About "Mrs Johnson’s brownish 19th century literature book"
This was actually a homework I had to do for a literature seminar I took this semester. The seminar dealt with adventure novels at the turn of the 20th century, by famous authors such as Conrad, Stevenson and Conan Doyle, and how through this supposedly very minor genre, they tried to redefine realism.
Our professor thus asked us to write the parody of a realist novel (or at least, the beginning). I wrote a short story.
Concerning the plot, my memories about realist novels were quite old... But I kind of remembered the basic elements of Maupassant's realist short story Le collier ("The Necklace"), so I tried to imitate what I could remember about it.
The character of Sophie is kind of based upon me (and I really did wear the outfit from the first scene, so this actually is realistic...). Also, the first scene is based on what happened during one of the seminars. The professor really threw a piece of chalk at a girl on the front row as an illustration of Conrad's quote!
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