Hatter's Castle

Last updated

Hatter's Castle
Hatter'sCastleCover.jpg
First UK edition
Author A. J. Cronin
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Publisher Gollancz (UK)
Little, Brown (US)
Publication date
1931
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)
Pages637 pp. (UK hardback edition)
ISBN 0-450-03486-0

Hatter's Castle (1931) is the first novel of author A. J. Cronin. The story is set in 1879, in the fictional town of Levenford, on the Firth of Clyde. The plot revolves around many characters and has many subplots, all of which relate to the life of the hatter, James Brodie, whose narcissism and cruelty gradually destroy his family and life. The book was made into a successful film in 1942 starring Robert Newton, Deborah Kerr, and James Mason.

Contents

Characters

The main characters are James Brodie (the hatter and tyrannical patriarch of the Brodie family), Mary Brodie (James' elder daughter, also one of the central characters, appearing throughout the first and last section of the novel), Matthew Brodie (James' only son and oldest child in the family who also plays a significant role in the novel), Nessie Brodie (James' younger daughter and favourite, who remains one of the background characters until the end of the story), Mrs. Brodie (James' fragile wife who is never treated as anything more than a servant by her husband), Grandma Brodie (James' mother who lives with the Brodie family), Dennis Foyle (A young Irishman who has a relationship with Mary), Nancy (James' mistress) and Dr. Renwick (a character who becomes more involved in the Brodies' family life towards the end of the novel).

Plot summary

The book is in three sections.

Part 1

The novel begins with some insight into the life of the Brodie household, where James Brodie seems to have everyone under his thumb. The main event that triggers the events in the novel is Mary Brodie's relationship with her first love, Dennis. Early in the story, Mary, who has occasionally met Dennis at the library, is invited by him to go to the fair in the town. She sneaks out without her family's knowledge and not only goes to the fair, but later on that night kisses and eventually makes love to Dennis, which we later learn, results in pregnancy.

This event of her unwanted pregnancy is the main plot in the first third of the novel, titled "Section One". We realise that Mary is pregnant, and when she is six months pregnant she makes a plan with Dennis to elope. Even though Mary was only seventeen, there would have been no legal problem with her marriage since the English law which, until 1970, generally required people under twenty-one to have parental consent to marry, did not apply in Scotland. But three days before Dennis is due to whisk Mary away, there is a massive storm, and she begins to go into labour. Mrs. Brodie stumbles into Mary's room and begins to scream at the fact that her daughter is with child, and calls James himself to sort it out. After being kicked in the stomach repeatedly by her father and thrown out on her face into the pouring rain (whilst in labour), she tries to reach safety. Mary nearly drowns in a river before finding a barn where she gives birth to her premature child, which dies. Dennis, who was, travelling on a train to rescue Mary, is killed when the train derails and plunges into the River Tay below, a retelling of the actual Tay Bridge disaster of 1879.

Fallen Tay Bridge from the north Tay bridge down.JPG
Fallen Tay Bridge from the north

Part 2

In the second part of the book, James Brodie's business as a hatter is destroyed. A rival company moves next door and attracts all his customers. Part of this is due to Brodie's pride, as the customers are driven away by his delusions of superiority. As his profits decrease, so does the weekly salary, so Mamma is left to deal with making the most of what little they have left for the family. Her illness, cancer of the womb, and the chronic stress of living with James Brodie hasten her death. After her death, Brodie's mistress, Nancy, moves in. Later she goes off abroad with Brodie's son Matt, and Brodie is left with only his younger daughter, Nessie, and his aged mother, Grandma Brodie.

Part 3

In the third part of the book, Brodie forces Nessie to study hard so as to win the "Latta", a valuable bursarship. He wants this not so much to provide a good future for his daughter, as to show that she is better than his rival's son, who is also entered for it. Under his threats and the dreadful fear of failure, she labours on with it, making herself mentally and physically ill. Nessie secretly writes to Mary asking her to come back, so she will have her company and comfort. Under pretext of coming to help with housework, Mary writes to her father, who initially refuses her return. After discovering that Nancy has deserted him, he writes again permitting Mary to come back, so she does.

Nessie obtains notice of the Latta result before her father sees it. Finding that her rival has won it and fearing her father, she sends Mary out to the chemist on the pretext of getting some medicine, then dresses up and hangs herself.

The story concludes with Dr. Renwick, who has been seeing Mary, taking her away with him to marry her.

The novel in other countries

See also

Related Research Articles

Mitford family English aristocrats

The Mitford family is an aristocratic English family, whose principal line had its seats at Mitford, Northumberland. Several heads of the family served as High Sheriff of Northumberland. A junior line, with seats at Newton Park, Northumberland, and Exbury House, Hampshire, descends via the historian William Mitford (1744–1827) and were twice elevated to the British peerage, in 1802 and 1902, under the title Baron Redesdale.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nancy Mitford</span> English novelist, biographer and journalist

Nancy Freeman-Mitford, known as Nancy Mitford, was an English novelist, biographer, and journalist. The eldest of the Mitford sisters, she was regarded as one of the "bright young things" on the London social scene in the inter-war period. She wrote several novels about upper-class life in England and France, and is considered a sharp and often provocative wit. She also has a reputation as a writer of popular historical biographies.

Hatter (<i>Alices Adventures in Wonderland</i>) Fictional character in Alices Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Hatter is a fictional character in Lewis Carroll's 1865 book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass. He is very often referred to as the Mad Hatter, though this term was never used by Carroll. The phrase "mad as a hatter" pre-dates Carroll's works. The Hatter and the March Hare are referred to as "both mad" by the Cheshire Cat, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the sixth chapter titled "Pig and Pepper".

<i>The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie</i> (novel) Novel by Muriel Spark

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a novel by Muriel Spark, the best known of her works. It was first published in The New Yorker magazine and was published as a book by Macmillan in 1961. The character of Miss Jean Brodie brought Spark international fame and brought her into the first rank of contemporary Scottish literature. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie No. 76 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

<i>Desperation</i> (novel) 1996 novel by Stephen King

Desperation is a horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was published in 1996 at the same time as its "mirror" novel, The Regulators, itself published under King's Richard Bachman pseudonym. It was also made into a TV film starring Ron Perlman, Tom Skerritt and Steven Weber in 2006. The two novels represent parallel universes relative to one another, and most of the characters present in one novel's world also exist in the other novel's reality, albeit in different circumstances.

<i>Howls Moving Castle</i> 1986 fantasy book by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in 1986 by Greenwillow Books of New York. It was a runner-up for the annual Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and won the Phoenix Award twenty years later. It was adapted into a critically acclaimed 2004 animated film of the same name, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

<i>The Murder at the Vicarage</i> 1930 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage is a work of detective fiction by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October 1930 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence and the US edition at $2.00.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clan Brodie</span> Scottish clan

Clan Brodie is a Scottish clan whose origins are uncertain. The first known Brodie chiefs were the Thanes of Brodie and Dyke in Morayshire. The Brodies were present in several clan conflicts, and during the civil war were ardent covenanters. They resisted involvement in the Jacobite uprisings, and the chief's family later prospered under the British Empire in colonial India.

<i>The Looking Glass Wars</i> 2004 novel by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars is a series of three novels by Frank Beddor, heavily inspired by Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass. The basic premise is that the two books written by Lewis Carroll are a distortion of the 'true story'. It features twists and turns on the original story, such as the white rabbit really being Alyss's (Alice's) tutor, Bibwit Harte, and the Mad Hatter is really a very agile, somber bodyguard called Hatter Madigan.

<i>Castle in the Air</i> (novel) 1990 fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones

Castle in the Air is a young adult fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones and first published in 1990. The novel is a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle and is set in the same fantasy world, though it follows the adventures of Abdullah rather than Sophie Hatter. The plot is based on stories from the Arabian Nights. The book features many of the characters from Howl's Moving Castle as supporting characters, often under some sort of disguise.

<i>Hatters Castle</i> (film) 1942 film by Lance Comfort

Hatter's Castle is a 1942 British film noir based on the 1931 novel Hatter's Castle by A. J. Cronin, which dramatizes the ruin that befalls a Scottish hatter set on recapturing his imagined lost nobility. The film was made by Paramount British Pictures and stars Robert Newton, Deborah Kerr, James Mason, and Emlyn Williams. It is believed to be the only film that depicts the Tay Bridge disaster.

Joan Shakespeare was the sister of William Shakespeare. She is the only member of the family whose known descendants continue down to the present day.

<i>Frankenstein</i> 1818 novel by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821.

Elizabeth Lavenza Fictional character

Elizabeth Frankenstein is a fictional character first introduced in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In both the novel and its various film adaptations, she is the fiancée of Victor Frankenstein.

<i>One Good Turn</i> (novel)

One Good Turn is a 2006 crime novel by Kate Atkinson set in Edinburgh during the Festival. “People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a brutal road rage incident - an incident that changes the lives of everyone involved.” It is the second novel to feature former private investigator Jackson Brodie and is set two years after the earlier Case Histories.

"The Doctor" is the fifth episode of the second season of the American ABC fantasy/drama television series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 27th episode overall, which aired on October 28, 2012.

Puppy (<i>Alices Adventures in Wonderland</i>) Fictional character

The Puppy is a fictional character in Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He appears in the chapter "The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill".

<i>Alice Through the Looking Glass</i> (2016 film) 2016 film directed by James Bobin

Alice Through the Looking Glass is a 2016 American live-action/animated fantasy adventure film directed by James Bobin, written by Linda Woolverton and produced by Tim Burton, Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, and Jennifer Todd. It is based on the characters created by Lewis Carroll and is the sequel to the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland, a live-action reimagining of Disney's 1951 animated film of the same name. The film stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen and features the voices of Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor, Matt Vogel, Paul Whitehouse, and Alan Rickman. This also features Rickman, Windsor and Andrew Sachs in their final film roles prior to their deaths. In the film, a now 22-year-old Alice comes across a magical looking glass that takes her back to Wonderland, where she finds that the Mad Hatter is acting madder than usual and wants to discover the truth about his family. Alice then travels through time, comes across friends and enemies at different points of their lives, and embarks on a race to save the Hatter before time runs out.

<i>The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter</i> 2017 novel by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter is a 2017 novel by Theodora Goss. It is her debut novel, though she is an author of many short works. Strange Case is the first installment of The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, and is followed by European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman. The story follows Mary Jekyll, daughter of the literary character Dr. Jekyll, as she meets and connects with the fictional daughters of major literary characters, and works with and faces various famous 19th century literary personae, including Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Frankenstein's monster, and others to solve the mystery of a series of killings in London, as well as the mystery of her own family story. Drawing on classic gothic and horror creations of the 19th century, such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, Rappaccini's Daughter, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Dracula and the Sherlock Holmes stories, Goss reimagines the works of such literary greats as Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker and Nathaniel Hawthorne from a feminist perspective, as well as the historical record of the Jack the Ripper murders. At the center of the narrative is the connection and various experiences of the women who form the Athena Club, the oppressions they experience, and how they empower each other to accomplish great things.

<i>Have the Men Had Enough?</i>

Have The Men Had Enough? is a 1989 novel by English writer Margaret Forster about the dementia of octogenarian 'grandma', alternating between the perspectives of Jenny (daughter-in-law) and Hannah (granddaughter).