The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

The Enchanted August: Finding vacation enchantment in a displaced world

In Friday’s Classic Displaced Writing post, featuring David Foster Wallace’s essay about a trip on a Caribbean cruiseliner, Anthony Windram gracefully led us into this month’s vacation theme of “The Enchanted August.”

Our August theme is inspired by The Enchanted April, the 1922 book by Elizabeth von Arnim, in which four women, strangers to one another and variously dissatisfied with their lives in post-World War One London, spend four weeks together in an Italian castle. Distanced from their usual habitats and placed in magical surroundings, they each gradually become the person they would aspire to be, rather than the armor that time and circumstance has created.

Now obviously we can’t all spend the summer in a Tuscan castle to cast off our external personae and discover our inner selves, and perhaps that is just as well: if we base our expectations upon the glowing results in The Enchanted April, our hopes are likely to be dashed.

Realizing this, the TDN team this month will be helping our readers to find other, smaller ways to rediscover the person inside — the inner enchantment — rather than the exterior of a person now defined by a displaced lifestyle.

We will look at less exotic sources of enchantment to be found in less idyllic vacation situations — a stay-cation at home, for example, or (as often constitutes a holiday when you’re a displaced person) a lengthy visit with relatives.

We will also practice what we preach this month, and take a break ourselves: August will feature shorter posts as well as a few reissues of some popular early posts which newcomers to the site may have missed, along with a few posts summarizing what we’ve done with the site so far, soliciting your feedback.

So enjoy the sunshine or snow! Wherever you are this August, we hope you have an Enchanted one, and feel a little of the joy that Lotty Wilkins, heroine of The Enchanted April (and now of TDN’s Enchanted August), feels on her vacation:

“…this was the simple happiness of complete harmony with her surroundings, the happiness that asks for nothing, that just accepts, just breathes, just is.”

“The Enchanted April” is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc. The 1992 movie of the same name, starring Miranda Richardson and Josie Lawrence, is available on DVD.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s Classic Displaced Writing post on Elizabeth von Arnim.

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4 responses to “The Enchanted August: Finding vacation enchantment in a displaced world

  1. Jack Scott August 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Liam and I will be embarking on our summer tour of Blighty to see family and friends and to get away from the wilting heat of sizzling Bodrum. This will be followed by a few days in Bordeaux celebrating an old friend’s half century. Enjoy your break.

  2. Kate Allison August 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I could be persuaded to give the few days in Bordeaux a try! Have a wonderful summer, both of you!

  3. Awindram August 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    How does the book compare to the film? I saw it as a young teen shortly after it came out, but it’s something that I’ve mostly forgotten.

    • Kate Allison August 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Have only read the book – I don’t know why, because the film seems to be on all the time on HBO – but comparing book and IMDB info, the casting, at least, seems to be spot on.

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