Quite honestly I only read two chapters of this: the one on the Beat Generation and the one on female rebel figures, the latter of which turned out toQuite honestly I only read two chapters of this: the one on the Beat Generation and the one on female rebel figures, the latter of which turned out to bear only a tenuously indirect relation to my topic of study. The former, I wanted to read to supplement my pre-thesis research on the Beat writers (hopefully - I'm not writing it for a good long while yet). This chapter was helpful, shedding light mainly on the various implications of sexual and social atmospheres in Beat writing - the critical play between heterosexuality, homosexuality, and homosociality. So, for example, there's the gynophobia (is that a word?) throughout Kerouac's writing, the homosexual-verging-on-homosocial in Ginsberg's, portrayal of misogyny and of weird homophobic permutations in some of John Clellon Holmes', etc.
I haven't read all of the works Medovoi discusses, but for those I do know, I think he had accurate points to make about them. I hadn't considered the bizarre gender dynamic of that group: all financial responsibility landing on women's shoulders, to allow their husbands or lovers to continue living in accordance with their own uniquely 'masculine' (ha) "beat" philosophies. I.e, not working aside from their writing. It's definitely food for thought.
As for the other chapter, it discussed the roles and portrayals of rebel girls in some totally obscure early '50s films. It was curious, but rather repetitive. It's sad how much explanation is required about the concept of a female rebel (?!?!). ...more
WARNING: no spoilers, but a lot of aimless philosophy.
Although I took a few days after finishing this to let it sink in, these are still my incompletWARNING: no spoilers, but a lot of aimless philosophy.
Although I took a few days after finishing this to let it sink in, these are still my incomplete and less-than-cohesive thoughts on The Stranger. I want to say first that I absolutely hate reading translations, because one language used by one person can never really communicate the same thing as another person in a different language. I feel that what I'm reading is so far removed from Camus' L'etranger as to make it unthinkable that I'm reading much other than Matthew Ward's The Stranger - and who cares about that?!? Nevertheless, I wanted to read Camus, and so I did the best I could.
Some will thoroughly hate/disparage me for saying this. Acknowledged. So here goes: right around p.110 I started feeling like the book had substance. With 13 pages left, it got interesting. That's what I thought for a few lines, anyway. Then I realized how the peculiar inanity of all pages that came before were leading into those breathless 13 pages, and how startlingly that reflects "real" (outside-of-literature) life. The important bits, they generally sneak up on you. This novel is (among many things) an embodiment of the whole 'hindsight is 20-20' concept.
All the way through I couldn't decide how I feel about Mersault. He seems like an unrealistic character in a realistic world. How many of us have met a Mersault? (I've met some partial Mersaults, at least, but none like this.) How does anyone develop an internal life like the one portrayed in his story? He has rejected, or at least hasn't absorbed, normal socially-imposed morality. Yet he's so perfectly understandable. Like all of us, most things he does are done for no very compelling reason; his only difference from the rest of us is that he recognizes and accepts the total inconsequentiality of it all. He knows that we live, we die, and nothing in between matters that much. That made me like him, at the same time as (I admit) I feared him, a little. I feared him because there's a significant part of me that thinks the same way, and maybe there is such a part in all of us. If he is, what the hell kind of a lie are we daily, silently agreeing to live? I think about this more than anyone wants to discuss it with me, so I try not to dwell on it, but this novel forces me to confront it: "the gentle indifference of the world" (p.122). The Mersaults we can pinpoint are far fewer than those who conceal their doubts, bury their knowing, leave their deep convictions (convictions of no conviction) out of their actions and out of their words. And so society goes on, all of us unexplained and unexplainable in our privileges. We are privileged to live, to die, and not to matter.
We know the banality of evil; consider the banality of innocence. If I'm at all correct in my thoughts that we each ARE Mersault more than we want to admit - if so, he is an everyman. Maybe that's why Camus has him smoke so many cigarettes, drink so much wine and coffee. He is simply a more psychologically honest representation of the typical. In an anti-Classical fashion the tragedy of Mersault's life is rooted in his own banality, though I can't decide for whom it is tragic. He concludes the world is "so much like myself – so like a brother, really [...]." And cue shivers up the spine. I found myself wondering whether his atypical awareness condemns or absolves him of what he's done, before I recalled that such a question's against the whole point of the story. Another question: who is "the stranger"? Maybe the answer's not so obvious. But I will save the matter to ponder upon a re-reading.
Guess I should quit pretending I have something to say about this book, hm?
I am probably typical in that this is the first work by Camus that I've read (if only my French was good enough to read the original - alas, not even halfway good enough). My thoughts on this will change as I read more of him, and come to better understand his philosophical position. Do I want to?
Note: the rabbit hole's no deeper than your least favorite coffee mug. Disappointing, isn't it? ...more
I'd buy this book in a moment, if only it would kindly appear before me on a bookstore shelf. I started reading it at a sadly tardy point in the summeI'd buy this book in a moment, if only it would kindly appear before me on a bookstore shelf. I started reading it at a sadly tardy point in the summer, and by the time I was heading back to school the unfinished library book was screaming at me in frustration at my leaving it behind.
Okay, so I could be anthropomorphizing there. Maybe I'd just like to believe that this book loved me as much as I was loving it. David Ulin, I promise I will return to your fabulously far-reaching and philosophical gem. It made me feel a bit like I did when reading The Educated Imagination: as though I had been transported into a world where books are at the centre of everything, where reading books and thinking about books and talking, theorizing, worrying, feeling wholeheartedly passionate about the written world is not the least but the most necessary prereq to being fully alive in the physical world.
I started reading in an airport around six a.m, after having scarcely slept for days. I was feeling queasy from exhaustion. I had a muffin and a Starbucks coffee so dark it was scarcely drinkable, even with the sugar I don't like to add. Ho. Hum. Then - cramping, overtired and concerned about catching my bus - I was sucked into Ulin's smooth stream of commentary - by the end of the first few pages, I felt ridiculously/miraculously transcendental.
Too soon, it had to be sent back to its rightful library. But I will find you, lovely book, and when I do there will be no separating us till I have read to your last page, preferably in one sitting. ...more
I have been enjoying these tales as thoroughly as their serially-published predecessors ( in 44 Scotland Street, which I've yet to review). Based on bI have been enjoying these tales as thoroughly as their serially-published predecessors ( in 44 Scotland Street, which I've yet to review). Based on books 1.5, I'd recommend the Scotland Street series to just about anyone. The burgeoning independence of Bertie, the emergence of Big Lou's smug yet admirable personality, the bluster of Bruce, the incorrigible wisdom of Domenica and her pseudo-motherly relation to Pat - it's all wonderful candy reading. Sadly, now that I'm back at university I had to leave it in my Newfoundland library and await the fortuitous day I'll find it here in Sackville. A full review to come, eventually …. ...more
"Set in the near future, eXistenZ depict a society in which gaming designers are worshipped as superstars and players can acFor those who don't know:
"Set in the near future, eXistenZ depict a society in which gaming designers are worshipped as superstars and players can actually enter inside the games.. The name of the game is eXistenZ – a technology so advanced that it uses biology to transport players into gaming experiences beyond the bounds of virtual reality. eXistenZ taps so deeply into players' fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism." [from the inleaf and back cover]
Two point five stars from me, but that rounds up. I am rating this based on its quality as a stand-alone, that is, without considering that it's based on a film. eXistenZ: A Graphic Novel wears a more-or-less obscuring veil of surreality the whole way through, and while I don't consider that necessarily bad style for a graphic novel, it was rather hard to read. I managed to follow the action (not sure if I'd call it a plot, and the departure from that is admirable) only on what felt to me a basic level. Try as I did to determine what was going on, I was not always able to connect the relation of two side-by-side frames when they were split by a totally unwarned-of saccade from one scene to another. Fine in a movie; confusing in a book.
The artwork here demands mention, and adulation. Scoffield takes the graphic novel through his illustrations to a level of realism I've never encountered in a graphic novel. It's very movie-like which, I gather, is the aim. And it's undeniably gorgeous. Gorgeous, as well as appropriate. It evokes the shadowy world of 'virtual?... or... reality?' with almost chilling efficiency; we can't make out everything that's happening, and we're not sure if the characters inside the frames can, either. Again, though, I have to say that the close-ups and the extreme shading in many frames are frustrating to me. You're in a world with quite a few objects foreign to our own: bioports, Pink-fones, Game Pods and so on. There is a handy glossary of these in the beginning. But in the course of the story, I find myself needing to jump a few frames ahead to learn what exactly an earlier frame depicts, and that took away from my own enjoyment.
Altogether, this is one of those rare times when you need the movie as a starting place to enjoy the literary version. I have not seen Cronenberg's film, and I know I would have found this to be a far richer reading experience if I had. ...more
I found you by chance, my darling, on one of those voracious raids I make on Chapters when lucky enough to get near a city with one. I was thinking neI found you by chance, my darling, on one of those voracious raids I make on Chapters when lucky enough to get near a city with one. I was thinking nervously of starting university in a few months, altogether doubtful of my worthiness to pursue an English degree, and this caught my eye. I knew nothing, or at least believed I did – or was afraid to believe in my grasp of anything at all. I decided it was high time I Took an Interest In Literary Theory. (My, my, aren't we a gung-ho little English major?) So I picked you up, slim volume that you are, and read you over a series of happy, early-morning book-with-coffee sessions. I kept notes while I read through you, silly notes of what was truly a mind-stretching lecture so valuably committed to paper. Immature as I was, you shaped me and deserve the truth, wonderful little book. This tribute cannot be enough, but here is a selection of what I was thinking about you.
"I am thus far hooked. I've read the first chapter through twice, and comprehended that much more for the extra reading. This is, hopefully, just what I need to reaffirm and elaborately develop my knowledge of how important literature... truly is to humankind, individual and social. It makes so much sense. 'The motive for metaphor ... is a desire to associate, and finally to identify, the human mind with that goes on outside it....' Yes, I know he's right, because I've experienced it. I am familiar with, amorous for that sense of connection with the entire world..." - - - - "It's such a basic statement, yet such a broad one... we use the imagination to create joy, and joy is created chiefly through the use of imagination (is basically what Frye is saying.... Note to self: look up D.H. Lawrence [after admiring an excerpt from "Song of a Man Who Has Come Through"].
"This is helping me find new ways to view life and literature in their primary relation to each other... I've always had this sense that most of the 'great' stories are hopeless ones, and that if I lived a blessed and optimistic life, it seemed less and les likely that I could become a 'person of literature.' But how could I bear to live in a world of no happy endings at all – of sad, inevitable pattern? "Now I'm beginning to see, perhaps, another way. We write of our dark times, and of the hope that we may rise above them to be happy again.... the cycle Frye mentions is still happening, "of how man once lived in a golden age .. how that world is lost, and how we may some day be able to get it back again." -- - - "Funny how the stories a child invents are imaginary, while from a writer the same creations are deemed imaginative. Of course, when you think about it, the latter implies far more intention. If a child's games or tales hold symbolic elements that are also within literary convention ... The writer designs, specifically for the purpose of – what? Well, I guess that's what I'm reading this for.... Ah, and now he's connecting religion, science, politics –>allegories –>literature. Trés passionant, à moi. - - - - "So now I've got a good deal ahead of me. Yay. My ultimate goal? To decipherFinnegan's Wake. Without help. And right now? To read the Bible. Kind of makes me feel a tad nauseous. ... so I see that before I go for Paradise Lost I need to have a thorough understanding of the Bible and classic mythology. Damn, will I ever get to read these things? (I expect the same would go for The Iliad and The Odyssey ... god, don't know if I can even spell that....)"
- - - - - - -
"How can this talk have been given in 1962? It's today, it's me, it's us.
"I'm breathing fast and my brain fears to think as fast as it wants to; the dangers of hyperspeed are formidable. Yet I cannot wait to start reading this book again.
"It has everything I need right now, all that I've needed for months and cried about, literally and internally, for countless hours. The answers are here, for me: I hold them in this slim volume that was written forty-seven years ago and I could cry once again, with gratitude and relief and the transformative power of new-discovered insight.
"I know where I went wrong, and why (or most of why ... we are, after all, complex beings – but I can see now what [names of several counsellors] and myself never saw before). I know what's been unproductive over my months of struggling with spirit and mind. And I am beginning to know what to do next.
Since there are no reviews of this yet, I'll give it the basic breakdown.
The good: - a very quick read (took me less than two hours) - does not try to cSince there are no reviews of this yet, I'll give it the basic breakdown.
The good: - a very quick read (took me less than two hours) - does not try to convince you it's the ONLY worthwhile weight loss method in existence - advocates a healthy *lifestyle*, including exercise, rather than pushing toward any type of diet whatsoever - aims for flexibility, and achieves it more successfully than any other plan I've tried, read or heard of - uses common sense, not popular "sense" - recommends NOT stressing over food as the #1 most important thing you can do for your overall health (boy, we should all know that!)
The bad: - spends at least 10 pages on the exordium ("just a regular concerned guy = this is why you should believe me" section), which is not what I paid $40 for. Had to expect it, but I still skipped over much of Pilon's Life of a Subversive Health Nut story. Actually, the fact he collected Muscle and Fitness issues at age ten kind of creeped me out. - one part near the end where he seems to contradict his own earlier declarations about the metabolic results of fasting - a 'reassuringly long' reference section, which nobody will actually read and which probably allowed him to charge more for the ebook (adding 25 pages or so) - quite a bit of discussion on exercise, even though he is careful to admit that it's not his area of expertise. A bit confusing there.
The ugly: - dismal grammar and punctuation at times. Not that I expect anything else from the genre. - why the hell does he keep capitalizing 'Calories'?! For effect? Eye-catchiness? Loser.
All this said, I'd recommend this to others and I'm not sorry I bought it. The approach is something of a breath of fresh air: a theory of health that explicitly tells you NOT to focus on what you eat. If you've been looking beyond the glittery magazines and billboard adverts for Miracle Weight Loss / what-and-what-not-to-eat plans for any length of time (which I have), you'll be able to appreciate the simplicity and pragmatism backed by more than corporately-sponsored "studies." I think in many ways Eat. Stop. Eat complements John Robbins' Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World's Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples. Now there's a fascinating nutritional and cultural voyage. A grammatically-correct one. Double bonus! I knew there was something else to which I was subconsciously comparing this ....
Currently learning one of Haley's longer speeches. I wish my library had the actual play. To perform a monologue without having read the play itself iCurrently learning one of Haley's longer speeches. I wish my library had the actual play. To perform a monologue without having read the play itself is simply wrong, but ah! I really like the monologue.......more