The concepts of libertinage that Sade embraces, part of his mad worldview, are interesting, if repellent. I'm reading another book now that analyzes S...moreThe concepts of libertinage that Sade embraces, part of his mad worldview, are interesting, if repellent. I'm reading another book now that analyzes Sade and what he or his work represents in terms of releasing dark impulses. Still, his flauting of convention smacks of a total will for degradation--of the self of the practictioners and of the idea of love in general. His complete focus, or routine focus on the "ass" of the situation, paired with cruelty, make this an interesting read if only in abnormal psychology. Some conventions should be blasted, but when all are, at least all that come into play regarding human decency, what you have here is an enjoyment of the destruction of innocence, sadly not nuanced with enough complexity as to make a world that seems real enough to ponder. Anyone can read or write dark fodder. I like this book in that it is instructive in how not to do it when my audience, I feel sure, has more desire for hope, for empowerment, for sexual narratives in which the lovers are tender and unafraid of the intimacy that is real love, rather than being reminiscent of a teenage male's masturbational fantasy. (less)
I enjoyed many things about this book--notably the construction of identity on the basis of book learning, participation in the art scene, cinema expe...moreI enjoyed many things about this book--notably the construction of identity on the basis of book learning, participation in the art scene, cinema experience, and personal history. It is a strange book--one with pictures of pieces of an exhibit that involved sculpture and film. Textually, most of the analysis is about the work of Franco. His drives. His integration of fine arts and collaborative masking and personas. This is a book about boyhood, about obscenity, about depiction of selves. It is not a traditional narrative. Many people will find it vulgar, pointless, a biopic of a young artist's art that may not have been done had that artist not already been a film star. I love it. I think it shows a man willing to flaunt a typecast identity and subvert constructs of gender and home narratives. It is only as obscene as the reader who reads it. Personally, I found it refreshing. And I applaud a celebrity whose ego does not forbid a willingness to expose himself at many levels. Masking as a permission for freedom is an idea I identify with--and support. I found this at the UCSD library. Love that place. I particularly enjoyed the theatric narrative in this book about Kirk and Spock in a homosexual exchange. Little jems throughout. I hope to see more from Franco. Considering my fictive bent, I think I'll pick up his book of stories. Enough said.(less)
What I love about this book is that it is an accumulation of journals and, as such, has the sort of urgency and private feel to it that almost represe...moreWhat I love about this book is that it is an accumulation of journals and, as such, has the sort of urgency and private feel to it that almost represents voyeurism. Between lists of Sontag's readings and cinema rankings, ideal short fiction collection ideas, glimpses at her analysis of how some of her work was experienced, and general thoughts about intellectualism/intellectuals of her acquaintances, there was also this extreme analysis of self and identity. In tiny parcels. I loved the parts about her relationships and perception of roles--probably loved those most of all--because the journals were where she parsed all matters of belonging or not belonging, longing and remaining apart. I also enjoyed this because I hate journaling and reading her truncated clips--lack of narrative fabric between, shorthand journaling--made me feel like I might want to do it too, not to describe the minute details of every day, but to simply note what's of note--elegantly, concisely, and give myself permission to eschew a fully realized narrative form. Fragmented thoughts work. Perhaps even their fragmentation, frequency, and ordering are plenty revelatory. :)(less)
Anne. Carson. Blows. One. Away. LOVELY, as always. I'm binge-reading my way through as many of her books as I can this summer. The lovely thing about...moreAnne. Carson. Blows. One. Away. LOVELY, as always. I'm binge-reading my way through as many of her books as I can this summer. The lovely thing about her work is its erudition coupled with her fascination with loss and mystery--history, literature, mothers, brothers, and lovers. :) There is not one book of hers (I have devoured) that I have not paused in admiration to revel quietly in her use of the unsaid, to consider the telling nature of her questions and her silences. Brava! This particular book really soothes me in a good way. I love it. Like I might take it to an island--oh, if I had to pick only a few.(less)
There is something intoxicating about reading a scholar who brings erudition and poetic vision to a creative analysis of desire. This book, via a disc...moreThere is something intoxicating about reading a scholar who brings erudition and poetic vision to a creative analysis of desire. This book, via a discussion of Sappho and other figures, proves a stunning, trans-textual analysis of variations on the constructions of amorous triangulation, whether that which is seen between three people entangled, viewers and lovers, or those triangulations created by either physical distance or prose via correspondence. It is an essay/adventure, which is deliriously interesting, broken into parts that are themselves--as missives of the lost and struck-- breaking into parts, utilizing a ripe unattainable apple as an example, among other things, to elucidate the finer points of passion for the out of reach--and the stunning ironies of erotic remove. Excellent. A working vehicle of transport and contemplation for those consumed by the psychology of loss and desire, both the bitter and the sweet parts of existing as a player in a romantic capacity. (less)
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of experimental literature I've ever read--about grieving a sibling's loss, but also, just as compellingly, a...moreThis is one of the most beautiful pieces of experimental literature I've ever read--about grieving a sibling's loss, but also, just as compellingly, about never having really known enough about another before they go. There are no cut pages here, just a book object in a box like one that holds a gift--and the fusion of definitions and scrapbook/letter representations, photographs, and poetic text creates a sensation of awe and wonder. I don't want to give this book back to the library. I will have to go buy one before its due date. It is that special and beautiful to read.(less)
I love to read books that are hundreds of years old--and found this primer in the art of courtly love completely charming in social contexts of the au...moreI love to read books that are hundreds of years old--and found this primer in the art of courtly love completely charming in social contexts of the author's day and the mixed antiquity and continuously applicable essentials of the ideas. That said, being that Capellanus was a chaplain, the last passage is clearly meant to confuse and put off his detractors. To baffle or dance around what the main text does. I like to read the volume as one man who desires to examine lascivious interaction via the raised platform of instruction, even going so far as to discuss a number of scenarios about what possibilities there may be (or have been) between different classes of lovers-- and then, at the tail end, putting his robes back on for a final summation that tongue in cheek realigns himself with those for whom he must appear to suit his station. Mixed message books always entertain me. Of course, so do views into the psyches of lovers. If you are female, my advice is simple: Enjoy all parts of the book except the final summary, which will piss you off since it replays that old ideology that the woman destroys everyhing and is untrustworthy--EVE in the garden.
I was intrigued by many elements of the text: expected behaviors for widows, an articulated archaic version of "The Rules," a sort of textual dance between off-putting conduct and desire, and a commentary on what kinds of love may be experienced by whom and how.
I love Margaret Atwood. There is something about her work that cuts to the bone. A density without purple prose--a very liberating sense of a woman, o...moreI love Margaret Atwood. There is something about her work that cuts to the bone. A density without purple prose--a very liberating sense of a woman, often, telling someone off. That said, this book read like a story that felt visually and sensitively incomplete--like its author was clever with using devices of the time the work plays upon, but not completely committed to the creation of fuller characters, of believable and enriching narrative for the story she wished to tell. It could be that using this particular original source as a foil is a fairly daunting task, intertextually. It could be that allusions to the original do not take the place of or interest as reader as much as new story-telling, but it is my view that derivative texts, especially, must have enough of their own bounce and fiber to pull off something innovative and worth reading. I enjoyed many passages of this--and Atwood's wit and dark humor, as always--but I felt that this particular book was a lark that may have been too agendaed to be fully accessible and I wanted more realism in the characters. Before reviewing it, I thought for several days about whether my respect for Atwood's work had caused the wrinkle of my lack of satisfaction with the text: Could it be that I simply expect or expected more from her and this biased my reading? I'm not sure. I will give the book another read in a year or so and see--but for now, I left the text with no more sympathy for the maids and Penelope than I came in with. So it was a zero-sum of emotional investment. Again, this could be my bias as a reader: I like a book that rolls me. A book that punches me in the face and makes me beg it to come back. This one, I felt like, well, come back if you wanna. It's all right. (less)
Cut Through the Bone is an excellent collection of shorts. Rohan has great skill with dense modern prose, a cunning way with dialogue, and an enjoyabl...moreCut Through the Bone is an excellent collection of shorts. Rohan has great skill with dense modern prose, a cunning way with dialogue, and an enjoyable sense of humor. I read the whole book in one sitting. Each piece has its own charm. I do recommend. (less)