If you are new to the world of Ouida, then, take it from me, you should probably avoid starting with this one. Personally, I feel relieved that it turned out to be the 22nd novel in my somewhat arbitrary reading sequence as opposed to a chronological sequence which would have placed it as either 3rd or 4th on the list. Reading more than twenty Ouida novels prior to this one prepared me for the wild ride that I took when I read Chandos (1866).
You may disagree with my personal list of eight of Ouida’s best protagonists, but it shouldn’t be difficult to acknowledge that the list includes a wonderful cast of characters. Obviously, Nello is inspiring enough to be loved in many nations, and, as the number one hero on the list, I also consider him to be a truly inspirational figure. Folle Farine, a close second, with her unwavering devotion, her stoicism, and her boldness, is probably one of Ouida’s most compelling heroines. It was this character which made the novel of the same name my unsurpassed favorite work of fiction. Similarly, although the character Cigarette from Under Two Flags isn’t one of Ouida’s more principled heroines, her proud and eccentric personality has allowed her to be appreciated by readers for generations. Read the list for yourself and see whether you concur with my selection.
I’m pretty sure that the Americans were among the most dedicated of the Ouidaites, but it appears that there were contenders among the Australian fans as well. I found this poem in a December 2, 1907 issue of The Lone Hand, and I instantly fell in love with it. Founded by Jules François Archibald and Frank Fox, The Lone Hand was an Australian literary magazine which ran from 1907 to 1928. It is in the second volume of the 1907 issue where we find this delightful little poem dedicated to Ouida and her work. Timely, it was released just a little over a month before her death in January of 1908. The poem was submitted by an individual who identified his or herself simply with the initials “N.E.T.” Sadly, I wasn't unable to track down the name of this contributor. In the poem, readers mature along with Ouida’s corpus as they read through each stanza. The sequence allows readers to reminisce about the pleasant times they’ve had in experiencing Ouida’s wonderful novels. Without further delay, I would like to present the poem in full:
In certain circles of education and pedagogical theory, gamification seems to be all the rage right now. Well, I’m all for it. My own foray into gamifying my relationship to the literary world has taken the form of counterfactual biographical interactivity. Not surprisingly, I found a way to use the video game format to support my fanatical enthusiasm for all things Ouida.
When I first read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) to the accompaniment of happy hardcore techno music the entire way through, I thought that I had discovered a match made in heaven. Actually, the story goes back much further than that.
If you’re a serious fan of Ouida’s novels, then you probably agree that she created some of popular fiction’s most memorable characters. In many of her novels, it’s the villain who stands out from the rest of the cast. Here is a list of some of my personal picks for the best of her worst.
With much effort and eyestrain on the blogger, the following selection was transcribed from an unpublished essay written by Ouida on the subject of animal cruelty. The essay is largely a rebuttal to her friend Lady Paget’s impressions of the lives of domesticated animals in late nineteenth century Florence. Ouida is widely regarded as an important early voice for animal rights; in particular, she is often noted for her lifelong defense of the humane treatment of dogs. This excerpt clearly shows, however, that she was also concerned with the conditions for equines in their use as work animals:
Epic! Transcendent! Ethereal! Timeless! Pascarel is Ouida’s first three-decker (i.e. three volume novel) based entirely in Italy. It is also the first novel of “the Italian set” (Pascarel, Signa, Ariadne, A Village Commune, and In Maremma).
Time for the list of top ten Ouida moe. Just to recap, I have defined Ouida moe as “the quintessential elements that comprise the characters and the plots of Ouida’s fiction.” Here are my choices for the best examples:
I gladly embrace the term “Ouidaite” to describe myself as an American Ouida fan because I am faithfully Pro-Ouida. I firmly concur with many of her core literary and philosophical tenets including her aestheticism, her humanism, her humanitarianism, and many of her views on the preservation of cultural heritage sites, nature, and animal rights. I believe the origin of the term “Pro-Ouidaite” lies with its appearance in Elizabeth Lee’s Ouida: A Memoir (1914). The first of several biographies devoted to the author, in Lee’s account the label is first employed to describe the camp of individuals who retained their support for Ouida in Florence subsequent to the infamous controversy that erupted over the publication of the novel Friendship in 1878 as her roman à clef (Lee 94). Nevertheless, at present, I have adopted the term to situate my own fanaticism with Ouida and her works.