The Last Tuesday Society's two day Halloween mask ball will launch A Curious Invitation by Suzette Fields. Contents: the forty greatest parties in literature.
How fun would it be to sneak into a novel right when the party starts, to leave after a few pages and enter another one, and then another, and another one more. I suppose we could at least try a few, starting from some Classics… shall we?
|Still from Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby (2013)|
"In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."
The Twenties were pretty much about partying: Charleston, embedded dress, no financial crash on sight and Prohibition Laws, which just made drinking even more fun. Gatsby embraces all of this by throwing all night long parties in his luxurious villa. I honestly think this is what makes the book: who the hell cares about the fact that he did all of this to get close to his beloved Daisy, that she doesn’t leave her cheating husband and that he dies more or less as a consequence of protecting her? Nobody really, but we all remember the champagne, the tux and the Rolls-Royce as if we were there.
The Master and Margarita by Mihail Bulgakov
“ 'Dostoevsky's dead,' said the citizeness, but somehow not very confidently.
'I protest!' Behemoth exclaimed hotly. 'Dostoevsky is immortal!’ ”
The most fascinating host in the history of literature is the Devil, here disguised as Professor Woland; which counts as a costume and makes him even cooler. The guests are all deceased sinners, they don’t show up before midnight and the orchestra is directed by Strauss. What is very very wicked is the fact that this scene was inspired by a real Spring Festival held at the residence of the US Ambassador in Moscow. Literally a hell of a party.
|Illustration by Lynn Hatzius|
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thakeray
"I have heard from ladies who were in the town at the period, that the talk and interest of persons of their own sex regarding the ball was much greater even than in respect of the enemy in their front."
What should you do if you live in Brussels and it is the eve of the battle of Waterloo? Get wasted and dance! This is what the Duchess of Richmond thought, and Thackeray can’t but tailoring this to the story of socialite Becky Sharp. Too bad the party was crashed by news of battle.
Macbeth by Shakespeare
“Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, Showed like a rebel's whore.”
It could be written a whole article only mentioning parties in Shakespeare. It is quite logic, since he wrote more than the average person could possibly read in a lifetime. My all times Shakespeare’s favourite is Macbeth and I’d like to call this episode ‘dinner with the murderer’. What is worse than an uninvited guest? A dead uninvited guest, whose assassination you ordered. So when Macbeth joins the banquet, he finds sitting at his place Banquo’s ghost. The play also constitutes the first written record of the word ‘assassination’ in the English language. The devil’s in the detail.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
“It’s always tea time!”
Madness, a nice hat and nonsense conversations: the Mad Tea Party is the party. Timeless is the best of times.