08 June 2011

Divided by a Common Language in Narnia

This is a detail from Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle’s Sketchbook page at the back of the last New York Times Book Review, headlined “Literature sue l’Herbe.” They asked different New Yorkers what they were reading in Central Park. The Lawsons were reading C. S. Lewis.

I had the same question that Matthew asks when I read about the Turkish delight in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And I’d never seen a wardrobe; here in America we don’t forget to build closets into houses. It’s amazing the book found any sort of American audience at all.


S.P. Maldonado said...

I think that is very common in America. I know when I've talked about the book with people, one of the first question they ask is what is turkish delight. I think the closest thing we have in America are jelly beans.

Chaucerian said...

Oh, how our traditions have slipped from us.

When I was a girl, I had an attic room under the eaves, with slanted ceilings, and I kept my clothes in a wardrobe. The wardrobe had a wooden frame and sides made of wood-printed cardboard, and there were two full-length doors which swung open from the center, a sturdy rod to support wire hangers, and a shelf above the rod, suitable for hats or extra blankets. It was purchased from Sears Roebuck and was a very important furnishing for an eight-year-old.

Persons wishing to taste Turkish Delight should Google "aplets and cotlets"; Liberty Orchards sells many varieties, traditional and contemporary. A box of Aplets and Cotlets under the tree was a family Christmas tradition at the same time in my life that I had a fine wardrobe.

Brigid said...

Turkish Delight is nasty. It tastes like lipstick. My grandmother (in Ireland) always kept a tin of it in her bedroom. It looked exotic and interesting but the taste—bleah.

My sister went back to Ireland a few years ago and returned with a bar of chocolate-covered Turkish delight. We all took a bite and said "Granny!" at the same time as we had the same Proustian-madeleine experience. Then we threw the rest of the bar away, because it still tasted terrible, even if it did remind us of happy childhood memories.