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Trivia Quiz for “The Pursuit of Love” by Nancy Mitford

Trivia Quiz for The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945)

For West Seattle “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club, 8/29/21

A. The Pursuit of Love and satire

1. Love and marriage. Some of the satire reveals the limitations of women’s lives in the 1920s and 1930s. Which of the following quips about women is not in the novel?

a. “X was an intensely dreary girl … who had failed so far to marry, and seemed to have no biological reason for existing.”

b. “Intelligent and energetic, but with no outlet for her energies, unhappy in her marriage, uninterested in her child, and inwardly oppressed with a sense of futility, she was in the mood either to take up some cause, or to embark upon a love affair.”

c. “No woman really minds hearing of the past affairs of her lover, it is the future alone that has the power to terrify.”

d. A male character says, “Starvation is good for women and beasts; it brings ‘em to heel.”

2. Politics and class. Arch comments on the English gentry run through The Pursuit of Love, though other classes, politics, and issues come under fire too. Which of the following quotes is not from the book?

a. “Uplifting the brother’s no easy job. I’m as busy as a cat with fleas, myself. Lord! How I hate sick people, and their stupid, meddling families, and smelly, dirty rooms, and climbing filthy steps in dark hallways.”

b. “That must be the great hold that hunting has over people, especially stupid people; it enforces an absolute concentration, both mental and physical.”

c. “I hate the lower classes … Ravening beasts, trying to get my money. Let them try, that’s all.”

d. “Left-wing people are always sad because they mind dreadfully about their causes, and the causes are always going so badly.”

B. The Characters

3. Which portraits of the narrator Fanny, and her cousin Linda, are not found in The Pursuit of Love?

a. “Her longing for love had become an obsession.”

b. “With my usual base habit of cowardice, I shrunk into my sloth, like a snail into its shell”

c. “As she had never in her life done so much as make her own bed, I could not imagine that Christian’s flat could be very tidy or comfortable if it was being run by her.”

d. “When I consider my life, day by day, hour by hour, it seems to be composed of a series of pinpricks.”

4. Linda’s character comes across strongly. Which of the following does not describe her?

a. “There was something furious about her, even when she laughed, which she did a great deal…. Something reminiscent of pictures of Napoleon in youth, a sort of scowling intensity.”

b. “She was a delicate, as well as a highly nervous child … too much crying kept her awake at night, put her off her food, and did her harm.”

c. Like her brothers and sisters, she could not stand boredom.

d. At age 20, she went to Oxford to study Law before becoming a journalist, then a spy.

5. Uncle Matthew: Terrifying or Threadbare? Which of the following pass-times is not enjoyed by Uncle Matthew?

a. hunting his children

b. hating his enemies, other people’s children, and foreigners

c. cracking whips at dawn “with a noise greater than gun-fire”

d. studying ancient languages

6. The Bolter. Fanny paints a portrait of her absent mother as one who leads a life where wicked things are known and rules are flouted. Which of the following mysteries does she not know about?

a. abortion                  

b. Continental travel              

c. style   

d. the Masonic pledge and rituals

C. Romance amid the War and Daily Violence

7. Although hunting kills animals daily, brothers fight in wars, and bombs fall on London, there is relatively little sadness in this book. Which of the following is not from The Pursuit of Love?

a. “He rescued the hare, waded out again, his fine white breeches covered with green muck, and put it, wet and gasping, into Linda’s lap. It was the one romantic gesture of his life.”

b. “Love becomes greater and nobler in calamity.”

c. “When she thought about the war it seemed to her almost a relief that it had actually begun, in so far as a beginning is the first step towards an end.”

d. “Nobody is killed in air-raids, there is a great deal of noise and a great deal of mess, but people really don’t seem to get killed much.”

D. Snappy Style. Match the quote to the character it describes. The characters include: a. Lord John Fort William; b. Moira Kroesig; c. Uncle Matthew

8. “I have only read one book in my life, and that is White Fang. It’s so frightfully good I’ve never bothered to read another.”

9. “To think I ruined nine months of my life in order to have that.”

10. “Poor old thing, I suppose she likes him, but, I must say, if he was one’s dog one would have him put down.”

ANSWERS

1. d. That quote is from Daphne du Maurier, Jamaica Inn.

2. a. That quote is from Nella Larsen, Passing.

3. b. That quote is from Villette by Charlotte Brontë.

4. d. Linda did not study law, go to Oxford, nor pursue any profession.

5. d. Uncle Matthew, as we know from no. 8 below, only ever read one book: White Fang by Jack London.

6. d.

7. b. That quote is from Love in the Time of Cholera.

8. c. Uncle Matthew

9. b. Moira Kroesig

10. a. Lord John Fort William (Louisa’s husband)

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