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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

"What really puzzles me about this book is that I'm not smart enough to have written it."

The thing I'm listening to on the radio right now regarding a new book by Edward Mendelson, The Things that Matter, which presents critical readings of Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts.

The alert will notice that these are all novels by women--which has something to do with the state of the novel in the 19th century, and something to do, I think, with the way great art haunts despised corners of the popular culture more readily than it does the rarified halls of aristocracy or academe.

Art needs claws and wit, like an alley-cat.


I really loved his quote from the male contemporary critic on reading Jane Eyre and said critic's (surprising-to-him) ability to be sucked into the story and empathize deeply with the protagonist, despite being male.
"...Have I read science fiction? Why, yes, of course. And have I ever deeply empathized with alien characters? Well, of course. But only if they have the alien equivalent of a penis. 'Cause penises are what matter. Not personality or soul or biology. Penis people are MY people!"
"What really puzzles me about this book is that I'm not smart enough to have written it."

That's exactly how I feel about "Accelerando" ... and then I contemplate how much beer I've drunk over the intervening years, and start wondering whether the solution is (a) to go on the wagon, or (b) to drink even more.

(NB: my consumption is well within UK government guidelines, in case anyone was wondering what kind of alcoholic I am.)
Only in the UK! "I'm sorry, sir, I'm afraid you haven't drunk enough beer this year..."
Philip Larkin said they should do something about those people who confine their drinking to holidays and thus drag down the average.
He would say that.
Art needs claws and wit, like an alley-cat.

Trying to figure out where the 18th century comes into a study of novels written in the 19th and 20th centuries. Am I missing a quotation somewhere?
Just my inability to type. *g* That should be a 9.
So of the six Great Books, three are very very favorites of mine.
Middlemarch, Mrs. Dalloway, and...? Or have I mis-guessed?
WH, MM, and To The Lighthouse ;) Though Mrs Dalloway is also great.
want book. want it.

not smart enough to write it, but am, happily, smart enough to order it from Amazon
Weird. He's in my department and I never took a class with him because I thought he did more Modernism. Perhaps his interests have shifted since I was actually taking classes and moved into the realm of the eternal dissertation. May have to find this quickly as I start teaching Frankenstein this week . . .