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The "Those of us who frequent this forum" thread

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Hubster, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. speed

    speed Member

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    We're just going to have to agree to disagree. We like totally different things. Dont care for Thomas Wolfe at all, I share your assessment of Pynchon.

    Who's your favorite author infoterror? If you havent noticed, mine is Nabokov.
     
  2. speed

    speed Member

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    Well it really depends on what you are looking for. I always read something by an author, and then read his collection later. My first recs would be Pale Fire, Lolita, and Madame Bovary. Then, I'd recommend Petersburg by Andrei Bely and The Overcoat by Gogol. And of course, I am nearing completion.
     
  3. Blaphbee

    Blaphbee Member

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    You know (sorry to butt in like this), I read The Eye based on an ex-girlfriend's recommendation, and found it horribly mediocre. What do you see in him?

    Have you read The Master and Margarita, assuming Russkie authors are your thing? Fantastic book.
     
  4. speed

    speed Member

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    Oh come on, you are going to attack Nabokov now? I wont stand for it. List one author who could hold a candle to Lolita or Pale Fire?

    Yes, Master and Margarita is one of my favorites.

    And, we need like a literature thread here.
     
  5. Blaphbee

    Blaphbee Member

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    I'm not attacking him, I just don't see what's so shit-hot about him. Hence my question. Haven't read the other two books you mention.
     
  6. speed

    speed Member

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    Please do. Every writer has so-so pieces. Read Lolita. Lovely book. Depressingly good.

    But have you read Bulgakov's short pieces and stories? Heart of a Dog, Fatal Eggs, etc?
     
  7. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    I shall hold off reading those chapters until you are done then. Where I may print out, read, enjoy (and then destroy) the draft :)
     
  8. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Nabokov... I liked Pale Fire, haven't read Lolita. However, he's kind of a one-pony show, like DeLillo. Pynchon to some degree too. The more experienced I get, the less I care at all about the postmoderns.

    I'd consider Faulkner and Marquez to be a better style than the postmoderns.

    Favorite author? Fitzgerald. Or Melville, based on yesterday's reading. Soft spot for Burroughs and Hemingway too.
     
  9. speed

    speed Member

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    Yeah, your favorites I think are hacks (but I am not insulting you or anything, I just have different taste). I dont care for Fitzegerald-he's a enjoyable read and a good author, but there is no depth in his writing, no challenge, no rhythmic word-play, no change in form. So, I can see you really may have a American literature degree. Why do I say this? Well, I argue with American literature degree having persons about Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Wolfe, Roth, Bradbury, etc, all the time.

    I would get in arguments in the few college lit classes I actually took, because well, I am a big reader, and I have (and this is my one big big skill) exceptional reading comprehension-- to the point I can read a 300 page book written by a difficult author in less than 5 hours. All other things, i highlight my lack of expertise. Anyway, I am very put off by American writing, which I see as terribly symbolic and autobiographical, as opposed to Russian, French, and British and Irish Literature (and some German), which is more about characterization, prose, and form--the things that I am interested in.
     
  10. speed

    speed Member

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    Hehe. Well, it wont be long before I finish. I doubt it will be picked up by someone as I am a newbie, and its not a spy-thriller, its largely a whimisical satirical book.

    But as for recs, you know, its all about subjective taste-- thats the beauty of literature. But I know you were going to try some Camus; if you do, go for the Plague and THe Fall (my fave from him) His play Caligula is first rate as well. I like to read the inspirations or the influences of favorite writers--thats how I read everything I do. For instance, Camus, as an author, was largely influenced by Dostoevksy and Andre Gide. So, Im sure your familiar with Fyodor, but as for Gide, the Immoralist is a wonderful wonderful book. His Ecologues and Theseus are wonderfully written as well. However, as he was a noted homosexual, his books (although terribly well-written) have a strain of Nietszchean homosexuality running throughout. Just a warning. But his prose is quite similar to Flaubert: flowing, poetic, lyrical.

    Oh, and on a philosophical note, I'd say Kafka's The Castle may be the best to read. It is an incredibly trying book however.
     
  11. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Dostoyevsky seemed very much like Melville to me: symbolic.

    I understand what you say, although I warn that those are the easiest things to maintain in writing.

    I also disagree with your split.

    Goethe is highly symbolic; Hesse is highly symbolic, for example (plus Dostoyevsky above). And then there's Conrad.

    Irish... Joyce is as close as I get to that.
     
  12. ARC150

    ARC150 anodyne

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    Dig.

    If you like the photography, check out the pic's author at Creatrix777.

    If you want to hear the music, click on my sig (...better in a couple weeks when we upload our {currently in progress} album).
     
  13. ARC150

    ARC150 anodyne

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    Good eye, sir...
     
  14. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    Interesting sort of band, ARC_150.

    The t-shirt pictures section is well-done also :D

    :lol:
     
  15. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    I think you might want to re-read "The Great Gatsby." That's one of the most poetic books ever.

    I'm sick of postmodernism; I think for the most part it's an artistic dead end, and so too much wordplay bores the shit out of me. This is however often a function of how long one has been exposed to literature (usually manifested in age). I once was more interested in wordplay; now, the poetic staging a scene, the meaningful nature of the discourse of the novel, and yes, quality symbolism (a la European authors such as Goethe, Conrad, Hamsun and Eurasians like Dostoyevsky) are meaningful to me.

    Re: Pynchon - I re-read Naked Lunch and am certain now that this was the archetype for Pynchon's work. Except Burroughs is better (even if the entire book is a litany of drug use, sodomy, coprophagia, misogyny, murder, autoerotic asphyxiation, and coprophilia).
     
  16. LORD_RED_DRAGON

    LORD_RED_DRAGON New Metal Member

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    it's been several months since i've seen a brittish person face-2-face and this just doesn't look right in american english:lol:
     
  17. speed

    speed Member

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    Again, we must agree to disagree. I say the below, in rapt anticipation of a fruitful literary discussion; I take your comments with respect, not derision. Thus, please, I think we are both passionate about the subject, and I dont want you to get the wrong idea about any of my criticism.

    The more literature I read, the more I become beholden with wordplay, prose, and style. Besides Dostoevsky--who I consider a genius of human understanding on the level of Shakespeare but apart from The Double, The Village of Stepanancho (sp), and The Eternal Husband (all wonderfully written), not the best writer stylistically or prose-wise; in fact he's quite sloppy, but his characters and their socratic dialogues are pure genius)--those authors that write heavily symbolic novels, with standard prose, trying to prove some philosophical or political point--some Big Idea--I have almost lost total interest in (with a few exceptions like Bellow). Someone was talking about Thomas Mann and Theodore Dreiser being their fave authors, and I rolled my eyes thinking of their writing.

    I am still utterly confused by your hatred of Postmodernism and wordplay when you make such pronouncements about Pynchon and Burroughs. These guys are as postmodern as authors can get: the prose, the style or lack of style and form Burroughs displays, the technical prose, shifts in narrative voices, and overall grabbag of about every topic under the sun of Pynchon. You've never explained this, and I know when people are bullshitting (you;ve never read Saul Bellow admit it--and I doubt you've read Amis based on your comments--I think you are familiar of them, or have heard about them; but you've never read them). SO, I just dont get it: Pynchon is almost obsessively postmodern--so postmodern, I put down Mason-Dixon, and barely finished Gravity's Rainbow, because, I thought it was too experimental, and bordering on crap.

    I admit, Great Gatsby does have some poetry to it; I still remember the last page quite vividly. But still, he is quite a superficial writer--especially as evidenced by his other works. Personal opinion again of course. I dont think we need to extend the argument about old Scott any longer.

    Anyway, I was thinking that American playwriting was excellent in the 20th century--on a much higher level than lit. O'Neill, Williams, Miller, Albee all created classics that if you will, poeticize American life and ideals far better than any American lit writer. I wonder how you feel about this?

    Finally, what are you reading now infoterror?
     
  18. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    The more literature I read, the more I realize that wordplay is trivial; style is temporary (and ages quickly); and the art of prose is only useful toward an end. It's the same way with metal -- Necrophagist is extraneous shit, where Atheist is profound. It's not skill that distinguishes them, but something less quantifiable.

    I hate most postmodernism, but I like where it is profound. In the cases of The Crying of Lot 49 and Naked Lunch (and perhaps White Noise) it is profound; not surprisingly, those books resonate the most with readers. Literature is a poeticization of truth; style is only poetic when it has something to say.

    O'Neill is good, but honestly, that pseudo-Freudian shit bores the hell out of me. It's well-done, but so far, I've had little need for it; too much investment into the individual becomes drama with no end, no philosophy, no idea.

    I've also come to detest Italo Calvino and some of Borges. I like Marquez for this reason.

    Right now, I'm reading The Secret Sharer again for a technique study. Before that? Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming.

    One of my favorite books is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I'm also fond of Jane Austen and William Faulkner. I don't think my reading is characterized by period or literary type, but by the properties of the artist's perception; I like transcendental, insightful, philosophy yet poetic stories.

    I'm not too fond of Thus Spoke Zarathustra or other "philosophical novels," which are generally boring as shit and have little philosophy.

    I do however like to read garbage like Ian Fleming, Dashiell Hammet or The Turner Diaries.
     
  19. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    I feel much better with the "A-Z of sexual murderers" sitting on my shelf now :D
     
  20. speed

    speed Member

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    Go with the flow. Some days I read nothing. But I generally like to read a chapter of a book I really adore, every day, while I am reading another book I have never read before.
     

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