My Whit’s End Book Club–Out of Africa–The Noble Pioneer

“And like a cat he [Berkeley] made every room that he sat in a place of comfort, as if he had had in him a source of heat and fun.”

“He had no principles, but a surprising stock of prejudices, as you would expect in a cat.”–rarely have I read of a man being compared to a cat, yet this one works.  Denison also understands cats.

“Out of a kind of devilry, he was most charming to the people of whom he had the poorest opinion.”

p. 221:  atavism – the tendency to revert to ancestral type; the appearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generation.

p. 221:  “If it do come to pass. . .” – this quote is from “As You Like It”, and here is an excerpt from Wikipedia.

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play’s first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility. As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden. Historically, critical response has varied, with some critics finding the work of lesser quality than other Shakespearean works and some finding the play a work of great merit.

The play features one of Shakespeare’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches, “All the world’s a stage“, and is the origin of the phrase “too much of a good thing”. The play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio, film, and musical theatre.

p. 222:  d’Artagnan of Vigt Ans Apres – Vigt ans apres = French. Twenty Years After.  Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia.

Twenty Years After (French: Vingt ans après) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père, first serialized from January to August, 1845. A book of the D’Artagnan Romances, it is a sequel to The Three Musketeers and precedes The Vicomte de Bragelonne (which includes the sub-plot, Man in the Iron Mask).

The novel follows events in France during La Fronde, during the childhood reign of Louis XIV, and in England near the end of the English Civil War, leading up to the victory of Oliver Cromwell and the execution of King Charles I. Dumas comes out on the side of the monarchy in general, or at least he supports the idea of a well-meaning, liberal monarchy.[citation needed] His musketeers are valiant and just in their efforts to protect young Louis XIV and the doomed Charles I from their attackers. This book is the least well-known of the Musketeer saga but works effectively as a sequel, with reappearances by most main characters (or children of main characters) and a number of subplots.

If you have never read “The Three Musketeers” you are really missing a great classic.  I think this ice skater captures the essence of D’Artagnan.  It is old film footage, so not the quality we expect today, but I think you will better understand how Karen Blixen is trying to portray Berkeley Cole after watching this video of Phillipe Candeloro ice skating in the 1998 Olympics.
<a href=&quotp. 222:  “. . .in the manner of Congreve and Wycherly en plein vingtieme siecle. . . – Congreve and Wycherly are both English playwrights.  En plein vingieme is French for “in the 20th century.”  I am not sure if Denison is referring to the paper or not.  From Wikipedia.

File:Le Petit Vingtième number 32.jpg

Le Petit Vingtième (“The Little Twentieth”) was the weekly youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle (“The Twentieth Century”) from 1928 to 1940. The comics series The Adventures of Tintin first appeared in its pages.

[edit] History

Le Vingtième Siècle was a Catholic and conservative newspaper from Brussels, led by abbot Norbert Wallez. In 1925, 18 years old Hergé (Georges Prosper Remi), the creator of Tintin, worked there, first as a clerk[1] and, after he fulfilled his military service, as an illustrator for the main pages and for some supplements like the weekly arts pages and the female section.[2]

In 1928, the abbot decided to start a weekly 8 page youth supplement, appearing every Thursday. He called it Le Petit Vingtième (The Little Twentieth). Hergé was named Editor-in-Chief. In the first issue, appearing on November 1, 1928, he illustrated a short comic made by Desmedt, the sports editor of the newspaper called Les Aventures de Flup, Nénesse, Poussette et Cochonnet.[3] Sensing that this comic lacked spirit and was rather old-fashioned compared to the current American comics and to the works of Alain Saint-Ogan, Hergé started working on his own comic.[4] In 1927, he met Germaine Kieckens, the secretary of the abbot at the newspaper. They got engaged in 1932[5] and married on July 20 of the same year.[6]

On January 10, 1929, in issue 11, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets began.[7] Every issue featured two pages of the story, and Hergé often made covers for the supplement depicting Tintin as well. A year later, on January 23, 1930, the supplement increased from 8 to 16 pages, and the first page of Quick & Flupke, a new gag strip, appeared in the magazine.[8] 310 gags would appear before the paper folded.

The supplement, especially the comics, were an overwhelming success, with circulation of the publication quadrupling on Thursdays.[9] At the end of each of the first three stories of The Adventures of Tintin, an actual reception of the comic hero (played by an actor) at the station in Brussels was organized, with thousands of people attending. The first of these was attended by Zita of Bourbon-Parma, the former empress of Austria, and her children.[10]

In the meantime the first assistants to Hergé were hired to help him fill the supplement and to do minor work on Tintin and Quick & Flupke: Eugène Van Nijverseel, better known as Evany,[7] and Paul Jamin (also signing as Jam).[11]

To capitalize on the success, a new publishing house was started, Les éditions du Petit Vingtième, publishing the first three books of Tintin and the first two of Quick and Flupke before folding and passing the rights in 1934 to Casterman, which was better suited to cope with the international success of Tintin (which by then also appeared in France and Switzerland). Both the newspaper comics and the album publications were in black and white, although the covers to the supplement, which were also often made by Hergé, used a supporting colour.

Between February 8 and August 16, 1934, Hergé also published the more juvenile story Les aventures de Popol et Virginie chez les Lapinos (translated as Popol out west).[12] This story was only first published as an album (in French) in 1952 though.[13]

In February 1940, an attempt was made to launch De Bengel, a Dutch translation of Le Petit Vingtième. This magazine marked the first appearance of Tintin in Dutch. The magazine seems to have never been distributed though, and only one copy is known to exist.[14]

The publication of Tintin and Quick & Flupke continued in the newspaper supplement until May 1940, when the Germans invaded Belgium.

If you are not familiar with the Tin Tin comic books, here is a sample.  This is a movie trailer, but it gives you an idea of the comic books.  Check your local library for them.

p. 222:  Rosinante – name of Don Quixote’s sorry stead.

p. 223:  tout comme chez soi – French.  Google says, “just like home.”  I think it more means “at home”.

p. 228:  sagacity – foresight; discernment, sound in judgement; keen perception; foresight

p.  229:  “. . .His Darkness and his Brightness. . .” – I am sorry, but I couldn’t find the source of this poem.  Maybe somebody can help be out here.

p. 230:  head of Britannia –


p. 232:  “–La dure necessite maitresse des hommes et des dieux.” – French.  Google translate says, “The hard necessity of men and gods. . .”

The chapter closes with the sentence, “A cat had got up and left the room.”  And we the readers miss him already.

Until next chapter when we take “Wings”.


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4 Responses to My Whit’s End Book Club–Out of Africa–The Noble Pioneer

  1. Alicia says:

    Helpful excerpts from a book that was deserving if the Nobel prize for literature the year it was nominated. I keep Dinesen always close at hand. A friend bestowed a hard bound first edition and reading it brings me deep intellectual comfort.

    I googled a French quote from her chapter where Berkeley Cole dies — and found Wits End. I’m sure I’ll be back. Reshereche!


    • Alicia says:

      My pardon “Whits End” ~ clever ~ and of course the Dinesen book to which I was referring is Out of Africa.

      Good day,



      • whitsendmom says:

        Thanks so much for stopping by. I need to get back into writing more book reviews, as I have just finished up several.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Rebecca, The poem on page 229 is Vision of Judgement by Lord Byron. Note that the link you served for Chapter Old Knudsen is wrong. Please fix it.


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