Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 973609 times)

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Offline j winter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10280 on: November 13, 2020, 10:51:04 AM »
Wow.

Thanks, this is quite a find. Like many great poets, her use of language evokes impressions above and beyond the actual words on the page. If I can use an (untested) comparison to music, it's sort of like sensing the overtones in various instruments. Or to put it another way, how we sense the difference between the same note on a clarinet and a cello.

In any case, quite beautiful and evocative. I'm increasingly convinced that the Nobel committee made the right choice.

--Bruce

Agreed, thanks to both of you for posting the above.   :)  I'm now seriously considering this...




The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10281 on: November 13, 2020, 11:30:31 AM »
Nope. That's Adrian Leverkuhn, the main character.

That’s a shame.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10282 on: November 13, 2020, 11:40:08 AM »

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Louise Glück, new to me
« Reply #10283 on: November 13, 2020, 11:47:16 AM »
Wow.

Thanks, this is quite a find. Like many great poets, her use of language evokes impressions above and beyond the actual words on the page. If I can use an (untested) comparison to music, it's sort of like sensing the overtones in various instruments. Or to put it another way, how we sense the difference between the same note on a clarinet and a cello.

In any case, quite beautiful and evocative. I'm increasingly convinced that the Nobel committee made the right choice.

--Bruce
Glad that you enjoyed it.  And I like your musical analogy.  :)

Agreed, thanks to both of you for posting the above.   :)  I'm now seriously considering this...





  I did put a hold j winter on that book; needless to say, after winning that special prize, her books are in high-demand!  By the way, I happened to be in a B&N earlier today and ran across one of her books (rather surprised not to see more of them there).  The poem that I copied and pasted is from another book of hers that I'm tempted to get also called "The Wild Iris" and features other poems referencing nature and also human life.

PD

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10284 on: November 13, 2020, 05:07:18 PM »
Me too. Narcissus & Goldmund, as well as Crime & Punishment (D) and Red and Black (S), are my ultimate favorite works in my life time.

Post ed. Btw, as for Mann, can we call TK and Venice “short” story? It is kind of mid-size. Hard to describe them. Plus, the content is not like those of short stories.

No, I would rate them as novellas.

I was completely blown away by Narcissus & Goldmund reading it this year. A beautiful story. I related strongly with both the titular characters. I love Crime & Punishment too, but have not read it in years.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10285 on: November 13, 2020, 05:44:02 PM »
I have to re-read Doktor Faustus. I read it at 19-20 and I am pretty sure a lot was over my head. (I had read Zauberberg right before and when I re-read that one at ca. 27 it was much more entertaining and rewarding). Faustus is a bit overambitious and probably the most challenging. I still haven't read the Joseph books (and neither the less famous "Lotte in Weimar" and Der Erwählte (The Holy Sinner) but I found that Der Zauberberg has the best balance of philosophical themes, characters and atmosphere although it can also be fairly "heavy" at times. Buddenbrooks is not as weighed down by more theoretical aspects and quite accessible. It was his debut (after some shorter prose pieces) at 25, an incredible achievement.

As for other German language authors from about the same time, there is Thomas' brother Heinrich (Christian Buddenbrook is based on him, I think) whose most famous novels today are "Der Untertan" and "Professor Unrat" (the 1930 movie "The blue angel" with Dietrich is based on the latter). He is not as deep, mostly sharp satire agains the pre WW I bourgeois class and values (Wilhelminian time, the German equivalent of late Victorian and Edwardian era).

A bit later and maybe the greatest picture of interwar Berlin (and the seedy underbelly more than the bourgeois) is "Berlin Alexanderplatz" by Döblin. This is also a German "Ulysses light" with collage-like scraps of advertisements, popular songs etc. glued together to capture the breathless and dirty atmosphere of that huge city.

I'm going to try and read Berlin Alexanderplatz. Sounds like a fascinating book. Reading Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise earlier this year, my favorite chapter was the one about Berlin in the '20s and '30s. Reading it made me realize I knew almost nothing about Berlin during the Weimar era, but it seems to have been a fascinating time and place.

Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10286 on: November 13, 2020, 08:06:16 PM »
I'm going to try and read Berlin Alexanderplatz. Sounds like a fascinating book. Reading Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise earlier this year, my favorite chapter was the one about Berlin in the '20s and '30s. Reading it made me realize I knew almost nothing about Berlin during the Weimar era, but it seems to have been a fascinating time and place.

The problem I had with Berlin Alexanderplatz is that the English translation didn’t work for me. I eventually read it in French and that was much better. But the best, I think, is the video of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s television series. It is, IMO, unforgettable - a real summit of art film. The main actor, Günter Lamprecht, is totally committed and totally in his element: poor tortured soul! Everyman!
« Last Edit: November 13, 2020, 08:09:53 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10287 on: November 14, 2020, 01:49:33 AM »
I can't comment on translations. While some techniques are similar, Berlin Alexanderplatz is far less complex and dense than Ulysses, so it should not be as hard/impossible to translate although it is still challenging for native readers (I think my younger brother had it as an assignment in an AP German literature class in 12th grade, it's certainly not something one would assign an average high school literature class, in any case it is bloody long even for a collegre prep class). I don't think I ever saw the Fassbinder version complete, but is supposed to be among the best things he did. Still, the way the book depicts the huge city by way of language (such as scraps from adverts etc.) is quite special and would be very different on film. E.g. there is one episode where the reader follows the course of a streetcar line through the city and records what passes and is passed. That's a very movie-like thing to do but in literature it was probably fairly original >90 years ago.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10288 on: November 14, 2020, 03:29:20 AM »
Not sure which one you read Mandryka, but there was an English translation in 2018 that was supposed to be very good. I might give it a try. I'll check out the series, maybe I can talk my girlfriend into watching it with me. I have been wanting to check out Fassbinder's work.

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10289 on: November 14, 2020, 07:09:55 AM »
Carl Jung.

Offline Artem

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10290 on: November 15, 2020, 07:38:41 AM »
Not sure which one you read Mandryka, but there was an English translation in 2018 that was supposed to be very good. I might give it a try. I'll check out the series, maybe I can talk my girlfriend into watching it with me. I have been wanting to check out Fassbinder's work.
I've read the new translation earlier this year and I thought it was fine.

In general I found Berlin Alexanderplatz to be a good read, but somewhat underwhelming, probably because I had very high expectations for it, fuelled by the music and literature of that time. It must have been a fascinating read upon publication, but some of its "novelties" didn't feel so unique or interesting to me.

Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10291 on: November 15, 2020, 08:14:17 AM »
Not sure which one you read Mandryka, but there was an English translation in 2018 that was supposed to be very good. I might give it a try. I'll check out the series, maybe I can talk my girlfriend into watching it with me. I have been wanting to check out Fassbinder's work.

Ah, it would have been before that. I read it about 10 years ago. But thanks for telling me, I’ll give the new one a try.

By the way the French translation I read had an excellent essay on the book by Fassbinder, I don’t know if it’s been done in English but I’d say it’s worth trying.

If your girlfriend will watch the Fassbinder with you, marry her straight away - she’s a woman in a million.

Jo - is there anything else by Döblin worth reading?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 08:42:31 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10292 on: November 15, 2020, 08:17:02 AM »
I've read the new translation earlier this year and I thought it was fine.

In general I found Berlin Alexanderplatz to be a good read, but somewhat underwhelming, probably because I had very high expectations for it, fuelled by the music and literature of that time. It must have been a fascinating read upon publication, but some of its "novelties" didn't feel so unique or interesting to me.

The film has moments which sort of burnt into my soul, and it’s true that when I read the book it didn’t have the same effect. I’m not talking about Fassbinder’s bizarre final episode, I mean just things like when Biberkopf returns to the outside of Tegel prison, or sings with his canary or . . .

It would be nice to do a Berlin Alexanderplatz weekend in Berlin, visit all the important places in and around the city.
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Offline Iota

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10293 on: November 15, 2020, 09:49:37 AM »
Nigel Molesworth - one of my heroes:


Haha, excellent, one of mine too!

“Reality,' sa molesworth 2, 'is so unspeakably sordid it make me shudder'.”   ;D

I find the older I get the more like Fotherington-Tomas I get ... "he sa 'hullo clouds, hullo sky'" etc, etc.

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10294 on: November 15, 2020, 01:32:29 PM »
Jo - is there anything else by Döblin worth reading?
No idea. It is by a wide margin his most famous book and I have not read anything else by him. He apparently wrote quite a bit besides Berlin Alexanderplatz. I recall one title of a shorter prose anthology (The killing of a buttercup) but I don't remember if I read this or only remember the funny title.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10295 on: November 16, 2020, 04:09:07 AM »
Just finished: The Duel and other stories by Anton Chekhov (a short collection, I read it all over the weekend). Just started: Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.

Been meaning to get back to the Russians for some time and I'm enjoying everything so far. The Chekhov was amazing. I was only really familiar with his dramas before, but his short stories are just as good. Excellent characters. I've heard him criticized for being too cynical and too morbid, but I didn't find that to be the case.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10296 on: November 16, 2020, 04:16:37 AM »
Just started: Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.

You're in for a treat.

Quote
The Chekhov was amazing. I was only really familiar with his dramas before, but his short stories are just as good. Excellent characters. I've heard him criticized for being too cynical and too morbid, but I didn't find that to be the case.

Cynical and morbid are the last things that come to my mind about Chekhov. I find him humane and humorous, just as Turgenev.
“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 Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10297 on: November 16, 2020, 07:16:46 AM »
The Chekhov was amazing. I was only really familiar with his dramas before, but his short stories are just as good. Excellent characters. I've heard him criticized for being too cynical and too morbid, but I didn't find that to be the case.

To some degrees Chekhov’s works present fatalistic and pessimistic views, which I like. In that regard, Thomas Hardy, Katherine Mansfield, and Yasunari Kawabata often remind me of Chekhov. Mansfield was publicly influenced by Chekhov. Her Garden Party and other short stories are terrific.
Btw, Chekhov was a ladys’ man.

Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10298 on: November 18, 2020, 09:43:51 AM »
Halfway through George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss and liking it very much. My favorite characters are Maggie, Mr. Tulliver, Mr. Wakem, Philip Wakem and Mrs. Glegg. For some reason I find Tom Tulliver bit of a boring character. I think Maggie has much more wit in her.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10299 on: November 26, 2020, 12:19:21 PM »
Finished this:



Lermontov - A Hero of Our Time

Excellent. And some very great insight on music, too.

Meanwhile, Princess Mary had finished her song. Murmurs of praise were to be heard all around. I went up to her after all the other guests, and said something rather carelessly to her on the subject of her voice.

She made a little grimace, pouting her lower lip, and dropped a very sarcastic curtsey.

“That is all the more flattering,” she said, “because you have not been listening to me at all; but perhaps you do not like music?”...

“On the contrary, I do... After dinner, especially.”

“Grushnitski is right in saying that you have very prosaic tastes... and I see that you like music in a gastronomic respect.”

“You are mistaken again: I am by no means an epicure. I have a most wretched digestion. But music after dinner puts one to sleep, and to sleep after dinner is healthful; consequently I like music in a medicinal respect. In the evening, on the contrary, it excites my nerves too much: I become either too melancholy or too gay. Both are fatiguing, where there is no positive reason for being either sorrowful or glad. And, moreover, melancholy in society is ridiculous, and too great gaiety is unbecoming”...


Also, I must confess that I have lost interest in Proust. After all, what do I care about the sentimental tribulations of an aging intellectual dandy in love with a winsome coquette, or about the various snobs and fops who grate on his nerves?  ;D


“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)