This edition also includes "The English Mail-Coach" and the "Suspiria de Profundis."
de Quincey's prose is beautiful, I'll give him that. Some of the wThis edition also includes "The English Mail-Coach" and the "Suspiria de Profundis."
de Quincey's prose is beautiful, I'll give him that. Some of the writing, though, is SO dense -- he has so many references and allusions to other literature and history, and there are a number of the author's footnotes and editor's endnotes, that it sometimes takes FOREVER just to read a small chunk of the book. But it is beautiful, and the subject is (sometimes) fascinating (and when it's not fascinating, it's often at least interesting).
This book was first brought to my attention through a former friend, who was going to teach an English class subtitled "Sleep and Dreams," so I expected this to be about dreams, but it's not. Yes, de Quincey does talk about the dreams he has while taking opium, but not nearly as much as I expected. Or maybe he is. The prose is so fanciful, and sometimes goes on forever, that I often can't tell if he's telling a true story, using an analogy, or describing a dream. I also expected a lot more about opium, in general (not necessarily about his dreams he had while taking opium, but how the drug effected him, etc.). He does discuss why he started taking it, and he does talk some about his reactions to it, or the dreams he has, but he spends so much time talking about other things (or taking so long in the build-up) that only a small percentage of this book is actually about "eating" opium. Or, again, maybe I'm getting so lost in his prose/tale-spinning that I can't tell what he's talking about. (There's a good chance that's the case.)
But there is some wit: when talking about a fellow traveler on the mail coach, he says that this man, who only has one eye, was his former teacher. "As a pupil, though I paid extra fees, I cannot say that I stood high in his esteem. It showed his dogged honesty, (though, observe, not his discernment,) that he could not see my merits. Perhaps we ought to excuse his absurdity in this particular by remembering his want of an eye. That made him blind to my merits." Ha!...more
I could not believe that the guy who wrote Bluebird Canyon wrote Triphammer. The Triphammer character in Canyon is often written in such a crass tone,I could not believe that the guy who wrote Bluebird Canyon wrote Triphammer. The Triphammer character in Canyon is often written in such a crass tone, but in Triphammer, he's actually rather loving. He meets a woman, Sydney, who completely turns his life around. She's twenty years younger than he is, she's working on her doctoral thesis and teaching at the local university (he's a cop who only graduated high school), yet they seem to connect on a deep level. So many times Triphammer speaks of Sydney in very loving ways, and while Triphammer in Canyon wasn't horrible or a complete womanizer, it was still a surprise to see a tender side to the Triphammer name. ...more
Funny synopses/alternate versions of classics everyone "should" read/know. ------------------------------------------------- I had to give up on this onFunny synopses/alternate versions of classics everyone "should" read/know. ------------------------------------------------- I had to give up on this one. It's meant to be brief synopses of classics, so you supposedly don't have to read the books yourself, but they really only make sense if you've already read the books. Plus, most of the synopses had the same format -- usually written as a poem, either a limerick or with a standard ABAB rhyme scheme. It got boring after the first few pages. ...more
This is an okay book; I feel sort of half-and-half about it. On the one hand, the text was minimal, and was more of a summary of arts and crafts in MeThis is an okay book; I feel sort of half-and-half about it. On the one hand, the text was minimal, and was more of a summary of arts and crafts in Mexico. No topic was really fleshed out, but Sayer does give an overview of different arts and crafts, and how each type is done (but mostly described in only one paragraph for each). On the other hand, the photos are BEAUTIFUL. Glossy paper, bright colors, zoomed-in images. So the text of the book gets 2 stars, the photos get 4 stars, and we even out to a 3-star book....more
Erm, 2.5 stars. It definitely had interesting moments and really insightful parts, but it just seemed so dense and long in places. But still, good essErm, 2.5 stars. It definitely had interesting moments and really insightful parts, but it just seemed so dense and long in places. But still, good essays on the history of Mexico and political thoughts about/in the country, etc....more
The book's description says this is the story of one day in Clarissa Dalloway's life, as she's preparing to throw a party, but really, it follows notThe book's description says this is the story of one day in Clarissa Dalloway's life, as she's preparing to throw a party, but really, it follows not just Clarissa, but many of her friends and acquaintances as they criss-cross through the day.
The story is told like a one-shot in a movie or TV show (or like the walk-and-talk in, my favorite, The West Wing), where the scene starts with one person or group of people, who are then passed by another person or group of people, and the camera follows this new person/group, until they intersect someone else, then we follow that new someone, etc. And even though they don't know it, they're all connected to Clarissa Dalloway in some say, usually in fewer than Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Death is also a theme in the story--Clarissa's feelings about death, worrying about death, awaiting death, comparing death to life and parties, and one character's death.
So, I decided to read this. Fiction, rather than his non-fiction essays. And it turns out, it's not a bad book. No footnotes, nothing so unwieldy it couldn't be understood. A little odd, reminded me at times of Vonnegut (whom I don't really like all that much), in that it was ... odd. Strange plot, random turns. But overall, not bad. The strangeness was more quirky than off-putting, like Vonnegut's books are for me. Vonnegut's strangeness tends to be the whole basis of the book, but for The Broom of the System, there's still a main plot that isn't completely guided by Weird Randomness. (Until the last 100 pages, maybe, which started to lose me.)...more
*sigh* Vonnegut and I were just not made for each other. I mean, his books are tolerable, but I don't love them. I wouldn't even choose to pick one up*sigh* Vonnegut and I were just not made for each other. I mean, his books are tolerable, but I don't love them. I wouldn't even choose to pick one up if it weren't for friends saying "Oh my God, you have to read this. It's one of my favorite books" or feeling obligated to try to see what everyone else loves about him.
So, once again, this book was tolerable. I didn't hate it, and it kept me entertained, but I also didn't love it. It's strange, though: I didn't consider myself enjoying the book, and yet I often couldn't put it down/wanted to pick it back up. I have to say, though, that the last 50-ish pages got really good. I don't know why. But I did love the ending/resolution.
Passages that I liked: "When he [Eliot Rosewater] reached Noah Rosewater Memorial High School, which was closed tight for the summer, he paused before the flagpole, indulged himself in shallow melancholy. He was taken by the sounds of the hollow iron pole's being tapped and caressed despondently by the hardware on the empty halyard. "He wanted to comment on the sounds, to have someone else listen to them, too. But there was nobody around but a dog that had been following him, so he spoke to the dog. 'That's such an American sound, you know? School out and the flag down? Such a sad American sound. You should hear it sometime when the sun's gone down, and a light evening wind comes up, and it's suppertime all around the world.'" (242-243) ************** "'Well--' and Trout rubbed his hands, watched the rubbing, 'what you [Eliot Rosewater] did in Rosewater County [running the Rosewater Foundation, helping anyone in need, especially the undesirables] was far from insane. It was quite possibly the most important social experiment of our time, for it dealt on a very small scale with a problem whose queasy horrors will eventually be made world-wide by the sophistication of machines. The problem is this: How to love people who have no use?'" (264) ************** "'...uselessness will kill strong and weak souls alike, and kill every time.'" (265)...more
I know people often say that the book is nothing like the movie, but in my defense, I've also never seen the movie. So, with that said, let me add toI know people often say that the book is nothing like the movie, but in my defense, I've also never seen the movie. So, with that said, let me add to the chorus and say that the book is nothing like (what I'd imagine) the movie (is like)!
I took a class long ago about science innovations from the early 1800s to the 1950s, and how they affected society/how society looked upon those innovations. The teacher recommended we read Frankenstein if we hadn't before, and was so persuasive about the book that I decided I should read it some day. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it. I always thought that the book (perhaps because I always thought the movie) focused on the creation of the monster (all those scenes of the bolt of lightning, then the monster sitting upright, and "It's alive! It's alive!"), but that's not really the sole focus at all. The real focus is on *why* Frankenstein created the monster, and on the aftermath.
The Norton Critical Edition has some really great critical essays (of course), as well as reviews of the story from 1818 (The reviewers really did not like it, mostly because there was no moral/no comments on morality.).
Contexts: "The Composition of Frankenstein" - M.K. Joseph (5 stars out of 5) "Choosing a Text of Frankenstein" - Anne K. Mellor (5 stars) "Introduction to Frankenstein, 1831 edition - Mary Shelley (5 stars) Reviews: "On Frankenstein" (1817) - Percy Bysshe Shelley (3.5 stars) "From the Quarterly Review" (1818) - John Croker (5 stars) "From Edinburgh Magazine" (1818) (5 stars) "From Gentleman's Magazine" (1818) (5 stars) "From Knight's Quarterly" (1824) (5 stars) "Introduction to the Routledge World Library Edition" (1886) - Hugh Reginald Haweis (4 stars) Modern Criticism: "[Percy] Shelley and Frankenstein" - Christopher Small (3.5 stars) "Frankenstein and the Tradition of Realism" - George Levine (4 stars) "Female Gothic: The Monster's Mother" - Ellen Moers (4.5 stars) "Mary Shelley's Monstrous Eve" - Sandra M. Gilbert & Susan Gubar (4 stars) "My Monster/My Self" - Barbara Johnson (3 stars) "'My Hideous Progeny': The Lady and the Monster" - Mary Poovey (3 stars) "Frankenstein and a Critique of Imperialism" - Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (2.5 stars) "The Women of Frankenstein - William Veeder (4 stars) "Possessing Nature: The Female in Frankenstein" - Anne K. Mellor (4 stars) "Coming Unstrung: Women, Men, Narrative, and Principles of Pleasure" - Susan Winnett (2.5 stars) "Frankenstein and Radical Science" - Marilyn Butler (3.5 stars) "Frankenstein, the True Story; or, Rousseau Judges Jean-Jacques" - Lawrence Lipking (2.5 stars)...more