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Post Info TOPIC: WG's Autobiography "Memoirs of a Private Man" & the possible influences on him


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RE: WG's Autobiography "Memoirs of a Private Man" & the possible influences on him
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I just finished reading this book.  What a joy!  WG was truly a warm-hearted and sensitive person, who had his own trials and tribulations in his life, just like the characters in Poldark.  I'm really glad that I could get a sense of where he got the inspiration for the characters.  His own marriage to Jean was every bit as loving and devoted as Ross and Demelza.



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Interesting thoughts from you all on WG's influences...
During the 80's & 90's, he often wrote to me from the S Club, ( handwritten, on S Club stationary). He spent loads of time there, and did mention the "interesting characters" that he associated with in that establishment. The fact that he used the term "characters" rather than "other members" always struck me.
As I spend much time in Australia- I'm in Australia at the minute- he had mentioned too that Australia held a special part of his heart.
Was thinking of him warmly on his recent birthday, and I know he would still be touched and humbled at the esteem in which he is held.

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namparagirl wrote:

Hi there, Happy Easter to all. 
I found the Telegraph article interesting too, but the sentence where they mention that WG preferred the HTV production to the original is, I think, not wholly correct.  He says in his memoirs that he kept a low profile but behind the scenes did everything humanly possible to heal the split. Personally I still believe that in his heart of hearts he felt that Angharad and Robin were the only imaginable actors to play the lead roles, but in his own words, 'it became a pipe dream'.  He had to face the inevitable facts, HTV were in deadly earnest and did produce a second script which WG thought was more true to his own writing. Their major downfall seems to be the fact that they were intent on squeezing far too much of the story into too short a time a point that WG lamented. 
I get the impression that although he was eventually tremendously impressed with the new HTV cast and gave his full commitment to the filming, nothing would shake his respect and love for the original BBC production, which he says evolved well over time and for him, as well as many of the devoted fans of the Poldark series, without Angharad and Robin the fundamental feel and magic in the HTV film was missing. 
I agree with him when he says that if they had presented the filming in the same way as the BBC had done, ie allotting four installments of 55 mins, the public whilst initially hating the changes of cast, (as we all did), would have gradually become absorbed in the storyline of Ross and Demelza's children and have warmed to them, ensuring HTV of as or almost as much success as the BBC enjoyed.  For me, no other two actors, apart from RE and AR could ever take the place of Ross and Demelza, but after watching Stranger from the Sea a few times, I felt that the casting of their children and the storyline from there grew on me and I gradually came to like it more.
WG was between a rock and a hard place, it was his baby, his loyalties were under pressure, but his main and most important issue was that any filming stayed as true to the books as possible.  Perhaps now is a good time to do a totally new film of the books, I look forward to it. 
I might be absolutely wrong, but it's just my interpretation of his feelings as I have gleaned from the material I have read.  sun.gif





I agree too. 
As one who came late to the Poldark experience, I wasn't as deeply invested in the original cast as most people, so I believe I would have adjusted well enough to the change of actors in the later film.  But the problem is that even as a stand alone (without the other series) it just doesn't hold up because everything is so rushed, characters are under-developed, storylines lack sufficient detail and are eventually left unresolved.  Very disappointing.  And if you haven't read or watched the older series, you don't have the back story that the film appears to assume its viewers would have. Such a wasted opportunity, imo.

Keeping costs too low seems to be one of the main criticisms of ITV.  They blew a fantastic opportunity with this film, just as they did in 2007 when they presented their "Jane Austen Season."  They had great writers, great casts (mostly) but were too cheap to give the stories enough screen time to satisfy the tastes of the kinds of viewers who watch these programs. Too many details left out, stories rushed, and other cost-saving measures that frankly were all too obvious on screen.  no

 



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no Oh no, let's hope not!!  One day someone surely must think it's a good idea.

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Date: Apr 12 9:17 AM, 2009
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Happy Easter Namparagirl and to everyone else.
I think you are right in your post and  I agree that if HTV had produced the Stranger from the Sea over four weeks instead of a one off special, it would have been better recieved. 
I believe that WG had a very close and affectionate relationship with both Robin and Angharad and it must have been a very difficult and painful period when all the furore over the casting of Ross and Demelza was going on.
The biggest tragedy is that the poor reviews received by the Stranger from the Sea may well put off any production company from ever even contemplating filming the remaining books.

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Hi there, Happy Easter to all. 
I found the Telegraph article interesting too, but the sentence where they mention that WG preferred the HTV production to the original is, I think, not wholly correct.  He says in his memoirs that he kept a low profile but behind the scenes did everything humanly possible to heal the split. Personally I still believe that in his heart of hearts he felt that Angharad and Robin were the only imaginable actors to play the lead roles, but in his own words, 'it became a pipe dream'.  He had to face the inevitable facts, HTV were in deadly earnest and did produce a second script which WG thought was more true to his own writing. Their major downfall seems to be the fact that they were intent on squeezing far too much of the story into too short a time a point that WG lamented. 
I get the impression that although he was eventually tremendously impressed with the new HTV cast and gave his full commitment to the filming, nothing would shake his respect and love for the original BBC production, which he says evolved well over time and for him, as well as many of the devoted fans of the Poldark series, without Angharad and Robin the fundamental feel and magic in the HTV film was missing. 
I agree with him when he says that if they had presented the filming in the same way as the BBC had done, ie allotting four installments of 55 mins, the public whilst initially hating the changes of cast, (as we all did), would have gradually become absorbed in the storyline of Ross and Demelza's children and have warmed to them, ensuring HTV of as or almost as much success as the BBC enjoyed.  For me, no other two actors, apart from RE and AR could ever take the place of Ross and Demelza, but after watching Stranger from the Sea a few times, I felt that the casting of their children and the storyline from there grew on me and I gradually came to like it more.
WG was between a rock and a hard place, it was his baby, his loyalties were under pressure, but his main and most important issue was that any filming stayed as true to the books as possible.  Perhaps now is a good time to do a totally new film of the books, I look forward to it. 
I might be absolutely wrong, but it's just my interpretation of his feelings as I have gleaned from the material I have read.  sun.gif

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Date: Apr 11 10:59 AM, 2009
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To be honest I completely missed the obvious and clearly stated connection with the Society until I looked at it again this morning as I was so preoccupied by Namparagirl's interesting point ! biggrin Because it had instantly conjured up loads of fascinating visions of some of the members I remembered reading about in the Saville Club and Osbourne and Mark Adderley, it then reminded me that he was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and served as Chairman of the Society of Authors from 1967 to 1969....and then the darned phone rang. Then being in a sudden rush I just posted the link forgetting where I'd got to !! Lol blankstare

A real shame the way things turned out in the end - were there any attempts at some sort of reconciliation ?

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Interesting link Greg, i hadnt seen that before.
I think i have said before that the reason i stopped being a member of the society was when i found out that  WG didnt feel he could remain president if they opposed any adapatation of his work based on the actors used to play the roles . 
 When we went to one of the luncheons, my friend asked WG to sign her copy and she told him she had never seen the series, only read the books and WG thanked her , very sincerely and wryly said that he was delighted to hear it and that not many people said that to him.
I know , from reading his autobiography and the book Poldarks Cornwall, that he had issues with the adapation of the first four books and felt very strongly about the changes the BBC made to the way in which Ross married Demelza. I much prefer the books for the way their relationship slowly develops over a few years and the fact that ROss marries Demelza out of choice, not necessity so i can understand why WG felt the way he did. 

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biggrin Heee!! Music Thomas!  What an awesome imagination WG had.  Yes, it was a scream about the love potion, so funny!  As an incurable romantic, I loved the fact that Music got his girl in the end. heart.gifsun.gifheart.gif

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Oh yes more than likely !  lol biggrin - forgot all about the Savile Club as it's been ages since I last read his book.
I wish WG had said who gave him the idea of Music Thomas !!nerd.gif I loved every description about him especially when Dwight tried to get him to come down off his toes when walking !  Best of all was the mix up with Katie over the love potion and the chill blain cure which had me in hysterics when I first read it ! Can't remember now but I think the woman who finally did drink the love potion could have almost been a grandmother grandma.gif to her suitor ?  Music's brother I think ?

Must start re-reading all the Poldark books soon as well sprint.gif These wretched emoticons ! They're getting way too habit forming !  biggrin


Just found another interesting obituary news item...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1435770/Winston-Graham.html

"When Graham admitted preferring the new film to the original television series, he found himself cold-shouldered by the Society of which he was president."



-- Edited by Greg on Friday 10th of April 2009 04:40:14 PM

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wink Ideas for Ossie's character ........... more than likely it was just a simple case of using an amalgamation of different characteristics of men he met whilst at the Savile Club.  WG says it was a place where the great went to relax; unceremonious as a public school, as intellectual as the best university, as Bohemian s a Soho restaurant ....... full of eccentrics and intellectuals, of raconteurs, wits and half-wits.  So probably a fabulous melting pot of individuals providing a source of research for an author looking for inspiration - come to think of it he may well have based Monk Adderly's personality on a few of his colleagues at the Savile Club!!

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where oh where did he get the ideas for the Ozzie's character......... interesting idea!!!

That could be a very difficult one as I've not yet come across any further evidence about his brother other than in his autobiography, but I've never got the feeling that it was from him in any way. Rather that WG always respected and looked up to him and was eventually thoroughly glad that after recovering from his war wound he couldn't wait to move to Cornwall. In passing I enjoyed his pithy comment that had the bullet been a fraction elsewhere there would have been no Poldark ! ashamed

If there are any clues to be found, one good place to start looking might be in his other non-Poldark books. I've now probably read about 80% - 90% of them, which apart from a few interesting and really enjoyable exceptions, are completely different to Poldark as they are mostly about murder, mystery and suspense which have never my favourite choice at all ! It's as if a complete stranger is writing which sometimes feels very strange as it's all so completely out of character. Yet WG's vital element of total absorption, just as in Poldark, is gratifyingly always there. I've posted several short reviews about a few of them in the relevant sub-forums, though if you're really interested best to read anything first as I think there are quite a few plot details revealed.

As to WG's brother. From what I remember, and I definitely stand to be corrected some day !!  biggrin , I think there's very little because so little is known about him in the first place. But I would guess that "The Little Walls" might be an interesting place to start followed perhaps by "Fortune is a Woman" as both of these were written around the same time as Warleggan. But of course these are only my own thoughts and views.

You can get some idea of it all over on his Film page.

http://www.poldark.org.uk/films.html



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wink Now there's a thought ........... where oh where did he get the ideas for the Ozzie's character......... interesting idea!!!biggrin

-- Edited by namparagirl on Thursday 9th of April 2009 09:14:33 PM

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Pity WG didn't talk about his brother in greater detail....   confuse

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RE: The possible influences on Winston Graham ?
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Greg wrote:

 I've suddenly started wondering given his fortunate early economic circumstances, that perhaps rather than Jean it might instead have been his mother who had a strong influence on him ?


Hey Greg,
Perhaps given the fact that his mother would have dearly loved him to have been a daughter and that he was somewhat wrapped in cotton wool and mollycoddled resulting from being rather a sickly child, he did grow up with a well developed feminine side to his personality.  By his own admission he admits to having an approach to women which was always too romantic, part of his nature and too inbred to ever change it.  Thank goodness, otherwise we may not have experienced reading about all those wonderful female characters he created.
I got the impression that his mother was rather possessive and a little too happy for him to be tied to her apron strings.
A couple of lines where Winston, then thirteen years old and suffering from lobar pneumonia, tells of the first time he realised  to his immense surprise that his father was actually fond of him, shows that he did put a lot of himself into the character of Ross Poldark. I remember that Ross had a similar experience with his father.
I still reckon his deeply loving union with Jean was a key factor in the way he was able to write about the emotions of his feminine characters.  They obviously had a very close and communicative relationship and I think she would have given him much more of a realistic and human insight to the way women think and behave than his mother, who I got the impression was quite a weak and self-centred woman.
Have to say that I found the first part of his memoirs a little hard to enjoy. Loved Book 2 which was a much easier and interesting read for me.

 



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Date: Apr 6 1:45 PM, 2009
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Also feel that Jean must have had a strong influence on the emotive way he writes with such perception....
It's been a while since I read his Memoirs but seeing your quote above, I've suddenly started wondering given his fortunate early economic circumstances, that perhaps rather than Jean it might instead have been his mother who had a strong influence on him ? Interested to hear what you think once you've finished reading what is a very absorbing book in its own right smile

-- Edited by Greg on Monday 6th of April 2009 12:46:24 PM

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Interesting to read your thoughts.  I have just received my copy of WG's Memoirs of a Private Man and looking forward to reading it through.  Am in process of re-reading all the books again, isn't it amazing that each re-read gives the same pleasure and seems as fresh as the first time. 
Have just finished 'The Four Swans' and am extremely touched  by the way WG describes Ross's emotions on the Hugh/Demelza relationship at the end of the book.  Pretty sure that there must have been a substantial part of WG that went into Ross's character, wonder if he had ever had to face a similar situation during his life with Jean. 
Also feel that Jean must have had a strong influence on the emotive way he writes with such perception  when he describes Demelza's anguished despair at the way Ross betrayed their marriage with Elizabeth.  WG's writing shows such sensitive and instinctive ability to get under the very skin of the issue, dealing so intuitively with the thoughts and emotions of a woman devastated by the knowledge of her husband's adultery and the desperate realisation that her life and her dreams have been totally shattered. 
Interesting also to consider that Ross seems unable to accept that his behaviour towards Demelza in respect of Elizabeth invokes exactly the same feelings for Demelza as the emotions he is experiencing at the thought of her affair with HA!
WG has created such engagingly  true to life characters, dealing with their lives, loves, jealousies, happiness and pain in a realistically human way, which is why we can all identify with them so well.  Life is full of ups and downs, never predictable or perfect, gets very messed up and difficult at times, but if we're lucky we can rely on the constant happiness derived from a relationship that survives because love is at its heart through good times and bad.


-- Edited by namparagirl on Monday 6th of April 2009 11:33:39 AM

-- Edited by namparagirl on Monday 6th of April 2009 11:49:23 AM

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WG's Autobiography "Memoirs of a Private Man" & the possible influences on him
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[Transferred across from Poldark Experts Forum by Greg - off topic]

Definitely makes sense mainly because Demelza from all I've heard was based either quite closely or very closely on Jean his wife. Actually it's interesting as it's the first time I've ever thought about it, so I see no reason why one shouldn't try to follow this trail through all the books and see what turns up. So as a result of this perhaps your earlier point that it was not excusable, not forgiveable and not understandable was why WG didn't need or want to bother dwelling on it too long ?

Prior to his autobiography you more or less took the books as you found them, but since its publication, many people must find themselves trying to draw parallels from incidents in his life that might reflect any unanswered questions in his books. Not always easy but as I said earlier I've got a strong feeling that the Australian girl Catherine Parr he met in Paris before he married Jean, must have remained quite a strong influence on him for the rest of his life.

It's trying to find and reconcile all these possible influences on him that can sometimes get to be interesting ! Whilst he says nothing specifically in those two or three paragraphs, re-reading them again yesterday I still get the sense he was very disappointed nothing ever came of it. Personally speaking a pretty and strong minded girl selecting you with a beckoning finger must be quite a powerful experience for any guy ! Perhaps it's the trifling of one's feelings that gets to you when they've moved on to the next unfortunate ? I honestly don't know but I think that's what WG might perhaps have gone through and why perhaps he then went on to create such great strong minded women characters in Poldark as a result. Emma Tregirls, Margaret (Ross's evening out partner !) who finishes up as Lady so-and-so, even Bella, Harriet and of course for me Cuby above all, typify this well. So too perhaps it was with WG and Catherine Parr as well ? Whatever the reasons it's definitely one of the reasons why I like Poldark so much as there are so many characters you can really get involved with.

Having said all this to then return to the same old question of just how much WG was Ross and/ or Ross was WG ! With Elizabeth perhaps it might have been because she was the complete opposite to the Catherine Parr/ Harriet type and she didn't 'get' to WG/ Ross at all in the same way ? That he could easily put it down to the usual Ross/Joshua roving eye genes, especially at such a young age before leaving for America ?

Even though WG doesn't say it does make you wonder if perhaps his father might have been the same too !!

 


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I often wonder why WG never explained more fully, especially in later books, what actually happened that night. Apart from veiled references to the incident, he never described how long Ross stayed , what was said ?( i assume there was some conversation) and how Ross left ,was Elizabeth sleeping? , did they sleep? did he just get up and leave?? I realise this was probably deliberate so as to keep it within the readers imagination and  also to maintain that almost mythical love that they shared. I suppose that Demelza and Ross's love affair was real and true and believable because we were privy to their intimate moments but Elizabeths and Ross was not because we were never allowed to witness their time together ???   Does that make sense?

 


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True again and under different circumstances Ross most probably would have done just that. However at that particular moment Ross was now so full of primal hate towards George at having stolen his 'girl' (George gleefully predicting exactly this), that on top of so many piled up earlier insults and slights (Carnmore etc.) that it was the only wretched option left to him. In other words he had to hurt George in a way he would never ever forget. And by golly did he succeed what with Aunt Agatha's poisonous worms of suspicion on top. Yet he didn't come out of it unscathed at all as for ages afterwards he knew he had upset Demelza deeply and suffered as a consequence for it.

Perhaps he also still felt a lot of inner hurt and rejection too at the way Elizabeth had so casually and lightly tossed him aside for Francis to begin with, so I can understand WG's point of view well, though no-one could ever condone what finally happened. Obviously.

As you say WG was so perceptive towards both sexes....

 


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mcworster

 

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I have always loved the Poldark novels for the way the womens characters think. For a man, WG was very perceptive............. my only niggle would be the notorious culmination of Ross's love and desire for Elizabeth. Not excusable , not forgiveable and not understandable. I have always given Ross the benefit of assuming He would not have carried on if Elizabeth had continued to say no.



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RE: Dwight Keren & Caroline ?
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True. Having read his autobiography I've often wondered who WG identified with most in Poldark. The male side or the female ? I think someone once said he was a lady's man too...?

I also always remember an intriguing little story in his autobiography about a pretty Australian girl he fell for when on business in Paris before the war called Catherine Parr. Apparently not speaking French she simply smiled and pointed at whatever she wanted.  On their second day together "she smiled and pointed at me." She really reminds me of Cuby my top favourite female character !

 


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Maybe WG did not believe that people fall for the same type of person again and again. Even Ross loved both Demelza and Elizabeth and they were not alike at all.



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Bringing together two previously separate topics under the one dual heading - "WG's Autobiography "Memoirs of a Private Man" & the possible influences on him".



-- Edited by Ross Poldark on Thursday 9th of April 2009 03:01:26 PM

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