Slow going at times, but the structure is dazzling.
A storytelling contest at a table for ten.
Seven voyages of Sinbad vs. Seven voyages of Simon BaylorSlow going at times, but the structure is dazzling.
A storytelling contest at a table for ten.
Seven voyages of Sinbad vs. Seven voyages of Simon Baylor. (Bey-el-Loor?)
But which tales are fantasy? The ones that come from 11th c Baghdad? Or the 20th c Eastern Shore ones? Or both? But Last Voyage is not a puzzle so much as a game. All tales have frames. Any tale is fantastic, to the right listener.
Baudy, rauchy, funny, tiresome, good old John Barth. Here, more than thirty years after The Sot Weed Factor, he is still in excellent form....more
Statius is the Quentin Tarantino of Latin Epic. It's been awhile since I've encountered such a gruesome tale.
As far as I know, this is our only extantStatius is the Quentin Tarantino of Latin Epic. It's been awhile since I've encountered such a gruesome tale.
As far as I know, this is our only extant epic from The Theban Cycle (as opposed to the more familiar Trojan Cycle, comprised of eight epics or so? The Iliad and The Odyssey are the only ones we have). I'm sure this fact alone would make it of primal significance to classical scholars.
For me The Thebaid's significance lies in the way it serves as a reflection of The Iliad, which of all the classical epics we have is probably The Thebaid's closest relative. I've had trouble penetrating The Iliad before, but with Statius' work in hand I think I can better assess the shape of it, its rhythms, its density of allusions. All the better to make the climb.
Dante assigned Vergil as his guide in The Inferno, but once we get to Purgatory the guide is Statius. I'm not sure what this means, is he second only to Vergil? for instance, but hey if Dante namedrops him then he's probably worth visiting. ...more
A wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss's magazine work from the '20s and '30s. Everything is printed in black & white; I don't know if any of the oriA wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss's magazine work from the '20s and '30s. Everything is printed in black & white; I don't know if any of the originals were color or not. In any case the book is stuffed with so many interesting ideas. No wonder Dr. Seuss went on to such a brilliant career.
There are four sections:
The Essays of Theophrastus Seuss: Roughly a dozen of these, 1-2 pages each, funny short stories masquerading as serious essays.
Dr. Seuss's Little Educational Charts: Have you ever seen those droll little posters featuring The Gentle Art of Making Guinness? That's what these are like. They are great. There's about thirty of them.
Boids and Beasties: Piscozooavistical Surveys: Like the Educational Charts but featuring a bizarre menagerie of animals.
Dr. Seuss's Cartoon Collection: Full-page single-panel cartoons, many of them quite intricate.
One surprise (among several): I was impressed at how often I was reminded of Gary Larson's The Far Side and the collage work of Donald Barthelme. The panels here are much older than both of those & yet they seem just as fresh.
An excellent and enjoyable study of the liberation of Greece, which influenced Romantic poetry and proved to be the first real crack in the Ottoman emAn excellent and enjoyable study of the liberation of Greece, which influenced Romantic poetry and proved to be the first real crack in the Ottoman empire and thus a major factor in the development of modern Europe.
The machinations of Britain, Russia, France, Prussia, The United States, Austria, and Egypt are presented with just the right amount of depth, not so much that I drowned in proper nouns, but dense enough that I would benefit from a reread or two.
The fall of Mesolongi, the role of Lord Byron, and the amazing fate of Trelawny are highlights.
I was very interested in how two loans from London had such a political and military effect on the war. I was also impressed by how poorly this money was managed and how much trouble the Greeks had in paying it back. In fact I think this book can shed some light and context on Greece's recent debt crisis. ...more
My first DeLillo. I figured I'd cherry pick a few that looked interesting, head in a rough chronological order. Maybe Ratner's Star -> White NoiseMy first DeLillo. I figured I'd cherry pick a few that looked interesting, head in a rough chronological order. Maybe Ratner's Star -> White Noise -> Libra -> Underworld?
Anyhow seems to me Ratner's Star is a silly book, which stars boy wonder Billy Twillig ('twas Brillig?) for whom the Nobel Prize in Mathematics is invented just so he can win it.
Billy goes underground to work on a mysterious sequence of 101 digits transmitted from Ratner's Star.
He partakes in dialogue with dozens of experts with silly names. They all specialize in different things, I lost count after about thirty. Some of them are pretty funny though. Most of them leave the book after a single scene.
Communication overall is really pretty hopeless. Billy wanders and talks about zorgs and learns about moholes in a way that is somehow reminscent of the story of Alice in Wonderland. Billy does go down a hole, for instance. I felt like I was going down there with him. Inside the first hole he finds another hole.
I should mention there are some good bits having to do with bat guano.
There's a second story interleaved with the main one, about Billy's unusual upbringing in Brooklyn. This story is much more conventional than the first and in some ways more satisfying.
Ratner's Star is worth a few laughs, but what does it say about science, and how it's really done?
So this is, and shall forevermore remain, the first Latin book I ever finished.
I started this in January and "read" about an hour a day, where we takeSo this is, and shall forevermore remain, the first Latin book I ever finished.
I started this in January and "read" about an hour a day, where we take the verb "read" to mean:
-reading -rereading -looking up words -trying to memorize the very words one has just looked up -studying the notes -scratching one's head
Book 8 of the Metamorphoses is about 900 lines, so overall I managed a pace of about 10 lines/hour. Glacial! Although when I started I was speeding along at only 5-6, and I think now I could muster 15+.
Reading Ovid in the original has helped me to better appreciate poetry written in English. In studying the Latin one is forced to *slow down* and formulate a separate thought concerning each and every word. It takes humility, and a certain reverence of words, to learn how to do this in one's native language. There is so much out there to read, why should any of us slow down? But Ovid has helped me to see why.
There are a few places where Gould & Whiteley have elided a few lines. I have learned that, in at least one case, this was because they were considered obscene.
I went for the Oxford Mark Twain edition. Highly recommended. If you're going to spend time with the master, do it right. The edition is in hardback aI went for the Oxford Mark Twain edition. Highly recommended. If you're going to spend time with the master, do it right. The edition is in hardback and it's a facsimile of the original 1893 printing, so you get all the illustrations and orthographic oddities.
This is my second OMT out of twenty-nine total. I've been thinking it'd be a nice life project to sit down and read them all....more
A little uneven but there are several uproarious peaks.
My Favorites :
Stories/Essays -Three Great Meals -The Palace -The Joker's Greatest Triumph (yes, thA little uneven but there are several uproarious peaks.
My Favorites :
Stories/Essays -Three Great Meals -The Palace -The Joker's Greatest Triumph (yes, that Joker) -The Art of Baseball (with T. S. Eliot @ shortstop)
Plays -The Friends of the Family
Collage Pieces -there are about six of them and really I liked every one, The Nation of Wheels is about exactly that and is the zaniest of them all.
There were a number of shorts I couldn't make heads or tails of, and the other two plays left me bemused. Still a lot of good variety in this volume and some of the head-scratchers will probably warrant a revisit down the road.