Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 831042 times)

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9440 on: October 12, 2019, 10:34:15 AM »
This is probably the best book on topic:



How does this work compare to Norwich's volumes?
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Offline JBS

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9441 on: October 12, 2019, 10:35:44 AM »
Which sections held up best in your rereadings?

In terms of style, the whole thing is worth a read. High 18th century prose at its best.

His narratives of the political and diplomatic intrigue, even when modern scholarship says he is wrong, are vivid and entertaining.  And the section near the end, where he sums up his own feelings about his work and its impending conclusion, is a great passage all on its own.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9442 on: October 12, 2019, 10:38:50 AM »
I'm in the middle of Cervantes (Grossman translation) - quite immersive and very enjoyable. So much more than I expected. It is kind of embarrassing that I never read this in my past, but I'm making up for it.

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Offline JBS

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9443 on: October 12, 2019, 10:39:38 AM »
How does this work compare to Norwich's volumes?
I have read some of Vasiliev. He wrote for people who wanted to learn about the Byzantines. Norwich wrote for people who wanted to enjoy learning about the Byzantines.

Norwich did have some important biases. But he makes an effort to not only acknowledge them, but explain why is biased the way he was,

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9444 on: October 12, 2019, 11:39:01 AM »
I have read some of Vasiliev. He wrote for people who wanted to learn about the Byzantines. Norwich wrote for people who wanted to enjoy learning about the Byzantines.

Norwich did have some important biases. But he makes an effort to not only acknowledge them, but explain why is biased the way he was,

This.

I'd say both Norwich and Vasiliev are far, far better than Gibbon in terms of scholarship and objectivity, their explicit (Norwich) or implicit (Vasiliev) biases notwithstanding, while Gibbon has the upper hand in terms of style --- but N's or V's biases are ultimately a matter of interpretation, while G's biases are ideological through and through.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9445 on: October 12, 2019, 11:54:16 AM »
I'm in the middle of Cervantes (Grossman translation) - quite immersive and very enjoyable. So much more than I expected. It is kind of embarrassing that I never read this in my past, but I'm making up for it.



Truly, a book everyone should read.  It has been decades since I have.  This new translation might be enough of a reason for me to revisit this classic novel.

Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9446 on: October 12, 2019, 12:03:02 PM »
Truly, a book everyone should read.  It has been decades since I have.  This new translation might be enough of a reason for me to revisit this classic novel.

Yes. I read it one and a half times but I haven’t read it in decades either, and I have this translation in Kindle.

Moonfish, destroyer of free time!!  :laugh:
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Offline JBS

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9447 on: October 12, 2019, 12:12:03 PM »
This.

I'd say both Norwich and Vasiliev are far, far better than Gibbon in terms of scholarship and objectivity, their explicit (Norwich) or implicit (Vasiliev) biases notwithstanding, while Gibbon has the upper hand in terms of style --- but N's or V's biases are ultimately a matter of interpretation, while G's biases are ideological through and through.

That's accurate,  but perhaps too harsh. Gibbon was an 18th century anti-clericalist, with both the strength and weakness of 18th century scholarship and philosophy.
18th century scholarship can be unintentionally hilarious at times. I remember one point where the narrative requires a brief excursion towards China, causing him to note that the Chinese worship "the great god Fu", who is in fact the Buddha.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9448 on: October 12, 2019, 12:12:16 PM »
Truly, a book everyone should read. 

Yes, indeed. The Exemplary Novels are excellent, too. And if you really are into Baroquely convoluted or convolutedly Baroque prose, The Wanderings of Persiles and Sigismunda are exemplary (pun).
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9449 on: October 12, 2019, 12:13:16 PM »
18th century scholarship can be unintentionally hilarious at times.

Agreed.
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9450 on: October 12, 2019, 12:21:13 PM »
Yes. I read it one and a half times but I haven’t read it in decades either, and I have this translation in Kindle.

Moonfish, destroyer of free time!!  :laugh:

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9451 on: October 12, 2019, 12:28:06 PM »
Truly, a book everyone should read.  It has been decades since I have.  This new translation might be enough of a reason for me to revisit this classic novel.

I sense that as well and regret not having done so earlier. It brings a new lens to the literature of Spain and its times as well as its ripple effect towards the present time. Following Don Quijote's bizarre adventures I cannot help but to think of politics in modern times, but perhaps that is a bit farfetched?

I haven't compared translations, but it appears as if Grossman is bringing in a Spanish flavor by using long sentences and intricate word mazes (all in a good way). I always had the impression that Spanish tended to go in that direction by nature (which is part of its beauty).  There seems to be some struggle with Cervantes' play on words, but I guess that is to be expected in most translated works.  I can see myself rereading this in ten years or so, but there are so many great novels as well as other works. This thread makes me want to read Gibbon, revisit ancient history and to dig into the Byzantine empire and its art. Ah.....there should be 60 hours in a day!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 01:18:33 PM by Moonfish »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9452 on: October 12, 2019, 12:33:28 PM »
We Romanians are blessed with two different but equally good translations of Don Quijote.  8)
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9453 on: October 12, 2019, 01:19:16 PM »
We Romanians are blessed with two different but equally good translations of Don Quijote.  8)

I wonder what it is like in its original Spanish?
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Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9454 on: October 12, 2019, 01:50:40 PM »
Agreed.

I gotta say this is hilarious coming from two guys arguing over the deranged books of the Old Testament    on another thread — which you both see as reliable guides to truth. Nothing in Gibbon is as ridiculous as Genesis!
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9455 on: October 12, 2019, 01:57:00 PM »
I gotta say this is hilarious coming from two guys arguing over the deranged books of the Old Testament    on another thread — which you both see as reliable guides to truth. Nothing in Gibbon is as ridiculous as Genesis!

Okay, I'll play along --- but first tell me: what is ridiculous in Genesis?
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Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9456 on: October 12, 2019, 02:02:10 PM »
Okay, I'll play along --- but first tell me: what is ridiculous in Genesis?
Are you kidding Andrei? How about the two very different creation stories? Or Eve from Adam’s rib?
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Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9457 on: October 12, 2019, 02:02:52 PM »
I gotta say this is hilarious coming from two guys arguing over the deranged books of the Old Testament    on another thread — which you both see as reliable guides to truth. Nothing in Gibbon is as ridiculous as Genesis!

And you called me a bigot.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9458 on: October 12, 2019, 02:05:26 PM »
Oh oh!
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9459 on: October 12, 2019, 02:19:07 PM »
Are you kidding Andrei?


No, I'm not.

Quote
How about the two very different creation stories?

Which ones?

Quote
Or Eve from Adam’s rib?

Blimey, I'd never have guessed you're a Bible literalist.

“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff