The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Several of us were bantering back and forth tonight, and Kate came up with a terrific idea to feature a poem each month for in-depth analysis and discussion. With all of the great minds in this group we honestly thought that it would be great fun to dig into the selected poem and see what we all come up with.

I really don't want the selection process to be a particularly complicated process, and I hope you agree. So, I propose that for those of you interested in deconstructing, analyzing, and discussing a poem each month that you nominate one that you think would be of interest to us.

The only rules are (1) that the poem must be by an author that was alive and writing during our period of time; and (2) that the poem is available on-line, or that you will post the poem in the thread if chosen. When the poem was actually written can fall outside of the period, but the author needs to have been of some literary import during our period (i.e., 1800-1910).

I am not going to create a poll (famous last words), as I think that after a few nominations a consensus on a particular poem may start building. If you are interested in discussing a poem that another member has suggested please feel free to simply 'second' the suggestion. So, post your nominations here, and let's have fun!


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I guess I should put my money where my mouth is. I'll nominate T.S. Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".

Hey! He started it in 1910, so it counts.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Personally, Kate, I think that it is only right and proper that 'Prufrock' should be our inaugural "POTM"! Good job! [I have to tell you that if you hadn't nominated it, I would have ;-)]


message 4: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments OMG!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "OMG!"

Suck it up, dear Lady, just suck it up. I'll give you a free-pass next month. We'll take your fave as the second POTM. Happy now?


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Don't listen to him Rochelle. Nominate something you'd like to discuss instead. We need some more choices on the table before the real lobbying starts.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Don't listen to him Rochelle. Nominate something you'd like to discuss instead. We need some more choices on the table before the real lobbying starts."

Oh, you want to play that way, do you? Okay, forewarned is forearmed. I shall post my nommie tomorrow! ;-)


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Christopher wrote: "Oh, you want to play that way, do you? Okay, forewarned is forearmed. I shall post my nommie tomorrow! ;-)"

I'm looking forward to it. Prufrock was off your list to start with so I'm sure it will be interesting. ;)


message 9: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments POSSIBLE SPOILER: How about Wordsworth's The Thorn which was one of the inspirations for Hetty's story in GE's Adam Bede:-

http://homepages.wmich.edu/~cooneys/p...


message 10: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments I don't think Chris should be allowed to nominate or vote, since he also tallies votes.

BTW--we're up to 33 members now!


message 11: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Ooh Rochelle - don't you trust our dear old Chris?!:O


message 12: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Ooh Rochelle - don't you trust our dear old Chris?!:O

And a very international membership too - I notice that someone has joined from Turkey - Welcom Alev!


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments The Iliad.

Well, it IS a poem!


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "The Iliad.

Well, it IS a poem!"


I'm thinking an intervention might be needed on this Iliad thing :D


message 15: by Historybuff93 (new)

Historybuff93 | 287 comments I second the Purfrock nomination! I would love to go through Purfrock in a detailed manner.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "The Iliad.

Well, it IS a poem!"


Yes, yes, my dear fellow, you are absolutely correct--The Iliad is a poem. I should like to respectfully suggest that we save The Iliad for a group read and discussion in your "Western Canon" group.

However, if it makes it through the selection process, I will wholeheartedly and very willingly participate in a discussion and analysis of it.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "I don't think Chris should be allowed to nominate or vote, since he also tallies votes.

BTW--we're up to 33 members now!"


Okay, I am fine with that; and it makes sense too. I have full faith and confidence in all of you. In fact, that isn't a bad idea, Rochelle. I have worried a bit about the perception of a 'conflict of interest' with book nominations and selections.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Christopher wrote: "Rochelle wrote: "I don't think Chris should be allowed to nominate or vote, since he also tallies votes.

BTW--we're up to 33 members now!"

Okay, I am fine with that; and it makes sense too. I h..."


I actually like the moderator to participate. Please note that Everyman does add his personal choice into the voting mix for each reading of the Western Canon. Whether you choose to actually vote once the nominations are complete is up to you, but it doesn't bother me either way.


message 19: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 23, 2010 10:10AM) (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments I was joking. In all the years I've known Chris, he cheated only once. :O


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "The Iliad.

Well, it IS a poem!"

I'm thinking an intervention might be needed on this Iliad thing :D"


Well then, how about The Wasteland? There's a pleasant, easy to understand poem for a first go.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "Well then, how about The Wasteland? There's a pleasant, easy..."

And your third choice would be...?


message 22: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Well then, how about The Wasteland? There's a pleasant, easy..."

And your third choice would be...?"


Well, then, if both of those are too challenging, how about "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"? :D


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Well then, how about The Wasteland? There's a pleasant, easy..."

And your third choice would be...?"

Well, then, if both of those are too challenging, how about "Tw..."


Crud. The English version was published in 1806 so I can't even get you on a technicality. But I'm sure you have some illuminating commentary planned. :D


message 24: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments It predated Haydn's Surprise Symphony #94 (1791,) which uses it as a theme. It's not eligible.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Rochelle wrote: "It predated Haydn's Surprise Symphony #94 (1791,) which uses it as a theme. It's not eligible."

The French version is much older than the English one. Better lyrics too. We could claim it was the same thing, though.


message 26: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments MadgeUK wrote: "And a very international membership too - I notice that someone has joined from Turkey - Welcom Alev!"

Welcome, Alev! Tell us a little about what you like to read.


message 27: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "Crud. The English version was published in 1806 so I can't even get you on a technicality. But I'm sure you have some illuminating commentary planned. :D
"


Absolutely. For starters, there's epistemology. Then there's perception, relatedness, truth of falsity, reality and unreality, lots and lots of things to talk about.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "Kate wrote: "Crud. The English version was published in 1806 so I can't even get you on a technicality. But I'm sure you have some illuminating commentary planned. :D
"

Absolutely. For starters, ..."


Quite a scintillating list of potential topics.


message 29: by Everyman (last edited Sep 23, 2010 04:12PM) (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "Quite a scintillating list of potential topics. "

You betcha. Like the scientist who handed his pupil a leaf and told him to come back when he had learned everything he could about it. A few hours later the student returned. The teacher looked at him and said, "what, has a whole year passed already?"

Sometimes the simplest things can tell us the most because there's nothing to get in the way.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyman wrote: "Kate wrote: "Quite a scintillating list of potential topics. "

You betcha. Like the scientist who handed his pupil a leaf and told him to come back when he had learned everything he could about i..."


I think we're having this conversation on different levels. I'm trying to make low puns and you are becoming quite zen-like. It's an interesting situation but I'm not sure how to resolve it. :D


message 31: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments He has no sense of humor. :O


message 32: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments LOL Rochelle - are Zen masters supposed to have a sense of humour? I think they have to remain inscrutable and Kate, as a pupil, has to learn how to resolve the situation:D.


message 33: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments All of this from "Twinkle, Twinkle." Try "Happy Birthday to You."


message 34: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments It's almost October, and we need more noms.


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Rochelle wrote: "All of this from "Twinkle, Twinkle." Try "Happy Birthday to You.""

Oh my goodness, way too many levels of context and psychological meaning to even try to analyze here. We would indeed need the full poetry month to do justice to Happy Birthday.


message 36: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kipling's "If" for a fascinating discussion of what defined maleness then and what defines it today.


message 37: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Why only maleness? Can't 'Man' be read unisexily these days?

Or there is a female-centred 'If' by Elizabeth Lincoln Otis.-

'If you can dress to make yourself attractive,
Yet not make puffs and curls your chief delight;
If you can swim and row, be strong and active,
But of the gentler graces lose not sight;
If you can dance without a craze for dancing,
Play without giving play too strong a hold,
Enjoy the love of friends without romancing,
Care for the weak, the friendless and the old;

If you can master French and Greek and Latin,
And not acquire, as well, a priggish mien,
If you can feel the touch of silk and satin
Without despising calico and jean;
If you can ply a saw and use a hammer,
Can do a man's work when the need occurs,
Can sing when asked, without excuse or stammer,
Can rise above unfriendly snubs and slurs;
If you can make good bread as well as fudges,
Can sew with skill and have an eye for dust,
If you can be a friend and hold no grudges,
A girl whom all will love because they must;

If sometime you should meet and love another
And make a home with faith and peace enshrined,
And you its soul—a loyal wife and mother—
You 'll work out pretty nearly to my mind
The plan that 's been developed through the ages,
And win the best that life can have in store,
You 'll be, my girl, the model for the sages—
A woman whom the world will bow before.'


message 38: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 485 comments I love it, Madge! Perhaps we could study both, and have comparisons! And also discuss which lines apply equally well to all, which involve stereotyping, which are unattainable or unnecessary and so on.

I think the following lines are universal:

If you can keep your head, while all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you..

Since these were the lines most often quoted by my father, I never thought of them as being exclusively directed at males.


message 39: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 485 comments Chris, you might be interested to know I have a copy of The Poetical Works of Longfellow which is more than a hundred years old.
Who suggested Song of Hiawatha?...Isn't that a bit long?
I also have Shakespeare: Plays and Poems....more than 130 years old...with microscopic print! What were they thinking?


message 40: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "The Iliad.

Well, it IS a poem!"

Yes, yes, my dear fellow, you are absolutely correct--The Iliad is a poem. I should like to respectfully suggest that we save The Iliad for a g..."


Technically speaking, The Iliad is an Epic Poem and if we are going to start discussing any one of those we need a bit more time to do so and it might conflict with our group novel read. I would nominate Eugene Onegin as an Epic read but I agree with Chris that Epics might be best left for the readers in Everyman's Western Canon to discuss.


message 41: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 485 comments The Iliad is like the political thread...epic!


message 42: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments And as gruesome too:).


message 43: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Why only maleness? Can't 'Man' be read unisexily these days? "

You can read anything any way your want to.

And probably will. :)

But when he specifically ends the poem "you'll be a man, my son," it seems pretty clear, at least to my feeble mind, that in this case he is discussing maleness.


message 44: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Jan wrote: "I also have Shakespeare: Plays and Poems....more than 130 years old...with microscopic print! What were they thinking? "

They were thinking that paper and binding were quite expensive and not to be squandered on big type and wide margins.

I have a few of those books, too. Usually I keep them on the shelf and buy modern versions to actually read.


message 45: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 485 comments And possibly coming out to Australia, better to have one compact complete works than a whole set which would take up a lot of valuable space.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I am lobbying for us to study Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. This poem is driving me to distraction and when I read any of the study guides/criticism of it that I come across I want to shout at the screen. I knew there must have been some reason why I've avoided Eliot for so long, his work is impenetrable. Grrr...


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

David wrote: "I am lobbying for us to study Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. This poem is driving me to distraction and when I read any of the study guides/criticism of it that I come across I want t..."

I'm sure there's a cat in that yellow fog somehow. Does that help? LOL.


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, the possibility of a cat there, 'rubbing its back upon the window-panes', did strike me on one of my early readings. Is the cat then, a metaphor for the feminine?


message 49: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 485 comments Is there a man on Goodreads with a cat as his profile picture?


message 50: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 25, 2010 01:08AM) (new)

David wrote: "Yes, the possibility of a cat there, 'rubbing its back upon the window-panes', did strike me on one of my early readings. Is the cat then, a metaphor for the feminine?"

I connected the first part of that stanza to Sandburg's poem about fog:

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems (1916) "Fog"

Similar tone/mood but then it gets twisted. LOL. Have we made this a de facto poem of the month? Should we just start talking about it and see who we can suck in?


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