Friday, October 19, 2007

Hilary is the scholar of the history of law who comes down from Cambridge now and then to London to bail friends who are practicing lawyers out of kerfuggles that their impracticality gets them into.

The idea is that detailed knowledge of medieval and renaissance legal history gives Hilary a much more realistic view of life than detailed knowledge of things like the modern tax code.

Hilary is arrogant and justifiably so. Fun. Explains it all at the end with told-you-soness and elan.

I want Hilary to be a woman. I want the arrogant and truly so person who solves it all to be a woman. The Hilary mysteries, by Sarah Caudwell, do not specify Hilary's gender.

They are told in the first person by Hilary, so that helps the author not specify, but it's still a good writer trick and never seems awkward. I never feel Caudwell writing to avoid pronouns, though obviously she has to.

When I think about Hilary, I know Hilary is a woman. This is because Hilary is always a woman's name in the US as far as I know, though not always in the UK

I mainly think Hilary is a woman when I think about it because I want Hilary to be a women.

When I am actually reading the books and involved in the plot, I do not experience Hillary as a woman. I do not experience Hilary as a man. I experience Hilary as a person.

Now that is an author trick indeed, a sneaky and skilled Utopian move.

Not liking Caudwell's Hilary books is possible for reasons that have nothing to do with the gender ploy. A person who didn't like them might use words like "Precious" and "give me a break." But if they work they are excellent and sneakily transforming.