"Our Mutual Friend marks a happy return to the earlier manner of Dickens at the end of Dickens's life. One might call it a sort of Indian summer of hi...more"Our Mutual Friend marks a happy return to the earlier manner of Dickens at the end of Dickens's life. One might call it a sort of Indian summer of his farce. Those who most truly love Dickens love the earlier Dickens; and any return to his farce must be welcomed, like a young man come back from the dead. In this book indeed he does not merely return to his farce; he returns in a manner to his vulgarity. It is the old democratic and even uneducated Dickens who is writing here. The very title is illiterate. Any priggish pupil teacher could tell Dickens that there is no such phrase in English as "our mutual friend." Any one could tell Dickens that "our mutual friend" means "our reciprocal friend," and that "our reciprocal friend" means nothing. If he had only had all the solemn advantages of academic learning (the absence of which in him was lamented by the Quarterly Review), he would have known better. He would have known that the correct phrase for a man known to two people is "our common friend." But if one calls one's friend a common friend, even that phrase is open to misunderstanding.
I dwell with a gloomy pleasure on this mistake in the very title of the book because I, for one, am not pleased to see Dickens gradually absorbed by modern culture and good manners. Dickens, by class and genius, belonged to the kind of people who do talk about a "mutual friend"; and for that class there is a very great deal to be said. These two things can at least be said -- that this class does understand the meaning of the word "friend" and the meaning of the word "mutual." I know that for some long time before he had been slowly and subtly sucked into the whirlpool of the fashionable views of later England. I know that in Bleak House he treats the aristocracy far more tenderly than he treats them in David Copperfield. I know that in A Tale of Two Cities, having come under the influence of Carlyle, he treats revolution as strange and weird, whereas under the influence of Cobbett he would have treated it as obvious and reasonable. I know that in The Mystery of Edwin Drood he not only praised the Minor Canon of Cloisterham at the expense of the dissenting demagogue, Honeythunder; I know that he even took the last and most disastrous step in the modern English reaction. While blaming the old Cloisterham monks (who were democratic), he praised the old-world peace that they had left behind them -- an old-world peace which is simply one of the last amusements of aristocracy. The modern rich feel quite at home with the dead monks. They would have felt anything but comfortable with the live ones. I know, in short, how the simple democracy of Dickens was gradually dimmed by the decay and reaction of the middle of the nineteenth century. I know that he fell into some of the bad habits of aristocratic sentimentalism. I know that he used the word "gentleman" as meaning good man. But all this only adds to the unholy joy with which I realise that the very title of one of his best books was a vulgarism. It is pleasant to contemplate this last unconscious knock in the eye for the gentility with which Dickens was half impressed. Dickens is the old self-made man; you may take him or leave him. He has its disadvantages and its merits. No university man would have written the title; no university man could have written the book."
Depois do irônico conto O Crocodilo, Dostoiévski expõe suas Notas de Inverno sobre Impressões de Verão, relatos de sua viagem a vários países da Europ...moreDepois do irônico conto O Crocodilo, Dostoiévski expõe suas Notas de Inverno sobre Impressões de Verão, relatos de sua viagem a vários países da Europa no verão de 1862. Mordaz e interessante, esse livro mostra a origem de vários temas do autor, como o célebre Palácio de Cristal das Memórias do Subsolo.(less)
Inspirado pela vida do herói Chouan Jacques Destouches. Muito bem escrito. D'Aurevilly está sempre acompanhado, na minha cabeça, pela expressão "o dând...moreInspirado pela vida do herói Chouan Jacques Destouches. Muito bem escrito. D'Aurevilly está sempre acompanhado, na minha cabeça, pela expressão "o dândi". Tenho vontade ler mais livros dele.(less)
O livro que prenuncia os Cinco Elefantes, que prenunciou, aliás, metade da literatura do século XX, de Kafka a Brodski, o livro que fez Nietzsche dize...moreO livro que prenuncia os Cinco Elefantes, que prenunciou, aliás, metade da literatura do século XX, de Kafka a Brodski, o livro que fez Nietzsche dizer que Dostoiévski é o único psicólogo de quem ele aprendeu algo, que inspirou o roteiro de Taxi Driver e grande parte do existencialismo. O que pode ser dito de uma lenda? Talvez não devessem existir críticas, apenas avisos.(less)
Leskov não é tão conhecido no ocidente como outros escritores russos, por algum motivo que me escapa. Lady Macbeth do Distrito de Mtzensk conta a hist...moreLeskov não é tão conhecido no ocidente como outros escritores russos, por algum motivo que me escapa. Lady Macbeth do Distrito de Mtzensk conta a história de uma mulher jovem e entediada que se transforma, sem um momento de arrependimento, em uma fria assassina. Uma narrativa magistral. Ótima tradução de Paulo Bezerra.(less)
“L'étude du beau est un duel où l'artiste crie de frayeur avant d'être vaincu.” “Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour...more“L'étude du beau est un duel où l'artiste crie de frayeur avant d'être vaincu.” “Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve. Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous. Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d’un palais, sur l’herbe verte d’un fossé, dans la solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l’ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue, demandez au vent, à la vague, à l’étoile, à l’oiseau, à l’horloge, à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est et le vent, la vague, l’étoile, l’oiseau, l’horloge, vous répondront: “Il est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps, enivrez-vous; enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.” “Malhereus peut-être l'homme, mais heureux l'artiste que le désir déchire.” “Il n'est pas donné à chacun de prendre un bain de multitude.”(less)