Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 973233 times)

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Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10160 on: September 22, 2020, 11:58:17 PM »
As a young man I read several of his novels, now, 40+ years later I can remember very little about them. I remember one of the central characters of Point Counterpoint was obsessed with the Heiliger Dankgesang of Beethoven's Op 132 String Quartet; I hadn't heard the work at the time so it didn't mean much to me.

A colleague told me he thought Ape and Essence was the nastiest book he had ever read, can't remember why or whether he ever gave me an explanation.

Goof luck with your re-reading project

Cheers. I think that he wrote people very well. However, not all of those characters would necessarily come with a high recommendation. A lot of his characters were wanton and irresponsible but he did not try to justify them.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10161 on: September 23, 2020, 02:35:36 PM »
It is utter rubbish from every point of view - literary or moral. Its only reason for existence is to make a bit of dosh for its author post metoo.
I hope the man's "literature" is unpublished as it is surely much, much worse.

Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10162 on: September 24, 2020, 07:25:45 AM »
Finished Anna Karenina couple of days ago which I liked.

Now reading some Shaw essay on Ibsen.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10163 on: September 24, 2020, 01:53:03 PM »
I hope the man's "literature" is unpublished as it is surely much, much worse.

He is quite well published:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Matzneff#Work

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10164 on: September 25, 2020, 12:27:42 AM »
He is quite well published:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Matzneff#Work

A brazen pedophile was awarded (twice!) a prize from the Académie française. Sweet.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10165 on: September 25, 2020, 01:11:07 AM »
A brazen pedophile was awarded (twice!) a prize from the Académie française. Sweet.

Insane, right. I understand the French literary establishment has been catching some flak in recent years for backing this guy.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10166 on: September 25, 2020, 01:33:30 AM »
Insane, right. I understand the French literary establishment has been catching some flak in recent years for backing this guy.

Many of the so-called intellectuals have lost their effing minds long time ago.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10167 on: September 25, 2020, 01:43:57 AM »
Basically the whole French intellectual and literary establishment signed a petition for the abolishment of any age of consent laws (it's 15 in France but I think still sufficiently disputed that there is nothing like automatic statutory rape) in the 1970s... They have been libertines since Marquis de Sade...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_petition_against_age_of_consent_laws
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/frances-existential-crisis-over-sexual-harassment-laws/550700/
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The morning breeze like a bugle blew
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Online ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10168 on: September 25, 2020, 01:51:02 AM »
Never read anything by Mr. Matzneff (and TBH have no inclination to do so anytime soon), but perhaps the Académie thought that you can  simultaneously  be a brilliant writer and a pedophile. France (fortunately) is one of the few countries where witchhunts and damnatio memoriae are not applied as easily as elsewhere.

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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10169 on: September 25, 2020, 02:25:38 AM »
Never read anything by Mr. Matzneff (and TBH have no inclination to do so anytime soon), but perhaps the Académie thought that you can  simultaneously  be a brilliant writer and a pedophile.

Apparently, the main topic of his books is exactly his pedophilia. However brilliantly they might be written --- and I have very strong doubts that Matzneff's style is anywhere near Proust's or Cioran's --- this fact, combined with an elementary moral sense, should have give them pause for reflection. But it seems that the aforementioned elementary moral sense, which would make any humble, crass, barely literate plumber who has never read a single book in his life, let alone one prized by the Academie francaise, instantly recoil in horror at Matzneff's deeds, is in short supply among the enlightened, educated and oh so refined French intelligentsia.

Quote
France (fortunately) is one of the few countries where witchhunts and damnatio memoriae are not applied as easily as elsewhere.

Maybe. The fact remains, though, that witchhhunts and damnatio memoriae, while not trademarks of the French Revolution, were applied during that glorious historical event with a tenacity and a thoroughness unparalleled before and which I would qualify as German, were it not incongruous with the context.
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10170 on: September 25, 2020, 03:23:44 AM »
Basically the whole French intellectual and literary establishment signed a petition for the abolishment of any age of consent laws (it's 15 in France but I think still sufficiently disputed that there is nothing like automatic statutory rape) in the 1970s... They have been libertines since Marquis de Sade...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_petition_against_age_of_consent_laws
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/frances-existential-crisis-over-sexual-harassment-laws/550700/

The irony is that Marquis de Sade was a madman whose own family requested his incarceration and he was transferred from Bastille to another prison a few days before the former was taken by storm. And btw, on July 14, 1789 "the Bastille was nearly empty, housing only seven prisoners:[26] four forgers; James F.X. Whyte, a "lunatic" imprisoned at the request of his family; Auguste-Claude Tavernier, who had tried to assassinate Louis XV thirty years before; and one "deviant" aristocrat, the Comte de Solages, imprisoned by his father using a lettre de cachet". Some big deal indeed, taking by storm a prison devoid of any political prisoner...
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 03:25:19 AM by Florestan »
“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline André Le Nôtre

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10171 on: September 26, 2020, 06:35:13 PM »

Back to Proust now!

en français ou en anglais?

I have had the very beautiful Modern Library hardcover (1950s?) translated by Scott Moncrief sitting on my shelf for years, but the thought of beginning this immense work is a bit daunting--especially given the many other things on my to-read list.

I have read very little poetry lately. I am looking to diving into either Jim Harrison or possibly Borges, but where to start?

Currently nearly finished with Connemara--Listening to The Wind by Tim Robinson (first in a trilogy. Truly a great writer, but much of the local history of the place is really a bore, for me at least--and I am an Irish citizen. Perhaps volumes two and three are more focused on the natural history and older history (Celtic and earlier), which would be of more interest to me personally.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 06:38:41 PM by André Le Nôtre »

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10172 on: September 27, 2020, 01:24:02 AM »
Somerset Maugham: Of Human Bondage





This is a two volume, 957 page novel about emotional immaturity, stupidity and lack of common sense. There is no empathy whatsoever accruing from the reader [me] for the situations that the main character finds himself in as it is always blatantly obvious that he is constantly making the wrong decision. Interestingly, Maugham wrote in his preface "This is a novel, not an autobiography; though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention."
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 #10173 on: September 27, 2020, 10:08:26 AM »
Never read anything by Mr. Matzneff (and TBH have no inclination to do so anytime soon), but perhaps the Académie thought that you can  simultaneously  be a brilliant writer and a pedophile. France (fortunately) is one of the few countries where witchhunts and damnatio memoriae are not applied as easily as elsewhere.

Never read anything by Mr. Matzneff (and TBH have no inclination to do so anytime soon), but perhaps the Académie thought that you can  simultaneously  be a brilliant writer and a pedophile. France (fortunately) is one of the few countries where witchhunts and damnatio memoriae are not applied as easily as elsewhere.

I downloaded the notorious Les moins de seize ans, a tract in praise of young flesh but not interestingly argued and not poetically written. I also got hold of a copy of a biography of Lord Byron which he wrote, which seems rather more interesting but I haven’t read it properly yet.

Just started to read this - and I’m dipping into L’innommable

 I mean, I take a break from Proust by reading Beckett - what have I become?  :o

« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 10:18:13 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10174 on: September 27, 2020, 10:13:13 AM »
en français ou en anglais?

I have had the very beautiful Modern Library hardcover (1950s?) translated by Scott Moncrief sitting on my shelf for years, but the thought of beginning this immense work is a bit daunting--especially given the many other things on my to-read list.


In French, I’ve read Scott Moncrief though, and indeed the new translation of Du côté de chez Swann. One thing I’m very conscious of now is how marvellous Proust’s French is, and you just don’t get that at all in translation! The music of it!
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10175 on: October 02, 2020, 02:12:51 AM »
Childers: The Riddle of the Sands





This is ostensibly an espionage story but it is really about the skill and craft, and the love of sailing. If one is of a nautical inclination then I would definitely read it. If not, then you will not be deprived of reading a masterpiece of the genre by not reading it.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline BWV 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10176 on: October 02, 2020, 04:10:01 AM »
Finished the pair, and after reading came to the conclusion that he was kind of a bad guy




Seriously, a few interesting takeaways
A) in the 30s he was a very shrewd politician, not just a demagogue who could rile crowds up
B) His anti-Semitism was sincere and the core of most everything he did and believed, not some 'great lie' to get power
C) He realized the war was lost when Barbarossa failed in late summer 1941, but kept doubling down on long-shots to win, such as Op Blau, Kursk or the Bulge

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10177 on: October 02, 2020, 04:30:46 AM »

B) His anti-Semitism was sincere and the core of most everything he did and believed, not some 'great lie' to get power


I read the first part of Tolamd's classic 70s biography recently and he makes it clear that the antisemitism only began with the "stab in the back" myth after 1918, and wasn't present before. How does that compare with Ullrich?

Toland was particularly good at the homeless and dosshouse years in Vienna - of which I'd like to learn more. And for an unexpectedly touching portrait of the dog Fuchsl he had on the front.

Offline BWV 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10178 on: October 02, 2020, 04:37:19 AM »
I read the first part of Tolamd's classic 70s biography recently and he makes it clear that the antisemitism only began with the "stab in the back" myth after 1918, and wasn't present before. How does that compare with Ullrich?

Toland was particularly good at the homeless and dosshouse years in Vienna - of which I'd like to learn more. And for an unexpectedly touching portrait of the dog Fuchsl he had on the front.

About the same - not much indication of it until the years after the war in Vienna, gives the impression it became an identity he assumed that grew to dominate everything he did

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10179 on: October 03, 2020, 04:24:54 PM »
Finished:



Started:



needing some easy distractions