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Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




I hope you're reading the real versions of those Twain books, with the illustrations. It's disgusting that they're so often left out.

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




OscarDiggs posted:

A Connecticut Yankee because it seems the most fun apart from Huckleberry
Hoo boy.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




I was hoping that the guy who's read the book would respond, but I guess not (yet?).

OscarDiggs posted:

Now I don't know the first thing about books, but it sort of feels like the book is over explaining? “My mothers body had been wrapped from head to toe in saffron silk cloth... her death was so grand that I knew, all at once, that her life must have been miserable.” Isn't that telling, not showing?
First, "show, don't tell" is an idea that kids are taught in school as a rule of thumb to mitigate their worst tendencies, not an axiom of Good Writing. (The same goes for things like always using the active voice, never using adverbs, etc.)

But, more importantly, to say that this unduly "tells" is to completely miss its point. Even though I have no context for the sentence, I know that Aravind Adiga didn't write it to explain to me that this woman had a miserable life. He is using that information to make a statement. Now, not having read the book, I can't say what that statement would be, but here are some things that, in a vacuum, it could say:

• The lavish funeral is some kind of karmic reward for the mother's long-suffering in life.
• Her funeral is a hollow compensation for a life without fulfillment.
• The funeral is a symbol of a just afterlife for those who are unfortunate.
• It doesn't actually mean anything, but Balram wants it to, either for an emotional reason or simply because he projects grand patterns onto whatever he sees.

It could mean any of these things. It could mean something else entirely. It could "mean" one but end up saying another. It could have multiple meanings depending on how you connect it to the rest of the book or its social context or the author's life or whatever you want. I don't know, but whatever it might happen to be is irrelevant, because all of these examples and ideas are information beyond the simple facts of the funeral and even beyond the idea (not fact) of the miserable life. If you want to apply "show, don't tell" here, Adiga is actually "showing", rather than "telling", because he's trusting his readers to understand the significance of how Balram thinks about his mother's funeral instead of just spelling everything out for them. Heck, writing a novel at all instead of a monograph on modern India's economic development is "showing", not "telling". (See how vague and unenforcable this rule can get when you try to hold serious writing to it?)

All of this is to say that literature is not written for a school assignment. It has bigger things on its mind.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 22:53 on Oct 24, 2018

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




I will refrain from commenting on Russian literature because I blather on about it in every other book thread, so instead I'll take the opportunity to recommend the most beautifully written book I've ever read, The Gold Bug Variations, by Richard Powers.

Read The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina before the "and" books, especially the molasses swamp that is War and Peace.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




OscarDiggs posted:

Because there are already a load of recomendations (thank you very much people!) I will settle ooooon... A Hero of Our Time.


If you're also going to read The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Kirsten Lodge's translation is the best. Her version of Notes from the Underground is also superb, although she has strong competition there from Ralph Matlaw's revision of Constance Garnett's translation. (A rule of thumb: Garnett translations themselves are hit-and-miss, but revised Garnett is almost always excellent.)

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Oct 29, 2018

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




He's basically right about Garnett and the Maudes. But that's where a good revision makes all the difference.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




The opening line of Dead Souls describes Chichikov as the kind of middling gentleman who has a hundred serfs.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 11:09 on Nov 1, 2018

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




OscarDiggs posted:

Probably not, the old one is doing fine as in.
It was randomly locked for a while until Hieronymous Alloy reopened it. My guess is that the OP just wanted to gently caress with people a bit.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is better than Frankenstein at less than half the length.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




I'm glad that you liked the book! Godspeed on whatever you read next.

OscarDiggs posted:

"We might not have arrived; but nevertheless we did." I read this book twice and I'm still having difficulty parsing this.
There was a possibility that they wouldn't arrive, but they arrived anyway.

OscarDiggs posted:

Byron appears more then once, so I looked him up on Wikipedia. Did you lot trick me into reading some Russian guys fanfiction about a Byronic hero? No judgement here if you did, I still liked it a lot.
Pechorin is a superfluous man. The superfluous man would love to be a Byronic hero but is actually just a piece of poo poo.

Lermontov's poem about the death of Pushkin probably qualifies as "fanfiction about a Byronic hero", though.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 04:28 on Nov 7, 2018

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Frankenstein isn't genre fiction. Creating what would become a genre template is pretty much the opposite of following one.

Edit:

vyelkin posted:

I'd again suggest something shorter before tackling Dostoevsky. Short stories would be a good choice, or I'll again recommend two short novels, Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter and Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog. Both are really excellent.
Dostoyevsky also wrote short stories, including the science-fiction parable "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man", which is well worth reading. (But if I'm recommending shorter Dostoyevsky, I should just cut to the chase and say Notes from the Underground.)

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 06:49 on Nov 7, 2018

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Even if I agreed with you (and "quality" isn't the question here; I love Philip K. Dick as much as anyone), it wouldn't change that A human heart was completely right in pointing out that the OP does not want to read genre fiction for this thread.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 08:19 on Nov 7, 2018

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




God Of Paradise posted:

John Kennedy O'Toole
http://twitter.com/dril/status/922321981

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




All books are literature by definition.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Here's a cheat code: You can't look at a text in light of the author, but you can look at it in light of other texts by the author, including memoirs, personal correspondence, etc.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Mel Mudkiper posted:

Sure you can give the book a historical/biographic reading but that is not a more essential reading than one which ignores it
I was just clarifying that "There is ONLY reader and text. There is no author," doesn't preclude that context for the book.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Mel Mudkiper posted:

Sure, but in that case the author exists as a consideration of the reader applied to the text, not an independent third body
This is my exact point.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




jagstag posted:

maybe im not explaining myself correctly. I'm not saying anything outside of an authors intent or context is a wrong reading but that there are wrong takes especially ones that are completely counter to the context/intent
Being counter to authorial intent does not invalidate a reading. The ostensibly anti-racist YA novel Save the Pearls is infamous for actually being insanely racist.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




It's not a rule at all, and it's a moot point with the cheat code I gave you anyway.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




jagstag posted:

however if you apply no wrong readings to everything how are you going to cover satire

Mel Mudkiper posted:

A reading can never be wrong. However, it can be weak or inconsequential.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




The only way for a reading to be wrong is if it's factually inaccurate about the contents of the text, but then it isn't a valid reading in the first place. Assuming that you're talking about what's actually described in a satire, you can absolutely choose to read it as an endorsement of what it condemns. It would be dumb, but it wouldn't be wrong.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




jagstag posted:

so if i was to say that a modest proposal was actually pro baby eating you would say that the reading is weak/inconsequential and not wrong?
Correct.

Edit: Mel's answer is better.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




jagstag posted:

then who is to say what is a dumb reading and what is a good reading?
You are.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Why does there have to be some infallible authority on the Correct Reading of a text?

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




my bony fealty posted:

in my reading Hamlet's dad's ghost is actually a hologram projected by space aliens and Yorick's skull is that of the starchild, therefore Shakespeare is arguing ancient aliens are real, prove me wrong!!

I have known someone who was an obstinate believer in "objective readings" and would say dumb poo poo like this to prove that subjectivity is wrong or w/e, and they were an English major :/ :/
Maybe his brain was poisoned by bad undergrad classes. No reading of The Tempest was too contrived or masturbatory for my sophomore Shakespeare class to turn into an hour-long tangent.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




That professor owns.

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




He's my kind of guy.

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




jagstag posted:

im not saying the theory stated behind it is narrow but to considering only the recent theory as the only valid part is narrow especially since it's a continued debate that hasn't concluded and probs never will be as long as people care about this poo poo
Your mistake here is caring about this poo poo.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




jagstag posted:

the thing is im not actually arguing in good faith here. was invited to cover critical reading theory and critique as it applies to reading histories for an acquaintance's class next week and im extremely out of practice w/ explaining why the arguments i posted prior are dumb to brad the military vet and ethel the bible studies major who i know are going to use these arguments because i have heard these before. so i kinda do have to care about this poo poo :/

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Yeah, there's a hell of a lot more than that waiting for you, including society and economics. Keep reading.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 04:50 on Nov 22, 2018

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




OscarDiggs posted:

I liked it, despite how depressive it was. It was satisfying in a way to have the bullshit of such a life fully examined and shown to be ludicrous in it's way. Buuuut... I don't know, it also felt a little... propaganda-y? Like the author was sitting on his high horse and lecturing me. Maybe that's unfair and cynical though.
No, that's definitely a fair impression of Tolstoy, don't worry.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




immolationsex posted:

My point is, I don't really know anything about Tolstoi, how mature he was as a writer at this point, or what 'phase' he was in (if he had those).
I don't have the time for the effortpost that this deserves, but he was very much in his "mature" "phase" at that point. His spiritual crisis in 1879 turned him into a radical mystic and social activist who eventually had his own religious movement. His writings at this stage were a direct influence on Gandhi's campaign of non-violent resistance. I would recommend Confession and The Kingdom of God Is Within You as essential late Tolstoy.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 18:36 on Nov 23, 2018

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




OscarDiggs posted:

This dip into Russian Literature hasn't been interesting and eye-opening,


OscarDiggs posted:

At this moment I am considering "A Confederary of Dunces" quite heaviliy, with the other options still there in the back of my mind. Also, I managed to get my hands on a few books from family, which included "A Scarlet Letter", "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Heart of Darkness" and 2 different versions of "The Oddysey".
Read A Confederacy of Dunces, but also read Heart of Darkness in the same session; it's barely long enough to be a book.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




OscarDiggs posted:

One thing, I am sort of getting the feeling I'm missing a core detail. Is there some important context I should know before getting to far in or can I safely take it at face value?
I don't quite understand the question. The only thing I'd really point out is that the book is less about Ignatius than it is about the people connected through him, but I'm sure that you already picked up on that yourself.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




What Mel is arguing is that a book can only be adequately "against racism" if it takes on a marginalized racial perspective directly. Maybe Harper Lee should have kept that in mind when writing about something that literally happened in her childhood.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Don't misunderstand me; I think that turning efforts against racism, particularly one as massively successful as To Kill a Mockingbird, into a wokeness contest is counterproductive.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 03:21 on Jan 10, 2019

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Mel Mudkiper posted:

I am not arguing that books that are against racism can only be written from marginalized perspectives, or that books against racism should be seen as wokeness contests.

Instead, I am arguing that even books which are well-meaning are still both artifacts both of their era and the subject positioning, and can and should be interpreted in that way. A book is both text and totem. Take for instance Huck Finn. While it was written with, historically, a deeply progressive depiction of blackness, it cannot be denied that Jim is still ultimately a de-humanized and agency-free counterpart to the proactive white protagonist. Even a book written with the intent of speaking against racism is not inoculated to racism. Giving a pass to reductive depictions of race because they are well-meaning is fundamentally intellectually and socially toxic. Frankly you should know better than to resort to such obvious and reductive attempts to distract from criticism. I am disappointed in you.
Your entire objection to the book is that it's centered on the white character's perspective instead of the black one's. Again, Harper Lee wrote the book as a retelling of her own experience. If she had tried to center the book on Tom's perspective, she not only would have been at a disadvantage creatively in trying to portray an experience alien to her, telling a story that she had lived from a position that she hadn't, but would be open to criticisms of blackface and appropriation of black experience and white-savior presumption in speaking for black people. In this framework, a white writer telling this story has only losing moves, which is unreasonable when she's telling her own story for a patently good cause.

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




You know what, that's a fair point. I apologize for misunderstanding you.

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




pleasecallmechrist posted:

See quote. Without hysterical unquestioning zealotry in this, intersectionality is nothing but oversimplified blame games that can be described in totem by hyperbole and buzzwords.You have shown it for the dreg ideology it is.

I rest my case.
Those are all just varyingly specific words for "power", which is almost tautologically obvious as the basis of human social organization.

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Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Good post on the subject from the Real Literature thread:

Eugene V. Dubstep posted:

quote:

Yeah the idea that the layman can just pick up the PI and easily understand the argumentative threads running through the book (and what implications, if any, these arguments have for literary theory) is pretty ludicrous when there's still substantial, fundamental disagreements between trained philosophers regarding what eg the private language argument is even about
This is an argument against reading just about anything, esp. any of the novels that crop up in this thread. The idea that you must be assured in advance that you will understand something before you read it is dumb on its face, and it's even dumber when it's applied to the PI, which isn't even as difficult or obscure as most of the Romantic texts I listed. I could see criticizing the list I offered for being narrow and blatantly biased, but difficult? Nah.

Anecdotally, the PI was the first work of philosophy I ever read, and I read it at the same time as I started to think seriously about literature, and the experience was invaluable. Of COURSE I didn't understand everything. No one does, just like no one quite understands a novel or a poem the first time they read it, barring an extraordinary flash of insight. (For one thing, Wittgenstein is fond of strange riddles approaching koans.) But I understood enough—and anyone would understand enough, because his flow of argument is intuitive and jargon-free—to open up lots of strange new avenues for interpreting texts, including the PI itself.

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