Unsurprisingly, this work deserved much more than the sporadic attention I was able to give it during the term. I know there was a lot of substance th...moreUnsurprisingly, this work deserved much more than the sporadic attention I was able to give it during the term. I know there was a lot of substance that I missed, and I would enjoy an opportunity to actually study it.
I didn't have much background prior to starting, other than the vague understanding of the Faust legend one can't help but acquiring in Western culture. I was therefore somewhat surprised by Part I, which read more like a comedy than a tragedy in style and structure. While it was rather amusing, it seemed to lack some of the literary "weight" I was expecting.
Part II, on the other hand, had more literary weight than you could shake a stick at. Overall, I preferred Part II. I think that may be due to its being written largely in the style of Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, and therefore feeling more familiar.
Partly due to the very piecemeal way in which I read it, I found the most memorable aspect to be the language itself, which at times is nothing short of exquisite.
I also have an incredible appreciation for the translation. Not having read the original German, I have to take it on faith that the sense was preserved. But it was apparent that the rhyme and meter matched the original, which seems to be an amazing feat.
As a footnote, I had some of the same issues with the Norton Critical Edition as I have had with their editions of Shakespeare. There is a great abundance of footnotes and endnotes, some of which are useful and insightful, many more of which I just wasn't particularly interested in. (less)
Since I just finished adding selections from each of these "Geniuses" to my to-read list, I thought I should say a word about the source of the list....moreSince I just finished adding selections from each of these "Geniuses" to my to-read list, I thought I should say a word about the source of the list. I happened upon this book while browsing the library shelves a few years ago, and was intrigued by the weighty tome with GENIUS in large, serif letters on the spine. Containing 100 brief essays on those Bloom considers to be literary geniuses of the western world, it is an interesting read in itself. Of course, having read only a small fraction of the writers discussed, I was unable to fully appreciate it. (Thus my refraining from giving it a rating.)
It is clearly one man's opinion, but Bloom seems to carry some authority, and many of the works discussed were on my mental "I really should read that someday" list. Since I now have a place to store such a list, I thought this would be a good place to start. Bloom's taste tend more toward the poets than I probably would, but maybe that's just because I haven't actually read much poetry. And, of course, the genius among geniuses whose works I have devoured almost in total, is at least as much a poet as a playwright.
I probably won't ever get around to reading the whole list, and there are some (James Joyce, in particular) that I added with considerable trepidation. But somehow just creating the list seemed edifying.(less)
This novel is epic, in the classical sense of the word. It ranges over all the big ideas: love (and lust), war, religion, and family relationships, an...moreThis novel is epic, in the classical sense of the word. It ranges over all the big ideas: love (and lust), war, religion, and family relationships, and spans three generations of the Brangwen family. Mostly, though, it is about identity and how one finds and defines one's way and self. In the course of the sixty or so years of the story, Lawrence explores how several different characters approach these questions, and each character's journey illuminates the others, while being unique.
Clearly, there is a lot going on, and I'm sure I would have gotten more out of this book if I'd put in the time and effort to really study it. Nevertheless, it was an interesting and enjoyable read as it was.(less)
I wasn't crazy about this book. I acknowledge that there was some striking imagery, and the prose was admirable. My main problem was that I just didn'...moreI wasn't crazy about this book. I acknowledge that there was some striking imagery, and the prose was admirable. My main problem was that I just didn't like Madame Bovary as a character. She was far to superficial, flighty, and schoolgirl-obsessive for me to think of her as a sympathetic character. She had some promise at first, but then she just devolved further and further into being pathetic.(less)