Georges Simenon & The Age of Aquarius

January 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm (books, history, news, research) (, , , , , )


suttons_Mary-silhouette2Mary Gosling (aka Lady Smith) and I are both born under the sign of Aquarius: Mary born February 2nd; me on February 4th. Although I have never had a horoscope cast, I am a keen reader of the generic tidbits that turn up in newspapers. These past several months there have been several that spoke to the writer in me. I cannot express how comforting these “predictions” feel. When no one “known” to me (as I call it, in my daily life) seems to care whether this project breathes life, or dies on the vine, I take courage from these Aquarian words of encouragement.

So imagine my opening the local paper 7 Days and finding this juicy morsel to chew upon this week:

“The Aquarian author Georges Simenon (13 Feb 1903 – 1989) wrote more than 200 novels under his own name and 300 more under pseudonyms. On average, he finished a new book every 11 days. Half a billion copies of his books are in print. I’m sorry to report that I don’t think you will ever be as prolific [me neither…] in your own chosen field as he was in his. However, your productivity could soar to a hefty fraction of Simenon-like levels in 2014 — if you’re willing to work your ass off. Your luxuriant fruitfulness won’t come as easily as his seemed to. But you should be overjoyed that you at least have the potential to be luxuriantly fruitful.”

I thought drafting a novel (still in first-draft mode, many years later) in a summer a feat of diligence. Eleven days? Yow! I’ve read Simenon (been a while though), and only in English of course. I do remember enjoying them; and, of course, got turned on to them via TV’s Maigret series (the French series also ran locally, from time to time).

Mary and I certainly ‘hoo-ray’ the idea of being ‘luxuriantly fruitful’ in getting ahead in our project. And here comes Emma, and even Mamma, to add their voices to the mix….

I’ve been finishing (not yet finished though) Book of Ages and was wonderfully surprised to see the fanaticism shown by Jared Sparks in hunting down, amassing, and even acquiring “original” Benjamin Franklin documents. I, too, have that fever! It rages, flames, and settles as embers, only to rage again as certain items come to light – a new batch of letters, an unknown portrait. It is exciting, but it takes T-I-M-E. Certainly more than eleven days.

Addendum: I knew I had mentioned Mr Darcy and Aquarius before; see also my October 2013 post.

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4 Comments

  1. David Simmons said,

    I’m very familiar with the works of Georges Simenon and practically ignorant of astrology. Can someone tell what features one might expect in an Aquarian author, for I’d like to see if it rings true for Simenon.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, David — would love to hear more.

      I once was given a birthday gift which included a “description” of the Aquarius sign. It rather intriuged me! I wrote about it at Jane Austen in Vermont: http://janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/food-for-thought/ because it sounded like Darcy’s character. Different websites carry slightly different “explanations” –

      Aquarians “basically possess strong and attractive personalities. They fall into two principle types: one shy, sensitive, gentle and patient; the other exuberant, lively and exhibitionist, sometimes hiding their considerable depths of their character under a cloak of frivolity. …. In spite of the often intensely magnetic forthcoming and open personality of the more extrovert kind of Aquarian, and of their desire to help humanity, neither type makes friends easily. They sometimes appear to condescend to others and take too little trouble to cultivate the acquaintance of people who do not particularly appeal to them. They do not give themselves easily – perhaps their judgment of human nature is too good for that – and are sometimes accounted cold. But once they decide that someone is worthy of their friendship or love, they can exert an almost hypnotic and irresistible mental attraction on them and will themselves become tenacious friends or lovers, ready to sacrifice everything for their partners and be faithful to them for life. However, they are sometimes disappointed emotionally because their own high personal ideas cause them to demand more of others than is reasonable. And if they are deceived their anger is terrible. If disillusioned, they do not forgive.”

      • davidsimmons6 said,

        Thanks, Janiete! My focus has been more on Maigret than Simenon and biographer I’m not, but I’ve picked up a lot of information about the author along the way. Below, I’ve considered the characteristics in your “definition” of Aquarians as they may or may not apply to Simenon.

        “strong and attractive personalities” Yes to the former, no to the latter.

        “types: one shy, sensitive, gentle and patient; the other exuberant, lively and exhibitionist” None of these fit except exhibitionist. Egocentric comes to mind.

        “appear to condescend to others and take too little trouble to cultivate the acquaintance of people who do not particularly appeal to them.” And “do not give themselves easily” Selfish is an inclusive term.

        “will themselves become tenacious friends or lovers, ready to sacrifice everything for their partners and be faithful to them for life.” No way!

        “their own high personal ideas cause them to demand more of others than is reasonable.” Rings a bell.

        “And if they are deceived their anger is terrible. If disillusioned, they do not forgive.” I would expect this, but couldn’t prove it.

        Adding this all up makes me think he does not fit the Aquarian mold.
        What do you think?

        (By the way, Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels).

  2. Janeite Kelly said,

    How fun, David, to see that you read P&P!

    One really has to read things like “strong” and “attractive” in two different ways – surely someone can judge strong as being ‘unattractive’ – same with “selfish”. One man’s selfish is another’s self-preservation. Would have to look a little into his life to really make a guess. We’re all complex, and have some attributes in greater or lesser degree.

    And I do like the Maigret novels!

    k

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