Author Topic: What is the greatest American novel?  (Read 3431 times)

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Offline San Antonio

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #100 on: October 10, 2017, 02:27:45 AM »
I submit Porgy and Bess.

Strongly seconded.

Offline San Antonio

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #101 on: October 10, 2017, 02:32:02 AM »
https://theeveningrednessinthewest.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/harold-bloom-on-the-visionary-in-cormac-mccarthys-blood-meridian-and-all-the-pretty-horses/

Before I saw your post I knew I was going to suggest Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian.  Also for consideration, William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio is also a contender, although, technically, it is a short story collection.

Offline Alberich

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #102 on: October 10, 2017, 04:34:04 AM »
What about Hemingway? I think he was a better writer than Fitzgerald.

I haven't read much Hemingway yet, to be honest (yes, I know it is a glaring fault, I just never haven't got around to his works yet). When I do, I may make a new post to see if any of his books would qualify in my opinion.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #103 on: October 11, 2017, 10:51:29 AM »
Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio is also a contender, although, technically, it is a short story collection.

A great book, which I highly esteem. Although, as you note, it's not really a novel. It also had an influence I consider to be highly negative, in that it encouraged the composition of hundreds of identikit "novels-in-stories" by writers in MFA programs.
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Offline André

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #104 on: October 11, 2017, 12:31:25 PM »
East of Eden is the american novel I have read the most times (once every decade since my teens). So I guess that would be my entry. Also notable: Light in August, Intruder in the Dust, The Bostonians. The novel that impressed me the most though was The Sound and The Fury. But that was over 40 years ago. I don't know if I could summon the concentration to give it a second run. Heck, why not ?

Offline San Antonio

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #105 on: October 11, 2017, 02:38:09 PM »
East of Eden is the american novel I have read the most times (once every decade since my teens). So I guess that would be my entry. Also notable: Light in August, Intruder in the Dust, The Bostonians. The novel that impressed me the most though was The Sound and The Fury. But that was over 40 years ago. I don't know if I could summon the concentration to give it a second run. Heck, why not ?

Pleased to see so many Faulkner novels in your list.

Offline Scarpia

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #106 on: October 11, 2017, 03:15:12 PM »
Before I saw your post I knew I was going to suggest Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian.  Also for consideration, William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio is also a contender, although, technically, it is a short story collection.

Absalom, Absalom is lodged in my head as the greatest Faulkner novel. I read it 30 years ago, I think. Frankly, I'm afraid to read it again.

Offline André

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #107 on: October 11, 2017, 03:37:56 PM »
Pleased to see so many Faulkner novels in your list.

Sartoris and As I Lay Dying come to mind also, but the ones I mentioned have all been read more than once, with much pleasure. I haven't read Absalom, Absalom.

Offline Scarpia

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #108 on: October 11, 2017, 03:43:49 PM »
Sartoris and As I Lay Dying come to mind also, but the ones I mentioned have all been read more than once, with much pleasure. I haven't read Absalom, Absalom.

Have you read any in the Snopes Trilogy?

Offline André

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #109 on: October 11, 2017, 03:56:03 PM »
No, unfortunately. Faulkner is not all that easy to find in french translation.  Should I read his southern gothic trilogy ? I read Pylon, too, but scarcely recall it (that's really from a long time ago).

Online Jeffrey Smith

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #110 on: October 11, 2017, 07:38:10 PM »
No, unfortunately. Faulkner is not all that easy to find in french translation.  Should I read his southern gothic trilogy ? I read Pylon, too, but scarcely recall it (that's really from a long time ago).

I'm not sure a translation would do justice to some of Faulkner's writings, especially The Sound and the Fury,  for stylistic reasons.... Faulkner did things with words that may not be reproducible in other languages.

That said: I read the Snopes books years ago, and never felt impelled to read them again. As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and Intruder in the Dust connected far better with me.

Offline André

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #111 on: October 12, 2017, 04:46:12 AM »
As the saying goes, "translation is treason". But that's how the world communicates. Reading Proust in English is also a stylistic impossibility, and yet it's been done...

Offline Scarpia

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #112 on: October 12, 2017, 07:45:09 PM »
No, unfortunately. Faulkner is not all that easy to find in french translation.  Should I read his southern gothic trilogy ? I read Pylon, too, but scarcely recall it (that's really from a long time ago).

I found myself ready to type that, given the command of English you demonstrate on the board, you'd have no trouble with Faulkner in the original. Then I remembered my own struggles to understand certain passages of Faulkner, despite being born and bred in the U.S.

In any case, I'd put the Trilogy near the top of Faulkner's output, particularly the first volume, The Hamlet.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 07:59:13 PM by Scarpia »

Offline Mr Bloom

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #113 on: October 13, 2017, 12:39:43 AM »
No, unfortunately. Faulkner is not all that easy to find in french translation.  Should I read his southern gothic trilogy ? I read Pylon, too, but scarcely recall it (that's really from a long time ago).
All of Faulkner's novels are easily available in french. He's probably more respected in France than he is in the US. Absalom, Absalom is available in Gallimard's L'imaginaire collection, probably one of the best collection in the world.

Most of Faulkner's books were translated by one of the major french translators of the XXth century, Maurice-Edgar Coindreau, who translated pretty much every major american author of the century (Dos Passos, Hemingway, Steinbeck, ...). His translation are not without problems, but he did a great job overall.

Offline André

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #114 on: October 13, 2017, 06:15:40 AM »
Monsieur Coindreau is the "official" translator of Faulkner in France, in fact he's the only game in town, if I can say so. Even the Gallimard editions use his translations. I've never had any awkward feeling reading Faulkner (or Steinbeck, Mann, or Hesse) in French. I read all the time in English, but mostly undemanding stuff (internet or newspaper articles, Grisham or Crichton novels for example). Reading "serious" books requires one to enter the author's mind and world. Doing so in a foreign language can reveal as much as it can hide, so there are as much pros than cons.

Offline Omicron9

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Re: What is the greatest American novel?
« Reply #115 on: November 08, 2017, 10:41:35 AM »
My vote:

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