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24 January 2009 @ 11:04 am
which means  
Oh god, I have to go back to school tomorrow. I don't wanna!



Alive in Necropolis, by Doug Dorst:
Okay, the flip side of my demanding nature as a reader: since I’m so hung up on things being good, I tend to ascribe a certain amount of this preoccupation to everyone who writes. So I am fairly charitable when I go into action-adventure stories, in that I don’t just dismiss them right off generally; I do look for themes and all because I assume that everyone is at least trying to write the next great novel, even if they fail miserably. The problem is that sometimes this just trips me up because, no really, people can just write to entertain. And I do not know when this is happening. Like, at all. I suck at telling that.

And for this book? Yeah, I have no frekking clue. I do not know if this was high literature with ghosts in as a metaphor for something (I still don’t know what) or if it was just mainstream stuff that happened to have very honest interpersonal relationships going on.

In retrospect, I am coming down on the side of mainstream-that-was-trying. It wasn’t supposed to be in Tolstoy’s league, but it wanted to get something done. I think. And I really did like it most of the time; it was refreshingly honest for a Manly Horror Story.

But at the end of the day, it pretty much stayed in mainstream time, and it was a deeply Manly story; got some deconstruction done over heroism, but not much over manliness in general. And the women annoyed the freck out of me. I hypothesize that Dorst has some issues with rejection. And oh my god, if I read one more book/watch one more movie where being with someone with whom you do not share a true and deep love that goes beyond all mortal ken and also you might not totally want to tear their clothes off every time you see them means that you’re a total pushover and Just Settling and should break up with whomever you're with for EXCITEMENT and ADVENTURE because you’re being HELD BACK… I am going to scream. What is it with this midlife-crisis attitude in literature? Grow up. And of course I don’t think people should stay with people who make them unhappy, or towards whom they are entirely apathetic, but just because your heart doesn’t swell along with your nethers every time they enter a room… this is not a shortcut to show us that your character is weak-willed and needs to Take a Stand. It's a shortcut to show us that your character does not think that they are sixteen.

So Necropolis was a puzzler for me. I don’t know.

Also, there is the entirely awesome more-dead-than-alive-in-the-city thing, and… it didn’t really seem like he did much with this entirely awesome setting other than “you need to take risks to live a full life”, which, thanks, we got the memo the last seven hundred trite times we were told. And having the odd historical figure, which was deeply fun, I’ll give you - Emperor Norton for every kind of win.

I don’t know. Maybe the coming-of-age aspect annoyed me too much to let me appreciate it. There was good writing, there were good characters… the supernatural aspect was a bit off-putting; it’s the only reason I read it, but then it didn’t seem to fit entirely well. It wasn’t… integrated properly. And it was very cool, the fingertips-man was seven kinds of creepy and telling pretty much all of that aspect through twisted police logs/diary entries was a cool idea, but it was like… he could have just left it all out, used a human criminal, and told the exact same story. But maybe I just missed a grand metaphor. Blargh, now I’m frustrated.

AND NOW THIS BOOK IS IN THE LIT SECTION OF BORDERS. I DON'T KNOW. ADI SMASH!

Finally: I give unto you The MasterList: Teh Classiks Edition. Anything to do with poetry is very iffy; I've probably just crossed off the author and a few poems to make myself feel good but plan on going back and putting in some Collected Works later. Well. Here we go. In my defense, I have read quite a few classics. Just, they're not on the list because the list was started in order to get me back on the reading of classics.

The Brothers Karamazov
The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
The Complete Works of Shakespeare
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Tale of Genji
Remembrance of Things Past (trans Kilmartin and Moncrieff)
The Diary of Murasaki Shikibu
The Diary of Izumi Shikibu
The Diary of Masahiro
The Tale of the Heike
Emily Dickinson: The Collected Poems
Vanity Fair
Carmilla
Frankenstein
The Art of War
The Prince
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Ulysses


Rainer Maria Rilke (German)
Ideally:
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
The Book of Hours
New Poems, First and Second Series
Duino Elegies
Sonnets to Orpheus

English Editions:
Sonnets to Orpheus, Herder-Norton
The Essential Rilke, Kinnell, Galway, and Hannah Leibmann
The Duino Elegies, Leishman and Spender
Selected Poems, MacIntyre
The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, Mitchell
Uncollected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, Snow

Crit:
A Different Poem, Jarrell, Lowell, and Bly
Rainer Maria Rilke: Masks and Man, Peters
Engendering Inspiration, Sword

Thomas Mann (German)
Ideally:
Joseph and His Brothers (cycle of four)
Doctor Faustus
The Magic Mountains
Death in Venice etc.

English:
Death in Venice and Other Stories, Luke

Death in Venice: A New Translation, Backgrounds and Contexts, Koelb

Crit:
Thomas Mann, Bloom
Critical Essays on Thomas Mann, Ezergailis
Thomas Mann: A Collection of Critical Essays, Hatfield
Thomas Mann: Uses of Tradition, Reed

Franz Kafka (German)
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces trans Willa and Edwin Muir

Crit:
Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Bloom
End of a Mission, Fickert
Kafka: A Collection of Critical Essays, Gray

Tanizaki Junichiro (Japanese)
Ideally:
“The Tattoer”
A Fool’s Love
Some Prefer Nettles
“A Blind Man’s Tale”
“A Portrait of Shunkin”
“In Praise of Shadows”
The Makioka Sisters
“Aguri”

Further Research:
The Secret Window, Chambers
Visions of Desire, Ito
Dawn to the West, Keene
The Moon in the Water, Peterson
Three Modern Novelists, Van Gessel

T. S. Eliot
“The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock”
“The Waste Land”

“Ash Wednesday”
“Four Quartets”
The Cocktail Party

Crit:
Quantum Poetics, Albright
T. S. Eliot: The Modernist in History, Bush
T. S. Eliot, Cattaui
Storm over The Waste Land, Knoll
The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot, Moody
Men and Woman in T. S. Eliot’s Early Poetry, Palmer
The Waste Land, Smith

Georg Trakl (German)
“Eastern Front”
“Grodek”


Bertolt Brecht (German)
“When Evil-Doing Comes like Falling Rain”


William Butler Yeats:
“Sailing to Byzantium”
“The Circus Animals’ Desertion”


Tamura Ryuichi (Japanese)
Samuel Grolmes and Tsumura Yumiko have the most complete collection of his works in English out.

Federico Garcia Lorca (Spanish)

Ideally:
Gypsy Ballads
Poet in New York City
Impressions and Landscapes
Book of Poems
Songs
(trans Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili where possible)
Blood Wedding[s]
Yerma
The House of Bernardo Alba
“Lament for Inacio Sanchez Mejias”

Crit:
Garcia Lorca, Adams
Lorca’s Late Poetry, Anderson
Son of Andalusia, Morris
Concordance of Plays and Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca, Pollin and Smith
Lorca’s New York Poetry, Predmore
Lorca: A Dream of a Life, Stainton

Tawfiq al-Hakim (Arabic)
(Maze of Justice
Boss Kudrez’s Building
Shahrazad)
see that you get those three
Plays, Prefaces, Postscripts of Tawfiq al-Hakim
(trans Hutchins)
The Fate of a Cockroach and Other Plays
and
The Three Climber
(trans Denys Johnson-Davies)

Crit:
Critical Perspectives of Tawfiq al-Hakim, Hutchins
Tawfiq al-Hakim, Playwright of Egypt, Long
From the Ivory Tower, Starkey

Kawabata Yasunari (Japanese)
Snow Country
The Master of Go
Diary of a Sixteen-Year-Old
Of Birds and Beasts
The Izu Dancer
Thousand Cranes
House of Sleeping Beauties
Beauty and Sadness
“The Moon on the Water”
“Snow”


Crit:
Dawn to the West, Keene
Accomplices of Silence, Miyoshi
The Moon in the Water, Peterson
Reading against Culture, Pollack
Modern Japanese Fiction and Its Traditions, Rimer

Oe Kenzaburo (Japanese)
A Personal Matter
Hiroshima Notes
Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness
My Deluged Soul
Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age
Letters to My Sweet Bygone Years
Wonders of the Forest

Naguib Mahfouz (Arabic)
The Whisper of Madness
Palace Walk (1)
Palace of Desire (2)
Sugar Street (3)
Children of Gebekawi/Children of the Alley
The Thief and the Dogs
Arabian Nights and Days

Crit:
Naguib Mahfouz: The Pursuit of Meaning, El-Enany
Naguib Mahfouz’s Egypt, Gordon
Perspectives on Naguib Mahfouz, Le Gassick
Studies in the Short Fiction of Mahfouz and Idris, Mikhail

The Arabic Novel, Allen

Abe Kobo (Japanese)
The Woman in the Dunes
The Road Sign at the End of the Road
The Face of Another
The Ruined Map
Friends

Crit:
Crisis in Identity and Contemporary Japanese Novels, Kimball
Modern Japanese Fiction and Its Traditions, Rimer
Fake Fish, Shields
Approaches to the Modern Japanese Novel, Tsuruta
The Search for Authenticity in Modern Japanese Literature, Yamanouchi

Carlos Fuentes (Spanish)
The Death of Artemio Cruz
Terra Nostra
The Masked Days
Songs of the Blind
Constancia and Other Stories for Virgins
Distant Relations

Crit:
Carlos Fuentes, a Critical View, Brody and Rossmann
Carlos Fuentes, Mexico and Modernity, Delden
The Archetypes of Carlos Fuentes, Duran
Carlos Fuentes, Faris
Carlos Fuentes, Guzman
The Postmodern Fuentes, Helmuth
The Writings of Carlos Fuentes, Williams

The Labyrinth of Solitude, Paz

Takenishi Hiroko (Japanese)
“The Rite”
A Theory on the Tales of Genji
Barracks

Alifa Rifaat (Arabic)
Distant View of a Minaret trans Denys Johnson-Davies

Sandra Cisneros (Spanish)
The House on Mango Street
Loose Woman
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories
My Wicked Wicked Ways

Jimmy Santiago Baca (Spanish)
A Place to Stand
Martin and Meditations on the South Valley
Black Mesa Poems
Immigrants in Our Own Land
Healing Earthquakes
C-Train
13 Mexicans
Working in the Dark

Naomi Shihab Nye (Arabic)
Fuel
Red Suitcase
Hugging the Jukebox

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German)
Faust (trans Charles E. Passage)
The Sorrows of Young Werther
Hermann and Dorothea
The Natural Daughter
Wilhelm Mesiter’s Apprenticeship
Divan of the East and West
Chinese-German Hours and Seasons

Crit:
Faust, Arndt and Hamlin
Goethe’s Faust: A Literary Analysis, Atkins
Theater of the World, Brown
Goethe’s Faust: The German Tragedy, Brown

Lord Byron
“Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

Inazo Nitobe (Japanese)
Bushido: The Soul of Japan

Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

John Keats
“Ode to a Grecian Urn”


E. T. A. Hoffmann (German)
The Serapion Brotherhood (trans E. F. Bleiler if possible)
“The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice”
The Devil’s Elixir
Tomcat Murr’s Opinions on Life, Together with a Fragmentary Biography of Kapellmeister Johann Kreisler

Crit etc.
The Grotesque in Art and Literature, Kayser
Mysticism and Sexuality: ETA Hoffmann, McGlathery

Heinrich Heine (German)
Book of Songs
“French Affairs”
“The Romantic School”
“Concerning the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany”
“Germany—A Winter’s Tale”
“Atta Troll: A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
New Poems
Romanzero
Poems 1853 and 1854
(trans where possible by:
P. G. L. Webb
Louis Untermeyer
Felix Pollack
Aaron Kramer
Ernst Feise)

Syed Ahmed Khan (Arabic)
“The Qur’an and Science”


Charles Baudelaire
Flowers of Evil
(esp. “The Voyage”)
Paris Spleen
(trans:
Stanley Kunitz
Richard Wilbur
Dorothy Martin
Doreen Bell
Richard Howard
Kenneth O. Hanson
Sir John Squire
Kate Flores
Barbara Gibbs
Louis Varese

Crit:
Charles Baudelaire, Bloom
Baudelaire and Intertextuality, Evans
Charles Baudelaire Revisited, Hyslop
Baudelaire: A Collection of Critical Essays, Peyre
The Crisis of French Symbolism, Porter

Henrik Ibsen (German)
A Doll’s House
Hedda Gabler
An Enemy of the People
The Lady from the Sea
The Master Builder
Ghosts
Brand Peer Gynt
The Pillars of Society
When We Dead Awaken

Crit:
An Ibsen Companion, Bryan
Ibsen: The Intellectual Background, Downs
A Study of Six Plays by Ibsen, Downs
The Ibsen Cycle, Johnston
The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen, McFarlane
The Quintessence of Ibsen, Shaw
Ibsen’s Women, Templeton
Henrik Ibsen, Thomas
A Doll’s House: Isben’s Myth of Transformation, Durbach
Readings on A Doll’s House, Mitchell

Lord Tennyson
“In Memoriam”

Hirata Atsutane (Japanese)
Hirata Atsutane Zenshu

Emilio Pardo Bazan (Spanish)
The Woman Orator
The House of Ulloa (trans O’Prey and Graves)
Mother Nature
Black Siren
(make sure to get:)
“The Revolver”
“The Oldest Story”

“March Hare”
“The White Horse” and Other Stories (trans Fedorchek)
“Torn Lace” and Other Stories (trans Urruela and Tolliver)

Crit:
Emilia Pardo Bazan, Pattison

Muhammad Iqbal (Arabic)
Poems of Iqbal (trans V. G. Kiernan)

Benito Perez Galdos (Spanish)
Marianela
Fortunate y Jacinta

Episodios Nacionales:
(First Series)
Trafalgar
La Corte de Carlos IV (The Court of Charles IV)
El 19 de marzo y el 2 de mayo (The 19th of March and the 2nd of May)
Bailén
Napoleón en Chamartín (Napoleon at Chamartin)
Zaragoza
Cádiz
Juan Martín el Empecinado (Juan Martín the Undaunted)
La Batalla de los Arapiles (The Battle of the Arapiles)
(Second Series)
El equipaje del rey José (The Baggage of King Jose)
Memorias de un cortesano de 1815 (Memories of a Courtesan of 1815)
La segunda casaca (The Second Turncoat)
El Grande Oriente (The Grande Oriente)
El 7 de julio (The 7th of July)
Los Cien Mil Hijos de San Luis (The 100,000 sons of San Luis)
El terror de 1824 (The Terror of 1824)
Un voluntario realista (A Realistic Volunteer)
Los Apostólicos (The Apostles)
Un faccioso más y algunos frailes menos (One More Rebel and a Few Less Friars)
(Third Series)
Zumalacárregui
Mendizábal
De Oñate a la Granja (From Oñate to Granja)
Luchana
La campaña del Maestrazgo (The Campaign of Maestrazco)
La estafeta romántica (The Romantic Courier)
Vergara
Montes de Oca (The Mountains of Oca)
Los Ayacuchos (The Ayacuchans)
Bodas Reales (Royal Weddings)
(Fourth Series)
Las tormentas del 48 (The Storms of 48)
Narváez
Los duendes de la camarilla (The Demons of the Entourage)
La Revolución de Julio (The July Revolution)
O'Donnell
Aita Tettauen
Carlos V en la Rápìta (Carlos V in Rápìta)
La vuelta al mundo en la Numancia (Return to the World in Numancia)
Prim
La de los tristes destinos (She of the Sad Destinies)
(Fifth Series)
España sin rey (Spain Without a King)
España trágica (Tragic Spain)
Amadeo I
La primera República (The First Republic)
De Cartago a Sagunto (From Carthage to Sagunto)
Cánovas
Sagasta (draft)

Rai Sanyo (Japanese)
find stuff; he’s supposed to be the greatest Japanese poet to write in Chinese

Kobayashi Issa (Japanese)
A Year in My Life

Higuchi Ichiyo (Japanese)
Growing Up (trans Edward Seidensticker)
Nigorie
“The Thirteenth Night”
“Flowers at Dusk”
poetry
diary

Takizawa Bakin (Japanese)
Love Is Made in Heaven
Crescent Moon
Eight Dogs

Mori Ogai (Japanese)
“The Dancing Girl”
Doitsu nikki (diary of his years in Germany)
“A Record of Froth on the Water”
“The Courier”
“As If”
Shibue Chusai

Hans Veihinger (German)
Philosophy of As If

Sei Shonagon (Japanese)
The Pillow Book

Alexander Pope
The Rape of the Lock
An Essay on Man

Crit:
A Contradiction Still, Knellwolf
Introduction to Pope, Rogers
Twentieth-Century Interpretations of The Rape of the Lock, Rousseau
The Rape of the Text, Solomon

Ihara Saikaku (Japanese)
The Life of an Amorous Man
Five Women Who Loved Love
Saikaku’s Tales of the Provinces
The Great Mirror of Manly Love
Tales of Samurai Duty
The Japanese Family Storehouse
Reckonings that Men Carry through the World

Crit:
The Floating World in Japanese Fiction, Hibbett
World within Walls, Keene

Matsuo Basho (Japanese)
The Narrow Road through the Backcountry
The Seashell Game
The Record of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton
The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel
A Visit to Sarashina Village
(Donald Keene
Harold G. Henderson
Richard Bodner,
Earl Miner
R.H. Blyth
trans where possible)

Crit:
A History of Japanese Literature, Kato
Anthology of Japanese Literature, Keene
Monkey’s Raincoat, Cana
Japanese Poetic Diaries, Miner
The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, Yuasa

Chikamatsu Monzaemon (Japanese)
The Soga Heir
Kagekiyo Victorious
The Seventh Anniversary of Yugiri’s Death
The Love Suicides at Sonezaki
The Battles of Coxinga
The Uprooted Pine
The Love Suicides at Amijima
(trans Donald Keene where possible)

Crit:
Voices and Hands of Bunraku, Adachi
Bunraku, the Art of the Japanese Puppet Theater, Keene
Circles of Fantasy, Gerstle
Introduction to Major Plays of Chikamatsu, Keene
The Love Suicides at Amijima, Shively

Kaibara Ekken (Japanese)
Precepts for Daily Life in Japan
Precepts for Children
Greater Learning for Women (trans Basil Earl Chamerlain)

Molière
Tartuffe
The Hypochondriac
Don Juan
School for Wives
(Richard Wilbur trans where possible)

Crit:
Men and Masks, Gossman
Molière and the Company of Intellect, Hubert
Molière: The Comic Mask, Lewis
Molière, Mander

Mirza Abu Taleb Khan (Indian)
The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan
(trans Charles Stewart)

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
The Turkish Letters

Rousseau
Discourse on Origin of Inequality
The Social Contract

Emile

Mary Astell
A Serious Proposal to the Ladies
Some Reflections upon Marriage
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( 78 comments — dance )
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 24th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
Be careful with Ulysses, my friend. James Joyce is James Joyce, but he can be obtuse as six inch steel-plated tinted glass. Don't try Finnegan's Wake unless you're ready for an extremely aggravating and frustrating read, on that note. It's not on here, and I don't recommend you add it in. Have you read all of Salinger's works?
RoTyNDrotynd on January 25th, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
Nooo, not at all. I read Franny and Zooey, but I was too young to appreciate it, and it rather put me off him. Why, d'you recommend a reevaluation? I probably won't get to him otherwise, just because he wasn't in my World Lit textbook.

As for Joyce, well, see, I am one of those people who will happily plod through extreme nonsensicalness, content in the knowledge that since I don't get it, it must be Good. Still, since he's not from one of my Relevant Cultures, I don't need FW.
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 25th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
I recommend Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour (An Introduction) with all of my heart. He's most known for Catcher in the Rye, but to get a feel for him as a person and an author, the one I just mentioned (which is actually just two short stories, much like Franny and Zooey) is incredible, and fun to read.

I would take Salinger over Joyce any day of the week. Joyce is known for his distinctively awful, obtuse style more than his ideas themselves, and Salinger for his ideas AND his fluid, lovingly easy writing. Plus? Salinger made me laugh ("She really was quite matter-of-fact. She just said that he was a latent homosexual who was afraid of commitment, and a schizoid personality, that's all! She wasn't nasty about it, or anything."), and that's more than Joyce ever did.

Honestly, I think Joyce is a bit of a gimmicky writer, and insane on top of that. I've read several biographies on him, but more than that I've read his work, and it's clearly the product of a psychotic mind. Worse, he very famously treated every last person in his life like complete and utter shit, and went on to treat millions of readers the exact same way. If he was anything, it was an idiot savant.

And, because I've written it all out, here's a rant for you: I don't mean to tread on your toes or anything, but I've never subscribed to the idea that "If you don't understand it It Is Good." If you don't understand it, either the author was insane enough to think you would understand it, the author is a product of a different culture (in which case all efforts should be made to understand it), or the author is a jackass who enjoys the idea of people struggling through his work, and so layers things to the point that the average and above-average reader throws up his or her hands in disgust.

Joyce is of the final denomination. And that's coming from me, who first read Henry James's 1,400 page analysis of the French and European Writers when I was fifteen, and enjoyed every second of it. I'm no stranger to puzzling out interior meanings, or plodding through points where things get bizarre; I like e.e. cummings enough to think that grammar, spelling, and the traditional-verse-colloquial meanings of words should be messed with, and I like Tolstoy enough that length and wordiness don't turn me off; but Joyce rubs me all the wrong ways, on just about every front.

Of course, that's one seventeen-year-old girl's conviction. Dissertation after dissertation has been written about Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. Though I have to say, I've always wanted to ask the people who write them one question: did you really enjoy reading it? Not for the academic value, did you enjoy reading it?

Ulysses is, to temper my raving lunacy, not anywhere near as bad as Finnegan's Wake, which to this day I think someone played a joke on the world by saying they finished reading and then BSing what the ending was, because how anyone could have gone through that whole thing and understood more than an eighteenth of it is beyond me. I don't even know how he could have written it, no matter how schizophrenic he was (and I don't say that lightly, I'm almost positive he was a high-functioning schizophrenic. The fact that his daughter became psychotic at the age of about seventeen seems to buoy that idea), let alone how someone could've read it.

So, yes. Salinger is love, Joyce is not, at least in my book. <3
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Oh, don't worry about my toes. Mine is not a popular mindset in my generation, so my toes are fairly iron-clad on this topic. My thing with Real Art is Incomprehensible is firmly rooted in the fact that I am an obedient person who does not like to make waves and a mindless drone and if the people who study literature deem someone/something good, then I tend to agree with them.

And then, there's... well, the "did you enjoy reading it" thing. Which I don't... it isn't really an issue for me, I guess is the thing. I mean, reading Nietzsche wasn't a walk in the park, but I feel that it made me think and that I took myself away a fuller person, and that makes it enjoyable to me, just on a different level. Of course, there are your Terry Pratchetts, who can make something truth-telling and philosophy-having and as fun as all heck to read, but that's a different thing. Plus, enjoyable - well, people are so odd as to what is enjoyable. I mean, plenty of people would hate reading that Henry James thing, but you loved it. I'm sure there are people who got a whoot and a half out of Finnegans Wake.

I'm still wrestling with the whole "literature" concept, but let that suffice for now...

On the other hand, being nasty to people is something I cannot be having with, so that makes Joyce less appealing.

My roommate loved Catcher, and looking back, Franny and Zooey is probably exactly the kind of thing I'd like now. *sigh* I'm totes gonna have to add him now, aren't I. O MASTERLIST, WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE ME HURT YOU, BABY?
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I feel that I accomplished something here today, if I can get somebody else to read Salinger actually, plenty of people read Salinger; he earns his place as one of the greatest American authors of all time.

Now, literature is not a fixed subject, and neither is enjoyment, but I think you're misunderstanding how Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake are written. You see, Joyce wanted to shock people (by his own admission) and do something completely different, so he basically stopped words in the middle, or replaced them with words he thought of when thinking of that word/had something to do with/were homophones or cognates, and then degenerated into non-English languages.

And I mean other languages; there are parts written entirely in Arabic, Gaelic, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, various African dialects, and all with nothing even resembling a nice little Tolstoy-esque footnote explaining what the hell he was trying to say. Here's a sentence for you, which I will then rework in the Joycean style (to the best of my rather meager ability!)

The dog jumped over the fence, and lovingly licked its master.

The as a chieninu leapedup above the posts, and gently, seductively laid with its lordship.

Now imagine that for thousands of pages with achingly small type. Also, to further poison you against him, if he wasn't writing about ugly, unenticing sexual things, he was describing bowel movements. Joyce was a genius, in his own way - but an evil genius, as far as I'm concerned, and fun as it is to write Joycean things, they're no fun to read, especially at length.

Yes. So. Bad Joyce-y.
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
Indeed, Salinger was in no danger with or without me, but he's on the List now...

Ye-es... but, I mean, stream of consciousness and everything. Playing with the language/s. I assume, since he was so smart, this is all part of an overall master plan, and he's a classic, so I'm good wif it. And as for sex and bowel movements... well. The only sex scene I've ever been comfortable (for a given value of comfort) reading was one by Anne Rice, which was indeed ugly and unenticing, and that was the point of it. And it had been preceded by a set on the crapper, as t'were, of which I also approved. I mean, these things are not fun to read about, but they're part of the human experience and as such should be part of literature, to my mind. (I just have trouble actually being okay with the sex part.)

Plus, if he's that bad, I probably won't know I'm reading about sex anyway...

(In retrospect: I look a mad hypocrite up there, being simultaneously I AM SO ALONE IN MY GENERATION and also I DO NOT MAKE TEH WAVES, but I think the difference is that people my age expect and are fine with dissension on lines like this [although we also tend to think up our own opinions, or at least get them from a group of peers], whereas authority figures like scholars... I feel more comfortable agreeing with.)

And now, because I am at heart about ten years old apparently, I shall induct you into an S Family ritual, derived as so many of them are from some stupid movie: at random intervals, thou shalt call out, "SHITTER'S FULL!"
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
IS IT REALLY? I'LL HAVE TO USE THE OTHER ONE.

It was part of a master plan, that I don't deny him, and from that perspective it was brilliant. And certainly, in the purely he-broke-new-grounds way, Ulysses earns its place as a classic. As far as I'm concerned, though, that's not even the human stream of consciousness - he made something up, invented it, and then foisted it off as the way people think. Actually, to be fair to him (which I have not been at all), I think his stream-of-consciousness was, indeed, his stream-of-consciousness, at least in the purely, "I think he was psychotic, and if we were to look into his mind that would be the line of thoughts that we'd see," way.

Oh, on most things I like going along with the general opine. But every once and a while, I deviate, and this is one of the things I deviate on.
RoTyNDrotynd on January 27th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
FULL WELL YOU WILL.

I'm on board for crazy-stream-of-consciousness, since I'm going to have to write from the POV of a truly whacked person eventually and I could stand to learn. Oh, no, two people. At least. Bugger, I keep forgetting how much pseudo-schizophrenia I've incorporated. More than two. Anyway! My point is, good learning experience.

YOU DEVIANT.
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 27th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
You can actually ask me for help on that. I have schizoaffected, not schizophrenia, but I have been psychotic (for real real instead of for play play), though it's not a portion of my life I generally care to remember.

I AM A sexual DEVIANT, AND I LOVE IT.
(no subject) - rotynd on January 28th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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RoTyNDrotynd on January 28th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9sY6iH9Ojg

There. Now you shall know from whence it comes. It's... not even funny, but trust me, sometimes repetition makes a joke. Or at least so we believe here. Over... and over... and over...
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
AND, oh, if this comes off as brusque or irritated, it's just that I've got an awful headache and it's late - which is my way of apologizing. I know I'm ranting like an idiot with no thought to the other party, and I am sorry about it.
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, you silly thing. You don't sound any of those ways at all, although I'm sorry you're headachy and up late. Or were. Hopefully these things have ceased being problems now.
The Indomitable World Champion: Stalking=Lovesekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
No, I feel fine now (which didn't stop mom from keeping me home from school), but I was in agony last night. I think I had a fever, too.
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Sweet Jesus! At least your mom showed sense here. A fever... Ooh, you need lots of water and rest. I send you snuggles!
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
Snuggles, offers of marriage, and bribes all accepted. I think the fever broke while I was asleep, anyway, so it's no skin off my back. At least I didn't stay sick in the morning!
(no subject) - rotynd on January 26th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
(Oh, and I recommend the Pevear and Volokhonsky [I believe that's their names] translation of The Brother's Karamazov. They did a lovely job with War & Peace.)
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Oh... I'm afraid I've already given my heart (and money, since I wasn't reading fast enough for the library) to David McDuff for Brothers, for the same reason Rosemary Edmonds got it for War and Peace: I love - like, to a mildly unhealthy degree - Penguin Classics. I am such a fan of their notes. I read Anna Karenina from someone else, and man - it was a wonderful book (well, except for the whole CHEATING HOOR, YOU DIE NOW ending), but all the French stuff I just didn't get, and I missed my cultural notes so hard.

Although that wasn't as bad as the History of the Conquest of Mexico one. That author expected you to know like six languages. Bastard.
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Mm. Well, cultural notes are fun, but I've heard from many, many reputable sources that the War & Peace translation I read is the premier English version, and I agreed. Granted, unlike the people I heard it from I never read the other translations, but this one was so nice, and was translated so beautifully that I couldn't help but condone it.

But, if cultural notes call...
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
Hee. Cultural notes and the Force of Habit, which is strong with this one. I mean, mine seemed beautifully translated to me, not that I'm any great shakes at telling; I just want some kind of pedigree so as not to get into another Dumas Debacle - very long sentences, but that's as it should be, ne?
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Now you're making me want to break out some of my Penguin Classics Balzac translations. <3 That would be fun.

And what may I ask is the Dumas Debacle? Dumas is a favorite of mine, in his own way, and if someone manhandled him I'll cut 'em.
(no subject) - rotynd on January 26th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - rotynd on January 27th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - rotynd on January 28th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 28th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on January 30th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 31st, 2009 10:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - rotynd on February 4th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on January 27th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 27th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
(P.S. If you don't like having to know twenty languages you've never studied in your life, you'd hate hate hate Finnegan's Wake.)
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
You are almost as virulent about this as I am about Twilight, my dear. I promise not to read FW, okay? I have to do Ulysses because it's on the list and my mom would be impressed, but I'll leave off of Joyce after that.
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
I am. Ulysses... Ulysses is not as bad as... well, as it could be; that is to say, it's readable, you can understand it. Finnegan's Wake is not. Even a lot of the scholars throw their hands up when they try to work their way through the real version. The general Way Of Doing It today, in fact, is to read the abridged copy someone somewhere put out, where they explain what the academics think he was bloody on about.

I was stupid, and thought I'd try the unabridged version, despite warnings on all fronts. It nearly left me in tears. Then I read the biography of Sylvia Beach (the woman who published Ulysses in the first place), not written by a friend of hers but by an academic, and I began to be genuinely annoyed. Then I finally worked my way back to Ulysses, and found that it was aggravating in its own special way.

I'd read Dubliners, too, and found that there were times when (since he used monikers long before, during, and after using names) I just couldn't follow the action. It was clearly brilliant, but because I didn't know who the Irishman and who the Scotsman and who the redheaded demagogue were, it was aggravating.

Besides, Joyce was the figurehead of the Ezra Pound "Damn the reader!" movement, which I've never liked. Don't damn the reader! Write for yourself, sure, write to break new grounds, but if you're going to publish do it for the reader! If you hate the reader so much, then why are you so anxious for them to get their hands on your work? Publish it in a purely academic field if you must, but still, somewhere a reader, a dreaded reader will get their hands on it, and their boggled mind is your problem.
(no subject) - rotynd on January 27th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 28th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
RoTyNDrotynd on January 26th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Said with affection. Damn internet, not conveying tones...
The Indomitable World Championsekahyyh on January 26th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't worry about that; if you didn't mean it with affection, that's when you'd have to tell me, because I'd be oblivious. And you can trust the same with me. I never mean anything half as uncouthly as it comes out.
(no subject) - rotynd on January 27th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 27th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on January 28th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 28th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on January 30th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 30th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on January 31st, 2009 03:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 31st, 2009 11:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on January 31st, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sekahyyh on January 31st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rotynd on February 1st, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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