Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 941784 times)

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Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10060 on: July 29, 2020, 12:02:46 AM »
Hartley: The Go-Between





This has been one of the most engaging and engrossing books that I have read in many years. The writing style was so easy and melodious it sounded almost like music in my head.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Christo

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10061 on: July 30, 2020, 09:18:26 AM »
Golding: The Paper Men





This is an interesting study of a man spiraling out of control into self destruction through total selfishness. It is an engaging story that is very well told.
Fully agreed, though I find his posthumously published The Double Tongue even more compelling (love all of his novels, each of them more than Lord of the Flies, the first one).  :)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10062 on: July 30, 2020, 11:46:19 PM »
Fully agreed, though I find his posthumously published The Double Tongue even more compelling (love all of his novels, each of them more than Lord of the Flies, the first one).  :)

Thank you for that. I do not know The Double Tongue.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10063 on: July 31, 2020, 12:14:19 AM »
Just finished Du côté de chez Swann. Poor old Swann, I’d forgotten how much he suffered. And I’d forgotten how much humour there is (f.e. I remember laughing out loud when Swann knocks on the window of an appartement thinking that Odette and Forcheville  are in there up to some hanky panky, and it turns out to be the wrong appartement!) And I’d forgotten how much of a bitch Odette is.


How old do you think Swann is?


Now my real reason for posting is this. In the Scott Moncrieff edition there was a really useful index, this



Is there anything similar in French?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 12:25:56 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10064 on: July 31, 2020, 02:13:28 AM »

How old do you think Swann is?


Gilberte is the same age as the narrator. Swann is probably in his early forties in the first book. And in his late twenties at the time of Swann In Love.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10065 on: July 31, 2020, 03:39:41 AM »
Yes that explains my confusion, which was caused by not thinking. The Swann of Un amour de Swann is younger than the Swann of Combray.
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Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10066 on: July 31, 2020, 04:33:43 AM »
Than again, age is a variable "thing" throughout the whole Recherche .Charles Swann never comes through--to me, at least,  as a young man, not even in Un amour de Swann; he's "perennially middle-aged" IMO (akin to the age relationship one has with those one is close too, I'd say)...
ritter
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„ Kein’ Musik ist ja nicht auf Erden, die unsrer verglichen kann werden“.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10067 on: July 31, 2020, 11:17:50 AM »
; he's "perennially middle-aged"

Un ennuyeux, comme disaient les Verdurin?
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10068 on: July 31, 2020, 01:25:06 PM »
The assumption I make is that the narrator is going through his jealousies of Albertine in The Captive at the same age as Swann was with Odette.

There's also some vague triangulation one can do with the seeming ages of the people around Swann and his attitudes to their age as to guessing his own.


TD: finished:



started:

« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 05:33:30 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10069 on: August 01, 2020, 11:37:15 AM »
This August I'm going to spend a month re-reading old favorites that I haven't read in a long time. I looked at my book log and noticed that in the last few years, I've almost entirely been reading books that are new to me - because there are so many darn books in the world! - and thought it was a shame to have so many beloved books sitting on the shelves waiting until "the time is right" to finally set aside the new book pile and re-read them. So...the time is now!

Among the fluid/unfinished list of re-reads for this month:

A Month in the Country, J.L. Carr
Emma, Jane Austen
the three novels of John Williams
short stories by Tolstoy
On Moral Fiction, John Gardner
Life Itself, Roger Ebert
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
The Selfishness of Others, Kristin Dombek
maybe some Agatha Christie if there's time?

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10070 on: August 02, 2020, 03:54:13 AM »
Balzac: At the Sign of the Cat and Racket & Other Stories 


It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10071 on: August 02, 2020, 07:50:07 AM »
Than again, age is a variable "thing" throughout the whole Recherche .Charles Swann never comes through--to me, at least,  as a young man, not even in Un amour de Swann; he's "perennially middle-aged" IMO (akin to the age relationship one has with those one is close too, I'd say)...

The assumption I make is that the narrator is going through his jealousies of Albertine in The Captive at the same age as Swann was with Odette.

There's also some vague triangulation one can do with the seeming ages of the people around Swann and his attitudes to their age as to guessing his own.


Swann’s spiritual middle agedness is linked to his suffering, and the sign of suffering, for both Charles Swann and his father, is the gesture of passing his hand across his forehead and wiping his eyes. This is from quite early on

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J'entendis les pas de mes parents qui accompagnaient Swann; et quand le grelot de la porte m'eut averti qu'il venait de partir, j'allai à la fenêtre. Maman demandait à mon père s'il avait trouvé la langouste bonne et si M. Swann avait repris de la glace au café et à la pistache. «Je l'ai trouvée bien quelconque, dit ma mère; je crois que la prochaine fois il faudra essayer d'un autre parfum.» «Je ne peux pas dire comme je trouve que Swann change, dit ma grand'tante, il est d'un vieux!» Ma grand'tante avait tellement l'habitude de voir toujours en Swann un même adolescent, qu'elle s'étonnait de le trouver tout à coup moins jeune que l'âge qu'elle continuait à lui donner. Et mes parents du reste commençaient à lui trouver cette vieillesse anormale, excessive, honteuse et méritée des célibataires, de tous ceux pour qui il semble que le grand jour qui n'a pas de lendemain soit plus long que pour les autres, parce que pour eux il est vide et que les moments s'y additionnent depuis le matin sans se diviser ensuite entre des enfants. «Je crois qu'il a beaucoup de soucis avec sa coquine de femme qui vit au su de tout Combray avec un certain monsieur de Charlus. C'est la fable de la ville.» Ma mère fit remarquer qu'il avait pourtant l'air bien moins triste depuis quelque temps. «Il fait aussi moins souvent ce geste qu'il a tout à fait comme son père de s'essuyer les yeux et de se passer la main sur le front. Moi je crois qu'au fond il n'aime plus cette femme.»

And much later on, when he’s really going through the mill, the poor chap does the same

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Quand il l'eut compris, sa pitié cessa, mais il fut jaloux de l'autre lui-même qu'elle avait aimé, il fut jaloux de ceux dont il s'était dit souvent sans trop souffrir, «elle les aime peut-être», maintenant qu'il avait échangé l'idée vague d'aimer, dans laquelle il n'y a pas d'amour, contre les pétales du chrysanthème et l'«en tête» de la Maison d'Or, qui, eux en étaient pleins. Puis sa souffrance devenant trop vive, il passa sa main sur son front, laissa tomber son monocle, en essuya le verre. Et sans doute s'il s'était vu à ce moment-là, il eut ajouté à la collection de ceux qu'il avait distingués le monocle qu'il déplaçait comme une pensée importune et sur la face embuée duquel, avec un mouchoir, il cherchait à effacer des soucis.

And here when he gets the terrible anonymous letter saying some nasty things about Odette

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Quel critérium adopter pour juger les hommes? au fond il n'y avait pas une seule des personnes qu'il connaissait qui ne pût être capable d'une infamie. Fallait-il cesser de les voir toutes? Son esprit se voila; il passa deux ou trois fois ses mains sur son front, essuya les verres de son lorgnon avec son mouchoir, et, songeant qu'après tout, des gens qui le valaient fréquentaient M. de Charlus, le prince des Laumes, et les autres, il se dit que cela signifiait sinon qu'ils fussent incapables d'infamie, du moins, que c'est une nécessité de la vie à laquelle chacun se soumet de fréquenter des gens qui n'en sont peut-être pas incapables.



Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10072 on: August 02, 2020, 08:40:06 AM »
Nice rereading those passages, Mandryka.  It’s been so long...

My point is that, from the viewpoint of the narrator, Swann always has the same age, from his visits to Combray when the narrator is a young boy (and even before that, in Un amour de Swann—events that take place before the narrator’s birth) through his death. And this is so for almost all characters in À la recherche... with whom the narrator has contact. Only in Le temps perdu, after the narrator has been separated from the circles he frequented, have the characters (Charlus, the Prince and new Princesse de Guermantes, the Duchesse de Guermantes..) aged significantly (in some cases, beyond recognition). This IMO is a faithful reflection of “real” life: as the age difference between us and those we frequent on a regular basis (family, friends, colleagues) is fixed, the absolute age of each one fades into the background and also becomes “fixed” (unless infirmity or sudden physical decline enter the picture). 
ritter
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„ Kein’ Musik ist ja nicht auf Erden, die unsrer verglichen kann werden“.

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10073 on: August 05, 2020, 12:46:26 AM »
Buchan: The Three Hostages


It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.