"But the Great American Novel—the picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence—the American "Newcomes" or "Miserables" will, we"But the Great American Novel—the picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence—the American "Newcomes" or "Miserables" will, we suppose, be possible earlier!". John William DeForest New York., 9 January 1868
"The great American novel: still great?" Jonathan Jones 7th July, 2010 in The Guardian
"...the very idea of the Great American Novel now seems hopelessly naïve and unevolved and, like any fashion that’s become passé, a bit of an embarrassment". C.E. Morgan 08.16.12 in The Daily Beast
"Lee Siegel wrote a piece for the New York Observer back in 2010 declaring that the American public no longer talk about novels and that this creative form, once so full of fire, has lost its spark for ever." Michael Kozlowski, April 5, 2014
"Well, "Great..." has been trendy, an expression, for the past few months; you know what I mean". OWLSEYES, 12 October 2016
This had been my summertime drag; three hundred pages (plus) read and I still don’t know why the title “Freedom”. Some pages yet to be read….until I’m finally free.
Of my summertime notes I take these as examples of my thinking: “reading Franzen’s it’s like traversing a 90% back-matter galaxy…,void upon void, vacuum after vacuum….save some dispersed molecules …relating…here and there”. I was sort of desperate then. These “molecules” were, of course, the novel’s characters; members of the Berglund family.
And yet, again on the tittle Freedom, I had seen one single connection (with the tittle) that far (on page 230); a building which had a sort of quote: “USE WELL THY FREEDOM”.
I’ll keep on reading and searching. Maybe I will find a new civilization. ...more
Contemporary American poet Billy Collins considers the poem (from Leaves of Grass) of WW the “first truly American poem”. WW had broken “the boundaries of the sonnet”.
Symonds book is old, but it’s a good introduction to the biography of the American poet. With some photos, it depicts a “tolerant to criticism” poet, born in Long island, New York, in 1819.
WW (he made some changes in the name) was the second son of a family of 8 children. It was a farmer’s family; a “daily and daring rider” mother, when young; a mix of Dutch and Welsh blood. The father being a carpenter was also a real-estate speculator. By the age of 21 WW left his family.
For some time WW had the editor post in some magazines or papers. Symonds depicts the young, blue-eyed WW as having the look of “animal health” and the appearance of a gladiator. A self-educated man.
The book contains the letter Emerson sent to WW after reading “Leaves of Grass”. Emerson wrote: “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom “…he had ever met.
I would recall the poem required WW to invest his personal money in the publication of the book; also some reviews by himself (although unidentifiable) praising his own scripture.
It was civil-war time. The country was divided. It was a book believed to prevent the civil war; meant to inaugurate a “new friendship”; an attempt to “force America to face its new strange self” (the war’s).
On questions of style I have made my own search elsewhere and collected these notes on the preparatory stages of writing “Leaves of grass”. It appears that in his notebook WW had written some time before starting his poetry: “be simple and clear, be not occult”; “every soul has its own individual voice”.
As Symonds noted, the God of WW was not that of Spinoza, but the “God of the Abysm, of the Gnostics”.
Some called WW the “poet of the eternity”. Others: “the good grey poet”.
I’ve watched the movie by Corman (1962), based on the book.
Mr Cramer, the main character played by W. Shatner, arrives to Caxton with a sort of “misI’ve watched the movie by Corman (1962), based on the book.
Mr Cramer, the main character played by W. Shatner, arrives to Caxton with a sort of “mission”: to promote racial hate, it seems. He’s got all the seducing techniques you can imagine. He’s an agitator; a master instigator. He intrudes upon the psyche of the people and the life of this small place; soon, black people are in a dire situation; ads start saying: “nigger out!"....more
There’s an interesting introduction into the world of this Lithuanian community of Chicago. The main scene being the marriage of 16-year -old, blue-e
There’s an interesting introduction into the world of this Lithuanian community of Chicago. The main scene being the marriage of 16-year -old, blue-eyed Ona, running into tears often, …with Jurgis, a much older man.
Special attention has been given to the description of the characters dancing or just chatting over the table; but center-stage remains the trio-band (moving, sometimes, over the room!): Tamoszius, the 5-feet leader, the violin player, supported by another violin, of a Slovak man, and a third fat man who plays the bass part on a cello. The band tunes make the minds and hearts of those attending to recall Lithuania.
Alina is the beauty of the evening, but she’s too proud. She’s countered by Jadvyga: beautiful, yet humble.
There’s plenty of Lithuanian language in the air…and in the songs…and waltzing. Jokubas contribution to the “party” is his “poetical imagination”. Antanas, the precociously “old” man, has got difficulties starting his solemn speech due to lungs problems gotten in his job, now in America.
The author, from the very beginning, points to the work aspects of these people. Take a few cases: Tamoszius works in the “killing beds”; Marija , the very first character of the book, works in a “canning factory” . …and Mikolas is a beef boner; a “trade” which may imply “blood poisoning”.
The book had an impact on the denunciation of (bad) work conditions and the promulgation of appropriate laws to correct these situations in America, in the beginning of the 20th century.
The facts are these: on the 2nd of October, 2006, in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania USA, a man got inside a school (belonging to an Amish community), shot The facts are these: on the 2nd of October, 2006, in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania USA, a man got inside a school (belonging to an Amish community), shot 10 school girls and then killed himself. Five children got killed.
I’ve watched the movie (Amish Grace) based on the book… and those facts.
Obviously, it was a tragedy for both the children’s parents and to the wife of the shooter, namely. The story has an high point, because it revolves around the notion of forgiveness (a very distinct trait of the Amish community). Still, on the facts domain, I would refer the mother of the shooter who, some years on, said there are “no words to describe what it felt like…70 Amish people encircling us” (at funeral’s day). The wife of the shooter spoke of “redemption”. Defying logic and human common sense, the Amish community followed the way of forgiveness.
The fictionalized story talks about a man ruminating upon a baby child he’d lost; he’s preparing the assault on the school, telling no one about that. When it happens (the tragedy) some of the parents of the children involved follow the way of forgiveness.
But there’s one mother --Ida--who dares to “hate the man who took our daughter’s [Mary Beth] life”; she thinks about leaving the community; grief-therapy sessions won’t work. Her sister had been shunned in the past from the community.
During those sessions, it’s easy to spot strong, opposing currents of feelings; on one side some mothers who point the way of forgiving, but Ida being very reluctant, facing the troubled wife of the shooter, unmercifully. Also, a reporter who wonders repeatedly throughout the movie: how genuine the forgiveness had been.
The movie will surely make you wonder about those common terms (and dilemmas) such as “forgetting and forgiving”, “justice by man versus divine justice”; pardon or…. forgiving.
Meanwhile, one of the children (Rebecca) who had been in a coma, in hospital, recovers and tells about the brave attitude of Mary Beth before being killed. MB asked to be shot first and nevertheless would pray for the shooter. Upon knowing these details Ida changes her attitude and affirms: “before she died …MB had forgiveness in her heart, I cannot do no less”.
The story results great because it challenges one to see the difference between an world-view [check on the reporter] and the Amish community very uncommon way of life; one of humility, kindness …the community above the individual.
Nabokov was a Russian writer born in 1899, of an aristocrat family of St Petersburg… ;a polyglot, he came to be. He emigrated
Nabokov was a Russian writer born in 1899, of an aristocrat family of St Petersburg… ;a polyglot, he came to be. He emigrated to the US and there he wrote Lolita.
"None of my American friends have read my Russian books and thus every appraisal on the strength of my English ones is bound to be out of focus. My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody’s concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses--the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions--which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way" Nabokov on an essay*.
He lectured at Cornel University for 10 years. From 1961 till 1977 he lived in Montreux, Switzerland, in a hotel, with his wife. There, he continued his other passion: butterflies (how an expert he was on that!). He had many of the alpine type, to collect.
(perspective on the couple)
A hotel barman would say of them: it seemed wife wrote more than the author, because he spent “many hours roaming …in butterfly hunting”. They gave no tips.
Yet, I still don’t understand why Montreux reminded him of Russia. The expatriate would say in his last years of life: “there’s nothing to look at”, in Russia.
I’ve heard about the censorship the novel was subjected to. Lolita was refused by four publishers in the US; only in France it got published by Olympic Press. It was a book like “Naked Lunch” or “Lady Chatterley's lover”: censored. Nabokov had later to write an essay affixed to the book,(to appease angers??) where he spoke about: “how reader and writer meet at the …misty mountain of imagination”.
Martin Amis wrote about Lolita’s prose: it was like “a muscle-bound man”; a show-off? I wonder.
It seems Nabokov liked Kafka: Thomas Mann and Rilke were dwarfs, compared to Kafka.I've seen a [funny?] footage of someone pretending to be Nabokov lecturing on Kafka's Metamorphosis bug:"some (Jews) don’t know they have... wings".
I haven’t read it all…just seen some footage of the film made.The first pages suggested me the story of a fixation (in the psychoanalytical sense): scholar Humbert Humbert’s: on a 12-year-old girl called Dolores.