Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 834672 times)

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Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9460 on: October 12, 2019, 02:50:19 PM »
No, I don't. You sorely missed my point.

Is Hamlet true? Or Don Quijote? Or Norwich's Byzantine history?

In other words you have already accounted for them not being true but being fictional. Well and good. But *as assertions of fact* they are vastly more ridiculous than anything Gibbon gets wrong. That you personally have a way of dealing with their untruth doesn’t make them less untrue.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9461 on: October 12, 2019, 03:08:12 PM »
In other words you have already accounted for them not being true but being fictional.

No, I haven't.

I'm greatly puzzled by your not being able to distinguish between fictional and allegorical.


Quote
But *as assertions of fact* they are vastly more ridiculous than anything Gibbon gets wrong.

Really ?Let's see.

The Bible (abridged): God created the world and everything that's in it in seven days.

In order to assess the merits of this proposition, which was not originally written in English, one has to know the original Hebrew meanings of the words therein. I don't. Do you?

Gibbon (in plain English, abridged): Christianity is the main culprit for the decadence of the Roman Empire.

If this is so, how come that those decadent Christians were able to restore, preserve and defend the most populous and civilized areas of their empire --- which, btw, they never called anything else than Roman; Byzantine is a malicious, ideologically motivated confection --- for almost a millenium after the Western areas fell prey to Germanic barbarians?

« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 03:09:43 PM by Florestan »
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Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9462 on: October 12, 2019, 03:45:24 PM »
You view it as allegory Andrei, but not everyone has over time. And as a factual guide to world it is ... deficient
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9463 on: October 12, 2019, 03:49:58 PM »
You view it as allegory Andrei, but not everyone has over time. And as a factual guide to world it is ... deficient

Straw men.
“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 j winter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9464 on: October 12, 2019, 04:08:01 PM »
Thanks to all for the guidance on matters Roman.   :)

My birth sign is Gemini, and my wife smiles because I always tend to go two ways at once, usually serious and silly.  Case in point, the other book I'm reading at the moment, in addition to Gibbon, is this (very highly recommended if you're a fan of the show)....

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

Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9465 on: October 12, 2019, 05:12:02 PM »
The criticism of Gibbon has concentrated on the Byzantium parts, but that is not the reason I have so far only read excerpts (maybe 800 pages). We know so much that was unknown in Gibbon's time, and you cannot get that from Gibbon. You don’t learn enough history per minute, and what you learn you cannot really rely on. It’s great as drama.

Peter Heather has written some excellent books.
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9466 on: October 16, 2019, 01:00:18 PM »
Harold Bloom passed away....    :'(

I liked how he championed the canon and that is of course a whole topic of its own. A thread anybody? I'm grateful for his ideas and guidance navigating the great classics. Of course, his is not the only way to view our global literary heritage, but still an important voice among many others.



NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/14/books/harold-bloom-dead.html

An interesting piece in The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/harold-bloom-read-everything/600022/

New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/misreading-harold-bloom
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Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9467 on: October 16, 2019, 01:22:09 PM »
Harold Bloom passed away....    :'(

I liked how he championed the canon and that is of course a whole topic of its own. A thread anybody? I'm grateful for his ideas and guidance navigating the great classics. Of course, his is not the only way to view our global literary heritage, but still an important voice among many others.



NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/14/books/harold-bloom-dead.html

An interesting piece in The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/harold-bloom-read-everything/600022/

New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/misreading-harold-bloom

I liked his attitude: I am not telling anyone what to read or how to read, I am telling them about the books I found worth rereading, and why.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Online ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9468 on: October 18, 2019, 01:28:00 AM »
Just starting this:



The bulk of this is unpublished tales--in various states of completion-- written by the 20 year old Proust (at the time of Les plaisirs et les jours), dealing in different ways with the awareness of his homosxuality (which explains to an extent the suppresison of these texts).
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Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9469 on: October 18, 2019, 01:54:06 AM »
Was it you who posted the book on Proust  winning the Prix Goncourt? How was that in the end? I've been waiting for it to show up in English but no sign yet.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 02:21:36 AM by SimonNZ »

Online ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9470 on: October 18, 2019, 02:18:26 AM »
Was it you who posted the book on Or just winning the Prix Goncourt? How was that in the end? I've been waiting for it to show up in English but no sign yet.
Indeed, it was me who posted that. It was a pleasure to read. One could have thought that the subject matter wouldn't have warranted its 272 pages, but it went by in a flash. The inside dealings of how the prize is awarded--Léon Daudet (a notorious nationalist and antisemite turned out to be Proust's strongest champion among the jury)--, the machinations of Proust's publishers and of the other strong contender--Roland Dorgèles for his now almost forgotten Les croix de bois (the controversy was mainly about crowning Proust's "escapist" work over Dorgèles's patriotic celebration of war heroes)--, all make for entertaining reading.
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Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9471 on: October 18, 2019, 02:23:39 AM »
Thanks. I hope it won't be too far away in translation.

Also those Camus / Cesares letters.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9472 on: October 18, 2019, 03:19:24 AM »


Ernst Junger - Das Sanduhrbuch (The Hourglass Book)

A charming and erudite book about the history and philosophy of time measurement with special regard to hourglasses.
“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 Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9473 on: October 18, 2019, 05:54:55 AM »


Ernst Junger - Das Sanduhrbuch (The Hourglass Book)

A charming and erudite book about the history and philosophy of time measurement with special regard to hourglasses.

 I assume you read Storm of Steel. I read something else by a much older EJ too, but cannot remember what.

TD, The Sentence is Death, the latest mystery by Anthony Horowitz. Fun so far.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline Ken B

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Offline j winter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9475 on: October 18, 2019, 09:49:19 AM »
Quick break from the Gibbon to revisit some classic sci-fi.  It's probably been 35 years since I last read these... Lazarus Long is such a cantankerous old cuss  ;D



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

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9476 on: October 18, 2019, 10:30:10 AM »
I assume you read Storm of Steel.

No, I didn't. I read On The Marble Cliffs and Heliopolis. Both excellent.
“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 André

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9477 on: October 18, 2019, 04:48:07 PM »
Storm of Steel is a powerful first person account of combats and life on the front during WWI. Jünger was wounded 14 times and was the youngest ever recipient of Pour le Mérite, Prussia’s highest war distinction. André Gide considered Storm of Steel the best récit de guerre he had read. Much recommended.


Offline j winter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9478 on: October 18, 2019, 06:33:25 PM »
Storm of Steel is a powerful first person account of combats and life on the front during WWI. Jünger was wounded 14 times and was the youngest ever recipient of Pour le Mérite, Prussia’s highest war distinction. André Gide considered Storm of Steel the best récit de guerre he had read. Much recommended.



Seconded, that's an amazing book
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

Offline JBS

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9479 on: October 18, 2019, 06:39:36 PM »
It seems to be available from Penguin Classics in a couple of different printings. I vote this as the best cover


The original English translation (1929) is also available.

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