That novel is so brilliantly multilayered, psychologically nuanced, rich and evocative, dealing on so many levels, speaking of rigid class rules and social inferiority, naivety and calculation, deception and recognition, illicit love and hypocrisy, Victorian morality and conventions shackling people like stiff corset, finally eclipse of some epoch and loss of grace and innocence. If the past is a foreign country what then is a human heart?
The Go-Between, BBC One, review: 'Deeply moving and true'
Poor Leo, half a century later tries to bring back all events that merciful memory had hidden from him. Stranger in the world of feelings, cindery creature , disillusioned with life and dream golden age but also own role in the bygone tragedy like a guest from another world, exile from zodiacal Eden returns to the ancient past.
Go, Leo and from the bottom of your dried heart, from your reluctant memory, for the sake of this memorable summer and all these bigger than life people, go and find proper words. After all you believe yet that there's no spell or curse except an unloving heart. View all 25 comments. It has, of course, one of the most famous opening lines in literature - "The past is a foreign country: This is a very evocative novel, which really encapsulates the past well. This experience gives him a certain confidence, so he is thrilled to visit Marcus in the holidays. It gradually becomes apparent that Marian is destined to become engaged to the Viscount, whose family seat is Brandon Hall.
However, she is attracted to the tenant farmer, Ted Burgess, and, when Leo is asked to take notes between Marian and Ted, it leads to a tragedy which Leo tries to understand as an adult. Everything about this novel is sublimely beautiful. It seems almost odd now that a boy like Leo, about to reach his thirteenth birthday, is really so unaware of the reasons for his message taking; but, as the author tells us in the beginning — it was a more innocent time and very different.
The setting is evocative of those rare, beautiful, English summers. It involves class, cricket, croquet on the lawn and picnics. A wonderful novel and one which encapsulates so much about a certain time so well. View all 6 comments. With the help of the intimate journal he kept during his journey to Brandham Hall in Norwich County, Leo Colston re-examines the events that had such a traumat "Was there a telephone here in your day? With the help of the intimate journal he kept during his journey to Brandham Hall in Norwich County, Leo Colston re-examines the events that had such a traumatic 'arrested development', anyone?
As the introduction notes, Hartley wrote the book as a memoir, as an act of atonement, and as a manifesto against the decay brought by two world wars and a social order turned upside down. It allowed him to evoke a past, a time half a century earlier, a golden age, as he saw it, of Victorian morals and manners, an age of innocence in the short time before its shattering. What the introduction is less clear about, and what the reader can only discover by jumping right into the text, like the young boy dipping into the blue waters of a pond in summertime, is how full of beauty and sadness, how exquisitely written this trip down memory lane is.
The past is a foreign country: One of the most memorable first lines I have come across in my long years of reading, and a moving evocation of a fraught coming of age at the tail end of a pious, rigid yet prosperous Victorian society. Invited down for the summer to the opulent Brandham Hall by Marcus a friend from his public school , Leo feels both enthralled by the prospect of mingling with the rich Maudsley family and anxious about his own social status. I was between twelve and thirteen, and I wanted to think of myself as a man.
I felt utterly out of place among these smart rich people, and a misfit everywhere. Leo has managed to find his place among his peers at school, escaping the obligatory bullying and even gaining a reputation as an amateur spell caster. Yet this new world of immaculate green lawns, formal dinners, white suits and dresses, tennis and cricket and evening dances has him flustered, out of his depth, enchanted.
Most of all he is attracted by the older sister of Marcus, the beautiful Miss Marian Maudsley, who herself seems to be taking an interest in the young boy. What did we talk about that has left me with an impression of wings and flashes, as of air displaced by the flight of a bird? Of swooping and soaring, of a faint iridescence subdued to the enfolding brightness of the day? With help from Marian, Leo is out of his chrysalis his inappropriate cold weather clothes and heavy boots , Leo is now decked in a highly fashionable summer suit in bright green colour, and can take his place among the revelers.
On a trip to an improvised swimming pool he meets another adult that would have a major impact on his summer days: Ted Burgess is not a member of the Brandham Hall social circle, he is just a farmer out for a quick dip in the water, yet his physical presence is arresting. Without going into one too many plot details, Leo ends up visiting Ted at his farm and becomes a bearer of secret messages between him and Miss Marian.
His innocence fails to spot the obvious reason for the illicit dialogue and Leo revels instead in the attention he is paid by the two people he admires the most. Like many a young boy at that age, what he doesn't know is replaced by flights of fancy. Without knowing it, I was crossing the rainbow bridge from reality to dream. I now felt that I belonged to the Zodiac, not to Southdown Hill School; and that my emotions and my behaviour must illustrate this change.
My dream had become my reality; my old life was a discarded husk. Yet how long can this pretending game continue while real life happens all around Leo? For a moment he is on top of the world — when he saves the day at the annual cricket match between the Hall and the village teams, or when he sings a Psalm at the game's afterparty accompanied on piano by Miss Marian. But the higher you fly, the most painful is the coming back down. What an Eden Brandham Hall had been before this serpent entered it!
Master Colston begins to suspect that Ted and Marian are using him and that they care little about his own feelings, either praising or threatening him in order to get what they want from him. The Biblical references are intentional, with knowledge of the real world being blamed for Leo's expulsion from Paradise and with the connotations of sexual awakening in Leo as puberty hits. As older Leo inserts himself into the memoir, he even holds an imaginary conversation with his 12 y.
You flew too near to the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me. I was a conformist: Leo the conformist to the Victorian values is mostly in evidence on the day of the annual meeting between the Lords and the Peasants with the occasion of the game. Cricket is more than a game, they say, or used to say: I don't know about that. You can think of it as a set of ritual movements, or as a ballet, a ballet in a green field, a ballet of summer, which you can enjoy without knowing what it's about or what it means.
Cricket is also a stand-in for class warfare, with Lord Trimigham the refined war hero on one side and Ted Burgess the animal on the other, while Miss Marian standing on the sidelines to reward the winner. Dimly I felt that the contrast represented something more than the conflict between Hall and village. It was that, but it was also a struggle between order and lawlessness, between obedience to tradition and defiance of it, between social stability and revolution, between one attitude to life and another.
Older Leo feels betrayed by the selfishness and the brutality of the new age, a brutality he feels he is partly responsible for after poisoning the Eden he remembers Brandham Hall to have been. In a book rich in metaphor and foreshadowing, Leo is obsessed by a wild weed growing in a shady corner of the Brandham stables. Belladona comes to signify for him both passion in its wild, secret growing, and poison in its effects on other people. He is wiser now, but he mourns for the enthusiasm and the hope that he lost along the way.
Knowledge may be power, but it is not resilience, or resourcefulness, or adaptability to life, still less is it instinctive sympathy with human nature; and those were qualities I possessed in in far greater measure than I possess them in Indeed, before he was exiled from Paradise, the young boy was putting down in his diary some very thoughtful lines about ethics and religion and politics the Boer War in that period. Why should we call ourselves sinners? Life was life, and people acted in a certain way, which sometimes caused one pain. But surely something which might end in murder must be wrong.
This dilemma between his intentions and the results of his go-between actions in the summer of will haunt Leo Colston for the rest of his life, until he is ready to revisit the place in In my eyes the actors in my drama had been immortals, inheritors of the summer and of the coming glory of the twentieth century. So whichever way I looked, towards the world of experience or the world of the imagination, my gaze returned empty.
I could make no contact with either, and lacking the nourishment that these umbilical cords convey, I shrank into myself. The tragic vibe of the account of the summer of is balanced somewhat by the returning visit of This reader feels that the author was not satisfied with the bitterness of his own failed life, of his trampled sensibility, and he wanted another voice to give an account of that summer: Do you remember what that summer was like?
Well, what was the most beautiful thing in it? Wasn't it us, and our feelings for each other? This epilogue raised the book from a simple five star rating to a place among my favorites. Now I'm ready for a re-watch of the movie version. I don't see it, given the stated initial innocence of Leo and the obvious interest they both have in the beautiful Marian, but then I may have my own baggage of emotions and experience I am bringing to the lecture.
The Go-Between, BBC One, review: 'Deeply moving and true' - Telegraph
To each his own. To me the quote serves to paint Ted Burgess as a role model and not as a crush. I liked Ted Burgess in a reluctant, half-admiring, half-hating way. When I was away from him I could think of him objectively as a working farmer whom no one at the Hall thought much of. But when I was with him his mere physical presence cast a spell on me; it established an ascendancy that I could not break. He was, I felt, what a man ought to be, what I should like to be when I grew up. At the same time I was jealous of his power over Marian, little as I understood its nature, jealous of whatever it was he had that I had not.
He came between me and my image of her. In my thoughts I wanted to humiliate him, and sometimes did. But I also identified myself with him, so that I could not think of his discomfiture without pain; I could not hurt him without hurting myself. He fitted into my imaginative life, he was my companion of the greenwood, a rival, an enemy, a friend — I couldn't be sure which. View all 5 comments. Apr 06, Trish rated it it was amazing Shelves: Hartley has taken my breath away with the sweep of his story and the majesty of his writing.
Hartley, in an interview, wrote: I wanted to evoke the feeling of that summer [in ], the long stretch of fine weather, and also the confidence in life, the belief that all's well with the world, which everyone seemed to enjoy before the First World War Th Hartley has taken my breath away with the sweep of his story and the majesty of his writing. The Boer War was a local affair, and so I was able to set my little private tragedy against a general background of security and happiness.
It is told from the perspective of that same boy, years later and remembering back. He hints at some dark and irremediable end that casts a shadow through the warm and carefree beginnings of that seminal summer. This is a slow slide, told through innumerable details, into the deep end of the pool, but we hardly even struggle as the dim end comes. We are watching the process, the progress of our descent. Our boy Leo got a new set of clothes, fell helplessly in love with distant Marian, the older sister of Marcus, and had days of discovery on his own when Marcus came down sick and had to stay in bed.
Somehow I thought that nakedness and bathing and water and the thrill of danger would be intertwined with the finish, but that was just another beautifully executed feint where ordinary things take on the weight of portent. The gentle, teasing story of that languid summer is that moment in a life when mysteries are revealed, truths are uncovered, futures are altered, and no one is ever the same again. The miracle is that Hartley captured it so completely, the sensual detail caught with the enthusiasm and wonder of a boy's eye: But the best, the very best, is the way Hartley brings his story to a close.
We hold on through the summer with stomach clenched: I adored character Marian at the end, while I hated her throughout much of the story. It was the older man's eyes and her own words that make this transformation, but it made her life and his a celebration, rather than a tragedy. Only time and distance bestows that grace, and Hartley was wise enough to tweek our emotions that one last time. This is the cusp of manhood story that school children should read, but aspiring authors could do worse than study how Hartley did this. Hartley was a book reviewer foremost, and "often read as many as five novels a week and reckoned that in all he must have read well over six thousand books.
Would that our man were alive and writing today, we would be ever the richer. View all 10 comments.
Apr 09, Chris rated it really liked it. Look, just give me a book by a Brit with two initials whose observance is all the more sensual for being somehow repressed, and set him aloose on the pre-war countryside, okay? The climactic action of this book is when a kid rips up a shrub, yet, I liked it.
Dec 23, Tony rated it really liked it Shelves: There is, of course, the great opening line: And there is the magnificent cover, with just the perfect adolescent male face; even the green color is important, it turns out. There is also the very useful, if unfortunately positioned 'Author's Introduction'. Hartley quickly and explicitly expresses his debt to Proust and posits that an author, though wedded to the present, writes better when reflecting on the past, where impressions There is, of course, the great opening line: Hartley quickly and explicitly expresses his debt to Proust and posits that an author, though wedded to the present, writes better when reflecting on the past, where impressions formed are 'most fertile for literary creation.
The artist can't escape them. And the reader can tell when he's trying too hard. But it is the Epilogue which made this book for me. Until then, the narrator's voice was that adolescent, seeing things with open eyes but not yet understanding.
- Rereading: The Go-Between by LP Hartley | Books | The Guardian.
- La genèse de lidée de temps (Les introuvables) (French Edition).
- In the Breath of a Moment: Tiny Tales for Short Attention Spans;
No one will tell him what 'spooning' is and conversations splinter when one says 'Hugh' and the other hears 'you'. Such is the confusion when a boy turns thirteen. What to make of lessons of 'right' and 'wrong' and what is proper and what is not when Life's joys and tragedies yet remain unexplained. But, Proustians, the Epilogue begins with this line: When I put down my pen, I meant to put away my memories with it. I was like a train going through a series of tunnels; sometimes in the daylight; sometimes in the dark, sometimes knowing who and where I was, sometimes not knowing.
Little by little the periods of daylight grew more continuous and at last I was running in the open; by the middle of September I was considered fit to go back to school. It was not the denouement but the old man's voice that pulled the curtain away for me. I had struggled with the Britishness of the story; the notions of class seem silly to me. There is a vignette - a cricket match - which was defining.
It was the day not a day when the servants got to play and party with the viscounts and landed gentry. Our young narrator observes: I remember how class distinctions melted away and how the butler, the footman, the coachman, the gardener, and the pantry boy seemed completely on an equality with us, and I remember having a sixth sense that enabled me to foretell, with some accuracy, how each of them would shape. And yet the boy did not believe you could succeed at a game unless you were dressed properly for it.
It was like trained soldiers fighting natives. It was the time of The Boer War. Much would happen in the fifty years from the time our narrator 'put down' his pen and when, in the Epilogue, he took it up again. Whose fault was it? All the sorrows -- the bitter sorrows? What we do to each other? The woman at the center of this story says: But they weren't our fault -- they were the fault of this hideous century we live in, which has denatured humanity and planted death and hate where love and living were.
Tell him this, Leo, make him see it and feel it; it will be the best day's work you ever did. And so it was. View all 19 comments. Leo narrates the events in , as a mature adult looking back.
My only awareness of it, was from the film adaptation which I have never got round to watching. I will be putting that right soon. My sense is that ' The Go-Between ' has fallen out of favour since the film, and may well be destined to languish in relative obscurity in a few decades time. This would be a great shame.
There is so much to enjoy here: However, beyond the surface pleasures, lurk darker themes. There is so much to ponder in this book. I could reread it again right now. I was relieved not to have read the excellent introduction in the Penguin Modern Classics edition until after I had finished the book, as this reveals yet more insights about the depth of meaning within this wonderful book. Oct 05, Chrissie rated it it was ok Shelves: I bought this book because I was intrigued by its first line: The story is told by a sixty-two year old man, Leo Colston.
He writes of his experiences in the summer of when he was almost thirteen. That summer he was invited to stay with his upper-class friend Marcus Maudsley in their Norfolk estate, Brandham Hall, in I bought this book because I was intrigued by its first line: That summer he was invited to stay with his upper-class friend Marcus Maudsley in their Norfolk estate, Brandham Hall, in England. The story revolves around what happened in those few weeks and how what happened changed Colston's life forever.
The story does not feel told, but vividly experienced as the elderly man relives the events of that summer. You never forget that it is the elderly English man speaking. You hear this in his manner of speaking. The themes are interesting: It is about the simultaneous process of losing the naivety of a child and the abrupt awakening to the deceptions of adulthood. It draws a rather negative view of British upper crust values and mode of life.
I find the consequences of the events as they are drawn in the story to be exaggerated. I felt nothing for any of the characters. The events left me totally unmoved. There is a coldness, a steeliness in the manner in which the story is related. This coldness reflects who Leo Colston came to be, but I find it questionable that such a man would have any interest in telling us his story!
The audiobook narration by Sean Barrett is easy to follow and properly displayed the cold manner of the central protagonist. View all 7 comments. This is a novel written in the s about the English Victorian world of the turn of the 20th century. Martin is of the upper class. Leo is not but few in the story are aware of his family background. It is something that he does not want others to know but he is limited in his vision and his wardrobe.
Circumstances, including the generosity of the Maudsleys offer both solutions and complications. When, later, she persuades him to take messages to Ted, the nearby young farmer, he becomes complicit without understanding the grown-ups' relationship. This is the central element of the story and its title. The book opens with a lovely line: The passage of many decades allows the older Leo to offer some perspective on what the young Leo was enthralled by. The world is a different place at the middle of the 20th century and particularly so for most Brits.
Britannia no longer rules the waves; the former Empire is in a steep erosion; the class system has broken down; manners and morals have changed; and, squires no longer dominate the countryside. Hartley handles the various threads of plot with great competence.
But, where he shines is in the descriptions. Leo and Martin at play ring absolutely true. The pastoral setting is rendered in all its subtle hues from the oppressive heat of the summer to the swimming in the river. We are treated to rural life complete with a cricket match, concert and formal ball. Hartley takes time to sketch the people who serve at and frequent Brandham Hall. This helps to fill out the portrait of the life that holds so much attraction for the young Leo. We, along with Leo, ineffectually shuttle between the world of children and the world of adults.
We think we understand more than we actually do. When the older Leo actually returns to Norfolk to seek out the Maudsleys, we come to understand more of the context, but not all. View all 11 comments.
It is an unusually hot English summer in Sweltering temperatures echo simmering passions behind a facade of rules, manners and decorum. Twelve year old Leo spends his summer holidays visiting a school friend at his home, Brandham Hall. Leo is out of his class and out of his depth. He feels unworthy and insecure as he tries to integrate himself into family affections. Intoxicated by their party lifestyle, he is manipulated with charm and his schoolboy innocence is used as a means of deceit. The novel is narrated by Leo, as a child and as an older man.
He recalls the events of a summer which become emotionally significant in his life. Past and present merge beautifully in a world of privilege and cruelty. Evocative, poignant, and beautiful! Nostalgia can sometimes be like an unopened letter which allures us to open it, but when we open and finish reading it, a pang of guilt makes us regret our decision.
Now, Leo Colston is met with one such situation in his sixties and his source of guilt lies uno Evocative, poignant, and beautiful! But, the insinuations can be hardly mistaken. What I loved most about the book is the way it relates the predicaments of its characters with that of Paradise Lost. The writing is sublime with paradisiacal analogies, and at the same time, does not stray from the juvenile perspective of a teenage boy. Without revealing further interesting aspects of this rather-disturbing story, I am ending this gibberish of a writing here with a hope that you might like this book as much as I do.
It's been a long time since I've been so flummoxed by a book that it leaves me almost without words. One part of my mind says this: I like the writing well enough, and Hartley seems to spin a well-constructed story; and for the most part, it isn't objectionable. The other part says this: I hated it with undefinable passion. I wondered, what did I really dislike? I didn't like the pretentious little prig who was nothing but a little blusterer with an inflated sense of self. Start your free trial.
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Hartley based on the novel by , Adrian Hodges. Watch This Week's Trailer Trailer. Related News Ian McEwan: April May June Share this Rating Title: Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Learn more More Like This. A tale of torrid and forbidden love between a couple in the English countryside. Aristocrats TV Mini-Series An eighteenth century drama details the scandalous life of Lady Seymour Worsley.
The Village TV Series Madame Bovary TV Movie Edit Cast Complete credited cast: Old Leo Jack Hollington Marcus Maudsley Tim McMullan Marian Maudsley Lesley Manville Mrs Maudsley Jack Cutmore-Scott Denys Maudsley Emily Laing Ted Burgess Stephen Campbell Moore Hugh Trimingham Vanessa Redgrave Old Marian Nicholas Evans Edit Storyline In 12 year old Leo Colston spends a blisteringly hot summer with the wealthy family of class-mate Marcus Maudsley at their Norfolk estate.
Edit Did You Know? Trivia Jim Broadbent also appeared in the original The Go-Between , his first film role though an uncredited role. Add the first question. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Report this.