|Taken at a recent book fair in Cambridge. I was almost knocked over in the rush. I couldn't take it, I had to leave|
It is unquestionably a great book, I have skim-read it before, I love Dubliners and I love Portrait of the Artist. But, if you do not have exactly the same cultural references as JJ had when he was writing it, it is not an easy read. I hesitate to say, unreadable. But, bits of it are. Now, I do not expect everything I read to be easy (900 squares, people, doggedness), but (lecture begins. Feel free to skip): modernist literature’s use of intertextuality I think is sometimes specifically designed to alienate the reader. I think it is elitist. I think it is saying, if you do not have a working knowledge of Greek, Latin, contemporary Irish politics and many other things, then I do not care if you understand this book or not because you are not my sort of reader. To which, I say, OK. That is fine, I am not. So I have put down Ulysses until I feel less belligerent and I have moved on.
|Books at the Book Fair. I took this photograph secretly like a Ninja in case I was apprehended by men in flat hats|
Anyway, after that I had a bit of a break from the list, and I read Steppenwolf (this is not on the list, it was cheap in Oxfam. I have excellent literary selection criteria, excellent). I don’t think anyone reads this any more but I think it was popular in the 60s. It is about a man who thinks (on a metaphorical level, natch) that he is half wolf. It is a comment on Society. It is interesting because there are lots of narratives within narratives and quite a fun theatre thing going on, but (I know I sound a misery, I am not!) I do feel the stance of just being too delicate for society is very much dependent on someone else doing the housework and looking after the children. Partner says he feels Herman Hesse might have felt particularly as if he was morphing into Steppenwolf right at the moment the dinner needed cooking. ‘Go away! Don’t bother me about peeling potatoes! I’m oppressed by a need for Primitivism!’. However, this was an interesting read and I shall lend my copy to my brother Dan when I see him next and see what he thinks.
|And thus the sun set on Steppenwolf and rose on The Trial. Can you see my tree sanctuary? I know they need trimming|
What is everyone else reading? Any fellow book masochists out there? How are you getting on?