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Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 21 January, 2021 05:39PM
Baby boomers. Pluto in Leo. And Neptune in Libra. There is the whole issue in a nutshell. No more need be said.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 21 January, 2021 07:34PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Baby boomers. Pluto in Leo. And Neptune in Libra.
> There is the whole issue in a nutshell. No more
> need be said.


Says it all, in *many* ways...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 22 January, 2021 06:34PM
I liked some of the other records from that company better; the first Residents album was unmelodic beyond endurance to this listener, other than one track with characteristic reverb-tinged vocal repetition ("you care for France and we care for You"). Their intentional anonymity was in keeping with the record label's mysterioso image.

jkh

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 22 January, 2021 08:33PM
Veering off, just completed "Berlin Alexanderplatz" and wonder if anyone else here has read it.

It is a very ambitious aesthetic effort that mostly works. It's unusual enough for me to want to discuss it, bit I sure don't know where to try to find someone who has read something as recondite as I think this is. I had been aware that Rainer Werner Fassbinder had done a series of it for German TV in the 80s, I think, but didn't know that it was taken from a serious piece of literature.

This is at least as good as Dreiser, or Crane's Maggie, a Girl of the Streets. Lots more ambitious in structure, too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 22 January, 2021 09:19PM
I heard of Berlin Alexanderplatz many years ago, but never read or watched, myself.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 22 January, 2021 10:06PM
That's where I was until about 3 weeks ago when I got the book in part because I was currently reading some translated German stuff and had read Hans Fallada's The Drinker in comparative lit back in college. He was in the Weimar time range, also.

Oh, well...

A lot of this stuff has a unique "feel" to it and I wonder if it's Teutonic cultural sensibilities, just as the French seem to have a sort of distinct cultural outlook, or simply te translations, or what.

Again, feels like Dreiser.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 22 January, 2021 10:26PM
I’ve focused on British and (in translation) Russian literature, and Icelandic sagas, Hawthorne, etc. I’ve read, as far as German originals (in translation) go, Hoffmann, Adalbert Stifter (Biedermeier), Sebald. I’ve read the Divine Comedy and Manzoni’s The Betrothed and that’s about it for Italian....

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 22 January, 2021 10:32PM
Do you see a cultural ethos that seems to have any consistent association with the various cultures represented by these authors?

I'm thinking it's either one of two things: a) a very subtle, but consistent set of signals, or b) I'm fooling myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 12:39AM
Well, I suppose none of them is simply trying to be all Clever and Ironic. I just don’t have an interest in that kind of thing. (No use, in fantasy fiction, for Cabell.)

They’re all pretty much free of the stuff about equality and gender and diversity that is so boring now. That is mostly a dead end, I’m thinking. It’s all about “transformation,” not transaction, by which I mean politics for grownups, the necessary business of getting along with people in an imperfect world, etc.

The authors I indicated have connection with the Western world.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 08:51AM
I tried out David Foster Wallace. I couldn't stick with any of his stuff, and it was perhaps because he was being all Clever and Ironic.

Pynchon, too, is to me nearly unreadable, but for different reasons I think. I tried really hard on Gravity's Rainbow, but could not make that difficult connection. Conversely, with Berlin Alexanderplatz, there was some level of difficulty in getting into the flow of it, but I somehow stuck it through, and now I keep thinking about it, and this is one telltale sign of both a good book and a good film, for me. It's got sn underlying melodramatic tale--something like characters in Threepenny Opera--but there's an integrity and honesty that does not alter the plot for a characteristic melodramatic outcome--which one kinda expects as the resolution, and yet the actual resolution feels exactly correct and also the most likely. Plus, on consideration, confirms a valuable insight on the nature of life.

You know, it just now dawns on me that it's harder to categorize why it is an author loses you than the reverse, simply because you cannot bear to read enough of it to begin to properly analyze it.

I'm going to try giving the Russians a go. Can you suggest a place to start?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 09:56AM
I read some Tolstoy years ago - ‘War &. Peace’, his stories and half of ‘Anna Karenina’. Maybe start on the stories? I thought they were pretty good. Not just Tolstoy. Pushkin. Gogol. Plus there’s a book by Turgenev called ‘Smoke’ which is well worth checking out.

I think a lot of 19th century literature has a strong narrative thread, which is a big part of its appeal in our post-modern times - e.g. Middlemarch is basically a soap, albeit a good one.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 10:35AM
Thanks, Cathbad!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 11:14AM
Sawfish asked, "I'm going to try giving the Russians a go. Can you suggest a place to start?"

When I taught a course in Russian lit in translation, I assigned a short story and a novella at the start, giving a sense of the land. These were

1.Turgenev's "Bezhin Meadow"
[www.ibiblio.org]

2.Chekhov's "The Steppe"
[www.online-literature.com]

Long works from which I selected assignments included the following (not all of them in one semester!), always in the translations by Pevear and Volokhonsky:

Tolstoy: War and Peace; Anna Karenina
If one is wary of tackling either of those two long novels, I'd recommend the novel The Coassacks and the novellas "Father Sergius," "The Devil," "Master and Man," etc.

Dostoevsky: Demons, The Brothers Karamazov

I might also have chosen Crime and Punishment once.

Gogol: Dead Souls -- I used the translation of Pevear & Volokhonsky, but I understand that the Guerney & Fusso version (Yale) is regarded as superior by at least one authority; that is the one I will almost certainly read next time. Despite the title, this is, in fact, a masterpiece of comic writing. It is one of very few literary works that has had me also weeping and gasping with mirth! When I assigned Gogol, I believe he came before Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.

I typically ended the course with Solovyov's "Tale of the Antichrist," from Three Conversations, which is a particularly good thing to read after the Dostoevsky novel. Solovyov was something of a disciple of Dostoevsky, and his "Tale" is interesting as a sort of companion piece to Dostoevsky's "Grand Inquisitor" in The Brothers Karamazov.
[archive.org]
That's not the translation I used, but it's what I found online.

For a modern Russian work, I would assign Eugene Vodoloazkin's recent fantasy/historical novel Laurus.


Other Russian works I can recommend include Aksakov's A Russian Gentleman and (perhaps even more) Years of Childhood, as translated by Duff; Paustovsky's Story of a Life: Childhood and Schooldays, translated by Harari and Duncan; Skrebitski's In the Forest and on the Marsh; Arseniev's Dersu the Trapper.

I warmly recommend these Russian movies: Solaris; Russian Ark; The Return; The Island (Ostrov).

[en.wikipedia.org])
[en.wikipedia.org]
[en.wikipedia.org])
[en.wikipedia.org])

There are others I like but these are ones to start with.

I love Serge Schmemann's book Echoes of a Native Land. He is an award-winning American author who went to Russia to seek his roots.

I rarely recommend TV or cinematic adaptations, but I do like the circa 1978 British miniseries of Crime and Punishment with John Hurt as Raskolnikov. Hurt is actually too old for the part but aside from that is pretty great. The adaptation isn't 100% faithful but it's worth watching.

There are several Russian miniseries that are good to watch after you have read the books. The subtitles can be pretty bad.

[www.amazon.com]

[www.amazon.com]

Finally, I loved Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia.


Dale



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 23 Jan 21 | 11:29AM by Dale Nelson.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 12:02PM
Excellent reading/viewing list, Dale. Thanks!

I'll bet some of this is public domain, and I can likely download it. Otherwise, I'll look for ebook versions at the library.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2021 12:17PM
It just dawned on me and needs exploration, of course.

When thinking of discernable "cultural influences or characteristics", as I had raised in passing earlier in this thread, I started thinking: how might I characterize German writers, French writers, Jewish writers, British writers, etc?

Now this relies a good deal on broad generalization, and we can certainly find exceptions, but I've read some translations of modern French writers, not a lot of them, but enough to form an impression that they do two things that seem to set them apart, in terms of narrative sensibilities: the central characters, who are often a stand-in for the authors (as it often is for many western cultures) are inordinately self-absorbed, and yet will forgive themselves of anything, it seems.

They are remarkably guilt-free, whereas the few Germans I've read are very far from guilt free--seem to recognize and attempt to adhere to a common standard of community behavior-- even pre-war writers, and I mention this is to separate the influence of post WWII contrition.

Then it hit me: the French seem to be a lot like the Jewish writers in their self-absorption, but are largely free of guilt and angst, for the most part. There almost seems a sort of fatalism,or at least stoicism about events as they occur.

The French writers seem to have a lot in common with the cats I've had.

Thoughts/opinions?

Far too generalized, and disgustingly insensitive? ;^)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

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