It took Bill Waterson awhile to hit his stride. Volume I and the first part of Volume II have plenty of forgettable material.
But by the last few years...moreIt took Bill Waterson awhile to hit his stride. Volume I and the first part of Volume II have plenty of forgettable material.
But by the last few years, Volume III, he was making art.
I've noticed a recurrent theme in the latter Calvin strips, particularly the Sunday panels. It's the sadness of childhood. You are blessed with an imagination that could create worlds, and haunted by your powerlessness to actually create them. There's a reason so many of these strips end with sighs.(less)
Riding a recent Brit Lit kick, and recalling fond memories of Pride and Prejudice in college, I picked up Persuasion at a used book shop in a convenie...moreRiding a recent Brit Lit kick, and recalling fond memories of Pride and Prejudice in college, I picked up Persuasion at a used book shop in a convenient size for subway reading.
Perhaps the atmosphere affected me--dim lighting on stuffy summer DC metro platforms--perhaps it was the biography of Abraham Lincoln I was reading in the evenings had me meditating upon a certain greatness of character that seemed absent amidst the Elliots and company, but I was largely unimpressed by Persuasion.
Yes, "unimpressed" is the right word. Simply as a matter of craft, the book felt clunky. The revelation about Mr. Elliot's true diabolical nature, for example, drops from nowhere: the scattered (though coincidentally saved) letter of a friend whose connection is the very prior moment's discovery and who herself is a very late addition to the cast. Or take Lady Russell: we are given to understand is a towering personality; but the only reason we have for knowing this is the narrator's continual assertions. We never really get to meet her, never get the opportunity to understand how a matron who makes such errors as a judge of character still commands the devotion and respect of someone as clear-sighted as Anne.
Ah yes, Anne. Another largely unimpressive feature of the book. It is maddening to see her allow herself to be tread upon again and again, and by the end of the novel there is little to make me believe she has learned anything, that her spine is any stiffer. Are we really supposed to believe that she has been following the golden mean between malleablility (persuasion) and boldness all along? It seems rather like she and Mary represent the opposite poles of error, while Louisa is the one hitting a really healthy stride. In fact, the only thing the narrator--and Anne--can hold against Louisa, aside from a girlish giddiness now and then, is her tumble in Lyme. "Propriety or death" may be a stirring oriflamme for some, but I'll choose the girl with a little spirit as my Joan any day, thank you.(less)