Back in olden times – before the internet was a deeply entrenched part of our culture, and we weren’t all technologically savvy – if you wanted to do a stalking you had to rely on your own wits. Our poor ancestors couldn’t just do a sneaky stalk of someones Facebook wall, they needed to put in the man-hours to gain valuable intel.
This is quite noticeable in older literature. Here are some examples from classics that are about as subtle as a brick to the face.
The Great Gatsby (Scott Fitzgerald, 1925)
I like to think that there was one Gatsby party that was so excruciatingly shit and awkward that it didn’t make it into the novel. One that wasn’t exactly off the chain, and everyone was in bed by 8.30. I’ll level with you, I only made it up to page 52 of The Great Gatsby, then I lost interest. For all I know the rest of the book could’ve just been 100 pages detailing this one crap party Jay held.
Anyway, if this novel has taught us nothing else, its that if you’re trying to win back your former lover, she’ll be nothing but massively impressed if you buy the house directly across from her and throw loud parties every single night.
Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1985)
In this book Florentino shows his lady-love that smooth is his middle name by cracking onto her at her husbands funeral. Dude! I know you’ve been waiting a really long time for her to be back on the market but maybe pick a better time.
Of Human Bondage (W. Somerset Maugham, 1915)
Look there’s no denying that in this book Mildred is a piece of human shit, BUT in fairness she did repeatedly say to the main character Phillip that she wasn’t interested. She even made a point of telling him more than once that she didn’t like having to kiss him. This doesn’t deter Phillip though, he knows that he can’t change her mind but he still can’t let go of hope.
This is actually a pretty good book, but you do feel quite drained reading about these futile feelings Phillip holds. I just wish I could give him a hug and say please just let her go.
Perfume Story of a Murderer (Patrick Suskind, 1985)
This is a pretty odd book. I think the moral of the story was virgins smell fantastic. Anyway, I’m over-simplifying the plot here, but majority of Perfume is Jean Baptiste Grenouille lurking around French markets then secretly following around women who happen to have a nice natural scent. He’s a bit of a wrongin – there were also some un-dealt with mummy issues.
Rebecca (Daphne de Maurier, 1938)
Rebecca is about an unnamed protagonist who marries a older man, Maxim. When Maxim takes her back to his giant house (called Manderley), she is haunted by constant reminders of his deceased first wife Rebecca. Specifically, the housekeeper – Mrs Danvers, is not particularly impressed that Maxim has remarried, and throughout the book gets increasingly more passive-aggressive towards the main character. Its very much a book of its time, in that the main character could’ve just told Mrs Danvers to fuck off if she wasn’t bound by very British conventions of social etiquette.
Anyway, Mrs Danvers doesn’t teach you how to do a stalking, but she’s filled with diamond tips on how to do an obsession. She loathes Maxims new wife only because she adored Rebecca so much; and the house is kept precisely as Rebecca had it not because Maxim likes it that way, but because Mrs Danvers wants it preserved.