Somers makes a few really interesting points to begin with but doesn't actually expand on them (good news for me I suppose) Her final judgement that "Somers makes a few really interesting points to begin with but doesn't actually expand on them (good news for me I suppose) Her final judgement that "these "privileges" were among the strongest forces that threatened to overcome and defeat her [Wharton]." (157) become simplistic and ultimately sound more like writing than argument. The claim that Wharton "wrote her own life" (155) is articulate but is it accurate? She also quotes Wharton's 1911 letter to Fullerton where she argues "I'm a better landscape gardener than novelist" (156) without pointing out that Wharton died in the 30s. A later source of Wharton's opinion of her own role as a writer would be more interesting, more helpful. The comparisons to Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt also feel half-baked (especially in the face of Mackenzie Stuart's biography of Consuelo and her mother) but not uninspired. I think the material is there but spends itself out establishing the Newport and New York scene (already done quite well in books like Displaying Women)
The most interesting part of the book occurs in a quotation on 151-152 (the book picks up in general as it winds down) as to the nature of the Marble House and its gilded-museum like nature. Here is a real point of spatial analysis, the comparison of gilded-age museums to gilded age mansions. The building period of these institutions were parallel. Surely that's an interesting area to explore? And a real area of spatial analysis. ...more
At no point in reading Cleanth Brook's treatment of Faulkner do you stop wishing you were reading Faulkner, which isn't really Brook's fault I supposeAt no point in reading Cleanth Brook's treatment of Faulkner do you stop wishing you were reading Faulkner, which isn't really Brook's fault I suppose.
Perhaps it isn't fair to require literary theorists to write about our favorite books. No matter how thorough Brooks manages to make his survey of Faulkner's work his collection fails to capture or sustain the kind of language that I think flourishes in the best criticism. Intelligent, clear, well written there is not anything to say against this book just not enough to say for it. Since Brooks avoided a chronological arrangement I have to wonder why he segmented off his review of Faulkner by novel. It is themes that Brooks seems to excel at the most. As it is he stops repeatedly in every chapter to either remind us of a previous book or summarize one that will follow. (He also annoys me considerably by spending about 4 pages comparing Gavin to Sir Tristan when there are so many, better, allusions to explore) ...more
It's a bad habit of mine to stop in the middle of reading a book and consider, would I put this in my imaginary coml seminar? For example I would alw
It's a bad habit of mine to stop in the middle of reading a book and consider, would I put this in my imaginary coml seminar? For example I would always strongly consider Frankenstein and The World Republic of Letters but I would ultimately probably only excerpt this.
It's a good book; I'm immediately suggesting it to some coml people I know but it wanders and falls off track here and there and since I don't agree with some of Bautmans attitudes towards writing literature and life I can't endorse it as much as I wanted to.
I wish it had been more if a memoir, more like Barnards Assault on Mount Helicon, and less like an indulgent talk show monologue. But the genre literary theory cum memoir cum reflections on Russian literature is scarce and this is definitely better than a lot of journalistic like nonfiction I have read (the art I'd being lost for example)...more