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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Sarern posted:

I forgot all about Dark is Rising.

I still liked the first one when I reread parts of it a few years ago but it didn't hold my attention that well and a lot of it felt somewhat generic compared to other modern fantasy. I'm not sure if I still liked it because it was holding up or if I still liked it due to nostalgia effect. The later books in the series I didnt' really like evne when I was younger.

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3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

- Ska du ha maito i kaffet?


I've started writing (in pencil, of course) a warning before forewords in books I read, if they contain spoilers. I never read them before finishing the actual meat of the book but someone else might be tempted.

I've half a mind to write a letter to one publisher asking them to put in afterwords instead.

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



I firmly believe that one shouldn't care about spoilers in books, and if the book is actually so badly written that knowing an event is coming should in some way ruin the experience, then that's on the author

Enfys
Feb 17, 2013

i am a dragon


Hard disagree.

BTW as a warning, Larry McMurtry's introduction spoils major plot points not just for Lonesome Dove but also for Streets of Laredo and it really sucks.

After I finished Lonesome Dove I thought it was safe to go back and read the intro, but learning something that happens in the next one completely killed my desire to read it and actually soured my feelings about Lonesome Dove a bit.

If I had learned what happens while reading it rather than just as a flippant parenthetical, I'd have the emotional investment and full context to appreciate it.

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

- Ska du ha maito i kaffet?


Enfys posted:

If I had learned what happens while reading it rather than just as a flippant parenthetical, I'd have the emotional investment and full context to appreciate it.

I've never read a foreword that talks about the plot that has any value whatsoever (or, rather, the sections that discuss the plot have no value - the rest might be interesting or might not). It's always completely pointless and reads like a 7th-grader's essay on the book.

Teriyaki Hairpiece
Dec 29, 2006

Ask me about my dream Frasier episode where Frasier and Bulldog oil their heads and then rub them together. It's definitely not a fetish of mine, I swear!

https://www.amazon.com/Ursula-K-Guin-Hainish-Stories/dp/1598535374/

I want this so bad. I promise you that's a clean Amazon link, no nonsense.

Teriyaki Hairpiece
Dec 29, 2006

Ask me about my dream Frasier episode where Frasier and Bulldog oil their heads and then rub them together. It's definitely not a fetish of mine, I swear!

Re: spoilers

When I was a lot younger and I'd be wondering how a book turned out, I'd allow myself to skip ahead and read the last page. Only the last page, never anything before. I felt that if I could infer the whole plot from that final page, then the book was obviously stupid and my disrespectful actions were okay.

Sometimes the last page was long, sometimes the last page was short.

More often than not I would find out something I didn't understand at all, without any context, and then going back to where I was currently reading was even more interesting because I then had to find out how A connected to B.

All I'm saying is that if you want to spice up your reading experience take a page from 13 year old TH's playbook and look at ONLY the last page of the book you're currently reading.

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

- Ska du ha maito i kaffet?


Teriyaki Hairpiece posted:

Re: spoilers

When I was a lot younger and I'd be wondering how a book turned out, I'd allow myself to skip ahead and read the last page. Only the last page, never anything before. I felt that if I could infer the whole plot from that final page, then the book was obviously stupid and my disrespectful actions were okay.

Sometimes the last page was long, sometimes the last page was short.

More often than not I would find out something I didn't understand at all, without any context, and then going back to where I was currently reading was even more interesting because I then had to find out how A connected to B.

All I'm saying is that if you want to spice up your reading experience take a page from 13 year old TH's playbook and look at ONLY the last page of the book you're currently reading.

Hmm apparently Arthur Rimbaud died. I kinda already knew that.

aga.
Sep 1, 2008



Can someone persuade me to finish Catcher in the Rye? I'm about 2/3 in and I just hate this kid and how he talks. And there's nothing else to it.

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

- Ska du ha maito i kaffet?


aga. posted:

Can someone persuade me to finish Catcher in the Rye? I'm about 2/3 in and I just hate this kid and how he talks. And there's nothing else to it.

I don't think so. I'm pretty sure my teacher was right when he told us that if we hadn't read Catcher by the age of 15, we shouldn't even start. (Really nice considering he was talking to a room full of university students, all over the age of 19.)

Anyway, I'm greatly benefiting from reading Le Cousin Pons because of Google Image Search and the fact that Balzac really likes to drop names; I'm finding out about a lot of new (to me) painters and other artists as the protagonist is an art-collector. It's strengthening my opinion that a painter's strongest work is usually their self-portraits - the exact opposite of how I feel about literature.



(That's Liotard)

e: I like the book anyway but art is a bonus.

buffalo all day
Mar 13, 2019



aga. posted:

Can someone persuade me to finish Catcher in the Rye? I'm about 2/3 in and I just hate this kid and how he talks. And there's nothing else to it.

if you dont finish you'll do poorly on the pop quiz

regulargonzalez
Aug 18, 2006
UNGH LET ME LICK THOSE BOOTS DADDY HULU YES YES GIVE ME ALL THE CORPORATE CUMMIES ADBLOCK USERS DESERVE THE DEATH PENALTY, DON'T THEY DADDY?
WHEN THE RICH GET RICHER I GET HORNIER


aga. posted:

Can someone persuade me to finish Catcher in the Rye? I'm about 2/3 in and I just hate this kid and how he talks. And there's nothing else to it.

There's a somewhat more grown up version, Camus - l'Etranger but in general, if young adult ennui and general angst and misanthropy isn't in your wheelhouse then you're not going to miss anything by skipping either of them.

Sandwolf
Jan 23, 2007

i'll be harpo



regulargonzalez posted:

There's a somewhat more grown up version, Camus - l'Etranger but in general, if young adult ennui and general angst and misanthropy isn't in your wheelhouse then you're not going to miss anything by skipping either of them.

What is Holden Caulfields “shoot an Arab” moment? The prostitute?

aga.
Sep 1, 2008



buffalo all day posted:

if you dont finish you'll do poorly on the pop quiz

I'm British but thought I'd finally check out some American classics. I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird but the only thing that could make CitR worse was if I had to do an exam on it afterwards. I still haven't managed to finish it, but may as well at this point.

Any other recommendations for American classics?

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN



Grimey Drawer

aga. posted:

I'm British but thought I'd finally check out some American classics. I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird but the only thing that could make CitR worse was if I had to do an exam on it afterwards. I still haven't managed to finish it, but may as well at this point.

Any other recommendations for American classics?

Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway
Of Mice & Men by Steinbeck

And tons of others.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Franchescanado posted:

Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway
Of Mice & Men by Steinbeck

And tons of others.

These are all good of course.

My picks for Great American Novel:

Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Huckleberry Finn -- it would be negligence to not have Twain on such a list

Moby Dick -- it's loving great, it's a great gay whale chase, fuckin love it

Catch-22 : best American war novel, followed closely by Slaughterhouse Five

Go Down, Moses short story collection: best starting place for Faulkner who is the best of the southern writers

buffalo all day
Mar 13, 2019



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Moby Dick -- it's loving great, it's a great gay whale chase, fuckin love it


it's this, it's funny as hell, interesting to read, great characters, wonderful writing, basically perfect.

the great gatsby is a book most people read and probably dismiss after high school because of babby's first symbolism (eyes! green light!) but it's actually really good.

old man and the sea is the easiest hemingway to get through because it's a novella but i like for whom the bell tolls better

the red badge of courage is better than catch22 but it doesnt make you feel smart the way catch22 does so people don't like it as much anymore, but i think the best thing an american has written about america and war is this:
--

Whereasthe Congressoftheunitedstates byaconcurrentresolutionadoptedon the4thdayofmarch last-authorizedthe Secretaryofwar to cause to be brought to theunitedstatesthe body of an American whowasamemberoftheAmericanexpeditionaryforceineuropewholosthis lifeduringtheworldwarandwhoseidentityhasnot beenestablished for burial inthememorialamphitheatreofthe nationalcemeteryatarlingtonvirginia

In the tarpaper morgue at Chalons-sur-Marne in the reek of chloride of lime and the dead, they picked out the pine box that held all that was left of

enie menie minie moe plenty of other pine boxes stacked up there containing what they’d scraped up of Richard Roe

and other person or persons unknown. Only one can go. How did they pick John Doe? . . .

how can you tell a guy’s a hundredpercent when all you’ve got’s a gunnysack full of bones, bronze buttons stamped with the screaming eagle and a pair of roll puttees?

. . . and the gagging chloride and the puky dirtstench of the yearold dead . . .

The day withal was too meaningful and tragic for applause. Silence, tears, songs and prayer, muffled drums and soft music were the instrumentalities today of national approbation.

John Doe was born (thudding din of blood of love into the shuddering soar of a man and a woman alone indeed together lurching into and ninemonths sick drowse waking into scared agony and the pain and blood and mess of birth). John Doe was born

and raised in Brooklyn, in Memphis, near the lakefront in Cleveland, Ohio, in the stench of the stockyards in Chi, on Beacon Hill, in an old brick house in Alexandria Virginia, on Telegraph Hill, in a halftimbered Tudor cottage in Portland the city of roses,

in the Lying-In Hospital old Morgan endowed on Stuyvesant Square,

across the railroad tracks, out near the country club, in a shack cabin tenement apartmenthouse exclusive residential suburb;

scion of one of the best families in the social register, won first prize in the baby parade at Coronado Beach, was marbles champion of the Little Rock grammarschools, crack basketballplayer at the Booneville High, quarterback at the State Reformatory, having saved the sheriff’s kid from drowning in the Little Missouri River was invited to Washington to be photographed shaking hands with the President on the White House steps; —

* * * * *

though this was a time of mourning, such an assemblage necessarily has about it a touch of color. In the boxes are seen the court uniforms of foreign diplomats, the gold braid of our own and foreign fleets and armies, the black of the conventional morning dress of American statesmen, the varicolored furs and outdoor wrapping garments of mothers and sisters come to mourn, the drab and blue of soldiers and sailors, the glitter of musical instruments and the white and black of a vested choir

— busboy harveststiff hogcaller boyscout champeen cornshucker of Western Kansas bellhop at the United States Hotel at Saratoga Springs office boy callboy fruiter telephone lineman longshoreman lumberjack plumber’s helper,

worked for an exterminating company in Union City, filled pipes in an opium joint in Trenton, N.J.

Y.M.C.A. secretary, express agent, truckdriver, fordmechanic, sold books in Denver Colorado: Madam would you be willing to help a young man work his way through college?

President Harding, with a reverence seemingly more significant because of his high temporal station, concluded his speech:

We are met today to pay the impersonal tribute;

the name of him whose body lies before us took flight with his imperishable soul . . .

as a typical soldier of this representative democracy he fought and died believing in the indisputable justice of his country’s cause . . .

by raising his right hand and asking the thousands with the sound of his voice to join in the prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven hallowed by thy name . . .

* * * * *

John Doe’s

heart pumped blood:

alive thudding silence of blood in your ears

down in the clearing in the Oregon forest where the punkins were punkincolor pouring into the blood through the eyes and the fallcolored trees and the bronze hoopers were hopping through the dry grass, where tiny striped snails hung on the underside of the blades and the flies hummed, wasps droned, bumble-bees buzzed, and the woods smelt of wine and mushrooms and apples, homey smell of fall pouring into the blood,

and I dropped the tin hat and the sweaty pack and lay flat with the dogday sun licking my throat and adamsapple and the tight skin over the breastbone.

The shell had his number on it.

* * * * *

The blood ran into the ground.

The service record dropped out of the filing cabinet when the quartermaster sergeant got blotto that time they had to pack up and leave the billets in a hurry.

The identification tag was in the bottom of the Marne.

The blood ran into the ground, the brains oozed out of the cracked skull and were licked up by the trenchrats, the belly swelled and raised a generation of blue-bottle flies.

and the incorruptible skeleton,

and the scraps of dried viscera and skin bundled in khaki

they took to Chalons-sur-Marne

and laid it out neat in a pine coffin

and took it home to God’s Country on a battleship

and buried in a sarcophagus in the Memorial Amphitheatre in the Arlington National Cemetery

and draped the Old Glory over it

and the bugler played taps

and Mr. Harding prayed to God and the diplomats and the generals and the admirals and the brasshats and the politicians and the handsomely dressed ladies out of the society column of the Washington Post stood up solemn

and thought how beautiful sad Old Glory God’s Country it was go have the bugler play taps and the three volleys made their ears ring.

Where his chest ought to have been they pinned

the Congressional Medal, the D.S.C., the Medaille Militaire, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, the Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania, the Czechoslovak war cross, the Virtuti Militari of the Poles, a wreath sent by Hamilton Fish, Jr., of New York, . . . . All the Washingtonians brought flowers.

Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.A._(trilogy)

Teriyaki Hairpiece
Dec 29, 2006

Ask me about my dream Frasier episode where Frasier and Bulldog oil their heads and then rub them together. It's definitely not a fetish of mine, I swear!

The great American novel is The Corrections, because it contains the most accurate depiction of depression in any work of literature this far. So accurate that I will never read it again because it made me feel so bad.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN



Grimey Drawer

Teriyaki Hairpiece posted:

The great American novel is The Corrections, because it contains the most accurate depiction of depression in any work of literature this far. So accurate that I will never read it again because it made me feel so bad.

That's a very myopic definition of "the great American novel".

Teriyaki Hairpiece
Dec 29, 2006

Ask me about my dream Frasier episode where Frasier and Bulldog oil their heads and then rub them together. It's definitely not a fetish of mine, I swear!

It's very sweeping, actually, because I'm saying that "being depressed" is the most American mode, past or present.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Teriyaki Hairpiece posted:

It's very sweeping, actually, because I'm saying that "being depressed" is the most American mode, past or present.

In that case, Mark Twain's nonfiction Autobiography is the great american Book.

Starts out with dreams of riches and glory and fame out West, achieves and fails many times, ends in bitter cynicism

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I'm wondering exactly how books being "available" or "in print" on bookshop websites works.

Specifically, I'm trying to get a complete set of the Amelia Peabody Emerson mysteries from Waterstones, because the British version is larger and nicer than the American one and has consistent trade dress. But only some of them were available. I asked it to notify me when the others became available, and it just notified me that #3 is back in stock (I already have #1 and #2 as well as a few others.)

Is there a way to determine that probably all of them will eventually be back in stock before I start resorting to eBay? (I also kind of want to minimize the number of times I pay to ship books across the Atlantic; the failure rate is reasonably high so far.*)

* although Waterstones has been really helpful about sending out replacement shipments so far, gotta say **

** also they're actually willing to send books to America, whereas Amazon.co.uk seems to believe that a random 50% of its books can't be shipped out of the country for reasons it won't explain even if the first two books in a series are cool for some reason!!!!!!!!!

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Rand Brittain posted:

I'm wondering exactly how books being "available" or "in print" on bookshop websites works.

Specifically, I'm trying to get a complete set of the Amelia Peabody Emerson mysteries from Waterstones, because the British version is larger and nicer than the American one and has consistent trade dress. But only some of them were available. I asked it to notify me when the others became available, and it just notified me that #3 is back in stock (I already have #1 and #2 as well as a few others.)

Is there a way to determine that probably all of them will eventually be back in stock before I start resorting to eBay? (I also kind of want to minimize the number of times I pay to ship books across the Atlantic; the failure rate is reasonably high so far.*)

* although Waterstones has been really helpful about sending out replacement shipments so far, gotta say **

** also they're actually willing to send books to America, whereas Amazon.co.uk seems to believe that a random 50% of its books can't be shipped out of the country for reasons it won't explain even if the first two books in a series are cool for some reason!!!!!!!!!

Unless it's a new edition with matching art that's being released over time, they're probably all in print but don't sell enough to keep constantly in stock.

Also, check out https://www.bookdepository.com/ as an alternative to Waterstones; a bunch of those books appear to be available.

regulargonzalez
Aug 18, 2006
UNGH LET ME LICK THOSE BOOTS DADDY HULU YES YES GIVE ME ALL THE CORPORATE CUMMIES ADBLOCK USERS DESERVE THE DEATH PENALTY, DON'T THEY DADDY?
WHEN THE RICH GET RICHER I GET HORNIER


The Great American Novel is actually Lolita

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Ornamented Death posted:

Unless it's a new edition with matching art that's being released over time, they're probably all in print but don't sell enough to keep constantly in stock.

Also, check out https://www.bookdepository.com/ as an alternative to Waterstones; a bunch of those books appear to be available.

Will do... oh, that one actually has some copies of Sarah Caudwell's first three in stock, although it looks like Constable never got around to publishing the last one.

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

- Ska du ha maito i kaffet?


I'm reading Diderot's Jacques le Fataliste et son Mâitre and it's reminding me that I never finished Calvino's Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore. I have no idea, why, I just stopped reading it some point like ten years ago.

e: Both books are loving with you, is why I was reminded.

bowmore
Oct 6, 2008




Lipstick Apathy

regulargonzalez posted:

The Great American Novel is actually Lolita
You mean the great republican novel

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



what is it with yanks and their obsession with “the Great American [thing]”

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

have you not heard about how exceptional the place is?

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

As I was listing great American novels above I was struck by how many of them take place in not-America

Moby Dick, or Anything is Better Than being Stuck in Nantucket

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I guess it was probably originally a form of inferiority complex that now sticks on as a joke?

It's not like there's a universally-agreed-on great British novel, either.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Moby Dick, or Anything is Better Than being Stuck in Nantucket

That's now how the limerick goes

Rand Brittain posted:

It's not like there's a universally-agreed-on great British novel, either.

Dickens is a boring hack CHANGE MY MIND

buffalo all day
Mar 13, 2019



Bilirubin posted:

That's now how the limerick goes


Dickens is a boring hack CHANGE MY MIND

if you think a tale of two cities is boring then man i dunno

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Bilirubin posted:

That's now how the limerick goes


Dickens is a boring hack CHANGE MY MIND

Seriously, read Nabokov's lecture on Bleak House.

quote:

Some readers may suppose that such things as these evocations are trifles not worth stopping at; but literature consists of such trifles. Literature consists, in fact, not of general ideas but of particular revelations, not of schools of thought but of individuals of genius. Literature is not about something: it is the thing itself, the quiddity. Without the masterpiece, literature does not exist.

The passage describing the harbor at Deal occurs at a point when Esther travels to the town in order to see Richard, whose attitude towards life, the strain of freakishness in his otherwise noble nature, and the dark destiny that hangs over him, trouble her and make her want to help him. Over her shoulder Dickens shows us the harbor. There are many vessels there, a multitude of boats that appear with a kind of quiet magic as the fog begins to rise. Among them, as mentioned, there is a large Indiaman, that is, a merchant ship just home from India:

quote:

"when the sun shone through the clouds, making silvery pools in the dark sea. . . ."

Let us pause: can we visualize that? Of course we can, and we do so with a greater thrill of recognition because in comparison to the conventional blue sea of literary tradition these silvery pools in the dark sea offer something that Dickens noted for the very first time, with the innocent and sensuous eye of the true artist, saw and immediately put into words. Or more exactly, without the words there would have been no vision; and if one follows the soft, swishing, slightly blurred sound of the sibilants in the description, one will find that the image had to have a voice too in order to live. And then Dickens goes on to indicate the way

quote:

"these ships brightened, and shadowed, and changed"


— and I think it is quite impossible to choose and combine any better words than he did here to render the delicate quality of shadow and silver sheen in that delightful sea view. And for those who would think that all magic is just play — pretty play — but something that can be deleted without impairing the story, let me point out that this is the story: the ship from India there, in that unique setting, is bringing, has brought, young Dr. Woodcourt back to Esther, and in fact they will meet in a moment. So that the shadowy silver view, with those tremendous pools of light and that bustle of shimmering boats, acquires in retrospect a flutter of marvelous excitement, a glorious note of welcome, a kind of distant ovation. And this is how Dickens meant his book to be appreciated.

Dickens at his best is one of my favorite authors but at his worst yes he's quite tedious, and often chunks of the same book will be both, and then aargh.

But when Dickens is on he's on, beautiful and heartbreaking and brilliant, an eye that saw characters and places and people and then a voice that communicates them such that they stand clear in your own mind too, you the reader seeing them as clearly as he did, a light jumping from his mind to yours even down the centuries.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 18:02 on Apr 9, 2021

buffalo all day
Mar 13, 2019



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Seriously, read Nabokov's lecture on Bleak House.

ive never read the lecture but i finished bleak house on a plane and i had to put on sunglasses to conceal how much i was blubbering at the end

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

buffalo all day posted:

ive never read the lecture but i finished bleak house on a plane and i had to put on sunglasses to conceal how much i was blubbering at the end

And Bleak House isn't even his strongest work. The first third of David Copperfield, good lord.


Just this passage, after chapters and chapters of suffering -- David's mother has died, his stepfather has abused and beaten him, then abandoned him to work in a child labor factory; finally David makes up his mind, and escapes, trying to make contact with an Aunt who he knows never liked him at all but who is at this point his only hope:

quote:

The morning had worn away in these inquiries, and I was sitting on the step of an empty shop at a street corner, near the market-place, deliberating upon wandering towards those other places which had been mentioned, when a fly-driver, coming by with his carriage, dropped a horsecloth. Something good-natured in the man’s face, as I handed it up, encouraged me to ask him if he could tell me where Miss Trotwood lived; though I had asked the question so often, that it almost died upon my lips.

‘Trotwood,’ said he. ‘Let me see. I know the name, too. Old lady?’

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘rather.’

‘Pretty stiff in the back?’ said he, making himself upright.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I should think it very likely.’

‘Carries a bag?’ said he—‘bag with a good deal of room in it—is gruffish, and comes down upon you, sharp?’

My heart sank within me as I acknowledged the undoubted accuracy of this description.

‘Why then, I tell you what,’ said he. ‘If you go up there,’ pointing with his whip towards the heights, ‘and keep right on till you come to some houses facing the sea, I think you’ll hear of her. My opinion is she won’t stand anything, so here’s a penny for you.’

I accepted the gift thankfully, and bought a loaf with it. Dispatching this refreshment by the way, I went in the direction my friend had indicated, and walked on a good distance without coming to the houses he had mentioned. At length I saw some before me; and approaching them, went into a little shop (it was what we used to call a general shop, at home), and inquired if they could have the goodness to tell me where Miss Trotwood lived. I addressed myself to a man behind the counter, who was weighing some rice for a young woman; but the latter, taking the inquiry to herself, turned round quickly.

‘My mistress?’ she said. ‘What do you want with her, boy?’

‘I want,’ I replied, ‘to speak to her, if you please.’

‘To beg of her, you mean,’ retorted the damsel.

‘No,’ I said, ‘indeed.’ But suddenly remembering that in truth I came for no other purpose, I held my peace in confusion, and felt my face burn.

My aunt’s handmaid, as I supposed she was from what she had said, put her rice in a little basket and walked out of the shop; telling me that I could follow her, if I wanted to know where Miss Trotwood lived. I needed no second permission; though I was by this time in such a state of consternation and agitation, that my legs shook under me. I followed the young woman, and we soon came to a very neat little cottage with cheerful bow-windows: in front of it, a small square gravelled court or garden full of flowers, carefully tended, and smelling deliciously.

‘This is Miss Trotwood’s,’ said the young woman. ‘Now you know; and that’s all I have got to say.’ With which words she hurried into the house, as if to shake off the responsibility of my appearance; and left me standing at the garden-gate, looking disconsolately over the top of it towards the parlour window, where a muslin curtain partly undrawn in the middle, a large round green screen or fan fastened on to the windowsill, a small table, and a great chair, suggested to me that my aunt might be at that moment seated in awful state.

My shoes were by this time in a woeful condition. The soles had shed themselves bit by bit, and the upper leathers had broken and burst until the very shape and form of shoes had departed from them. My hat (which had served me for a night-cap, too) was so crushed and bent, that no old battered handleless saucepan on a dunghill need have been ashamed to vie with it. My shirt and trousers, stained with heat, dew, grass, and the Kentish soil on which I had slept—and torn besides—might have frightened the birds from my aunt’s garden, as I stood at the gate. My hair had known no comb or brush since I left London. My face, neck, and hands, from unaccustomed exposure to the air and sun, were burnt to a berry-brown. From head to foot I was powdered almost as white with chalk and dust, as if I had come out of a lime-kiln. In this plight, and with a strong consciousness of it, I waited to introduce myself to, and make my first impression on, my formidable aunt.

The unbroken stillness of the parlour window leading me to infer, after a while, that she was not there, I lifted up my eyes to the window above it, where I saw a florid, pleasant-looking gentleman, with a grey head, who shut up one eye in a grotesque manner, nodded his head at me several times, shook it at me as often, laughed, and went away.

I had been discomposed enough before; but I was so much the more discomposed by this unexpected behaviour, that I was on the point of slinking off, to think how I had best proceed, when there came out of the house a lady with her handkerchief tied over her cap, and a pair of gardening gloves on her hands, wearing a gardening pocket like a toll-man’s apron, and carrying a great knife. I knew her immediately to be Miss Betsey, for she came stalking out of the house exactly as my poor mother had so often described her stalking up our garden at Blunderstone Rookery.

0245

‘Go away!’ said Miss Betsey, shaking her head, and making a distant chop in the air with her knife. ‘Go along! No boys here!’

I watched her, with my heart at my lips, as she marched to a corner of her garden, and stooped to dig up some little root there. Then, without a scrap of courage, but with a great deal of desperation, I went softly in and stood beside her, touching her with my finger.

‘If you please, ma’am,’ I began.

She started and looked up.

‘If you please, aunt.’

‘EH?’ exclaimed Miss Betsey, in a tone of amazement I have never heard approached.

‘If you please, aunt, I am your nephew.’

‘Oh, Lord!’ said my aunt. And sat flat down in the garden-path.


‘I am David Copperfield, of Blunderstone, in Suffolk—where you came, on the night when I was born, and saw my dear mama. I have been very unhappy since she died. I have been slighted, and taught nothing, and thrown upon myself, and put to work not fit for me. It made me run away to you. I was robbed at first setting out, and have walked all the way, and have never slept in a bed since I began the journey.’ Here my self-support gave way all at once; and with a movement of my hands, intended to show her my ragged state, and call it to witness that I had suffered something, I broke into a passion of crying, which I suppose had been pent up within me all the week.

My aunt, with every sort of expression but wonder discharged from her countenance, sat on the gravel, staring at me, until I began to cry; when she got up in a great hurry, collared me, and took me into the parlour. Her first proceeding there was to unlock a tall press, bring out several bottles, and pour some of the contents of each into my mouth. I think they must have been taken out at random, for I am sure I tasted aniseed water, anchovy sauce, and salad dressing. When she had administered these restoratives, as I was still quite hysterical, and unable to control my sobs, she put me on the sofa, with a shawl under my head, and the handkerchief from her own head under my feet, lest I should sully the cover; and then, sitting herself down behind the green fan or screen I have already mentioned, so that I could not see her face, ejaculated at intervals, ‘Mercy on us!’ letting those exclamations off like minute guns.

Carthag Tuek
Oct 15, 2005

Tider skal komme,
tider skal henrulle,
slægt skal følge slægters gang




Rand Brittain posted:

I guess it was probably originally a form of inferiority complex that now sticks on as a joke?

It's not like there's a universally-agreed-on great British novel, either.

tbh I can't remember hearing the expression used for any other nation than America.

We did have a whole thing about creating a "cultural canon" here in Denmark like a decade ago, but only old or conservative people really cared.
https://kulturkanon.kum.dk/english/

They mostly seem like super safe choices, but I will say that Herman Bang is extremely good.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Carthag Tuek posted:

tbh I can't remember hearing the expression used for any other nation than America.

We did have a whole thing about creating a "cultural canon" here in Denmark like a decade ago, but only old or conservative people really cared.
https://kulturkanon.kum.dk/english/

They mostly seem like super safe choices, but I will say that Herman Bang is extremely good.

Yeah, it's the kind of thing that came up when Americans had legitimate feelings of inferiority towards Europe, culturally-speaking, instead of the whole ludicrous ego thing we do today.

Other countries don't have this because they didn't suddenly come into existence and have to compete as literary snobs with cultures that had been around for a thousand years.

Carthag Tuek
Oct 15, 2005

Tider skal komme,
tider skal henrulle,
slægt skal følge slægters gang




Yeah that's a problem. Can't create a new nation by destroying the history of all the people who live there and still claim a continuous cultural heritage. Either you start from zero or you don't.

Anyway, I was reminded of a passage from Bang's Stuk (the context is simply that our protagonists Lange and Berg are at the theatre, a very good show indeed; also my translation, probably doesnt hold up to the official):

quote:

— Satan, satan, said Lange every minute with increasingly emotional emphasis; he had pinched Berg's arm both yellow and blue.
— Satan, satan...

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3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

- Ska du ha maito i kaffet?


I was looking at the current and upcoming books of several Finnish publishers, and it seems like some smaller ones are really just hanging on thanks to one series that's doing good. Like one is basically just publishing translations of Jeffrey Archer, and another is basically now "the publisher of that series about warrior cats".

I don't mind it, if publishing poo poo and/or kids' books is enough to keep you publishing the occasional good book, that's fine with me. (I have no idea if the warrior cats are poo poo, but unless Archer has hired some nice ghost writers, I'll wager he's still poo poo.)

One publisher started out with yoga books and has continued with that and other "rip off the dumbs" books but also publishes nice translations of solid classics. I'd bet the former bring in the money.

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