As far as modern poetry goes, I'm a pretty big Gioia fan. There were some real gems in here, like the ghost story poem and "The Angel With the BrokenAs far as modern poetry goes, I'm a pretty big Gioia fan. There were some real gems in here, like the ghost story poem and "The Angel With the Broken Wing." ...more
I've never been a huge Divine Comedy fan, especially not the Inferno, so after reading that, I didn't have much hope for the other 2/3 of the story. II've never been a huge Divine Comedy fan, especially not the Inferno, so after reading that, I didn't have much hope for the other 2/3 of the story. I did like this more than the Inferno, but, still, I just don't agree with Dante's worldview enough to get really into it.
This translation is interesting, abandoning the strict terza rima by not following through with the rhyme scheme - it's not 'aba bcb' but 'aba cdc.' Also, the meter is whackadoo. Some lines scan great, but a lot are hell (haha, get it) to read in any sort of rhythm. Admittedly it irritated me for a while - the ideal version of Dante's tightly-woven, puzzle-piece poetry is usually what I live for, tbh - but after reading a few cantos of the Penguin edition, which DOES have the terza rima and reasonable meter, I actually sort of like this version better. It's less ornamental, more conversational, as if Dante is actually telling a story, rather than writing a poem. If that makes sense. So I have nothing against this edition, and even enjoy its flaws as something more than flaws. It's good.
There were some good punches of emotion, too, particularly towards the end. Almost all of it has to do with Dante and Virgil interacting. When Dante has to pass through the fire and Virgil's trying to convince him to go? When Dante goes to hide behind Virgil's skirts and Virgil is GONE? Ouch. So good. This version really bromances it up and that was, honestly, my favorite part. Not enough to give it four stars, not hardly, but... still. It deserves a mention....more
Really nice poetry. I like the three-stanza, unrhymzed, iambic pentameter thing he's got going on, especially in the longer, narrative poems. That's wReally nice poetry. I like the three-stanza, unrhymzed, iambic pentameter thing he's got going on, especially in the longer, narrative poems. That's where he really shines, I think. He's got a very calm, almost unpoetic voice - it's not trying to be beautiful poetry, it's just sort of trying to tell a story. Which is why, I think, it works better for the narratives. "Counting the Children" gave me minor chills, whereas the language wasn't quite powerful enough to give most of the shorter poems a punch. Still, nice. Very easy to read. Calming, even the sadder stuff....more
First book: Delightful! Many of the scenes got to be a little boring, but overall, I loved this book. Maybe it was because I was forcing my own interpFirst book: Delightful! Many of the scenes got to be a little boring, but overall, I loved this book. Maybe it was because I was forcing my own interpretations of the character dynamics and situations on the story, but I really did enjoy it. Una is great, Redcrosse is very interesting, and the Una/Redcrosse/Arthur teamup was so much fun! The conflicts all worked well, especially the ones toward the end. I liked it.
Second book: Eh... not so much. This book is much more scattered than the first, and /so/ much more didactic. There isn't so much a sense of the story going somewhere organically; it's just Spenser shoving his characters into various moralizing situations. My favorite scene was the one with Braggadochio and the beautiful huntswoman - I firmly believe that any Spenserian woman threatened with rape should attempt to stab her attacker with a spear, rendering him too afraid to chase her when she runs away. Good problem solving, mystery woman. But it was a mystery, and I'm still not really sure why that scene was even in this book, as nothing about it affects anything else in the story. Maybe I need to read it more than once, but it just didn't flow as well as the first book, or with as many interesting characters and conflicts.
Third book: YES. YES. YES. And again, YES. Britomart is amazing. (I just finished the final book, so my reviews will be shorter and less helpful.)
Fourth book: I LOVED THIS BOOK. I'm not sure whether this or Book 3 is my favorite. Probably Book 3, but this one comes close. Britomart rescues her man. I love it (I think the mature thing is to look over what our culture now deems "misogyny" or "patriarchy" because no one getting mad at Spencer's morals are going to actually change his story or make it less fun).
Fifth book: Eh, fine. Artegall is fine. I don't think he's worthy of Brits, but he'll do, I suppose. Even if he does have a metal man to do his dirty work.
Sixth book: Eh. Okay. I liked the Arthur-and-Timias parts best, of course, because I have a huge soft spot for Timias and his love for Belphoebe (who was unfortunately missing). This one got really bogged down in lots of characters and interlaced situations. I just hope Artegall got back to Brits.
Overall: I want to give this three stars and four at once. Three is probably more accurate for a mean score, but I'm still SO in love with Books 1/3/4 that I feel like a four-star rating is more true to my enthusiasm for what I do like. It's a difficult book and it's often not fun at all, even in my favorite books, and gosh knows I went to university summaries more often than not because I could not be bothered to disentangle plotlines for characters I didn't care about.
But it's a classic for a reason. And I DO LOVE ME SOME BRITOMART AND BRITOMART/AMORET FRIENDSHIP. And Arthur/Timias, and Timias/Belphoebe.
I want to write a few retellings. Some of these characters are just so alive! ...more
I love Antigone. The story is probably my favorite non-gods-related one in Greek literature, mythological or dramatical or whatFIRST BOOK OF 2015 YO.
I love Antigone. The story is probably my favorite non-gods-related one in Greek literature, mythological or dramatical or what have you. I've read a couple translations - not many, but a few - and I was looking forward to a more modern take in Heaney's translation.
It was and it wasn't. The language was more modern, with punchier dialog and simpler sentence structure. But that's about where the modernness ended - there wasn't really a modern vocabulary or sensation. It felt like simplification rather than modernization. It was trying to be Greekly majestic without a defined voice, which really just falls flat.
Still, it's Antigone. And a few sections - like the recounting of Haemon's death and Ismene's second scene - had fantastic description and action. ...more