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Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #2641
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    For the bantz?
    This is definitely an element of it.

    Looking around the web it seems like the explanation is that while she's distracted by being in love he can steal the changeling boy from her.

    Basically I'm trying to figure out why Oberon isn't a cunt, because in the rest of the play he seems quite considerate (albeit in a way that undermines the free will of Demetrius in partiular).

    Perhaps trying to ascribe morals to fairies is beside the point, though.

  2. #2642
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    Fairies are puckish. So what Tea said pretty much. I wouldn't get too stuck on plots with that guy anyway. It's just a frame to hang words on.

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    One way to tap into it is find the impassioned speeches, the raging or the yearning or the despairing or see how closely the rhythms match, the breath of it outlines the feeling

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    I liked this bit - the back-and-forth between Lysanda/Hermia a bit like an operatic duet, and then the image of the lightning, which I suppose relates to the whole play's concern with dreams, illusion and transience. (The ease with which love transfers from one object to another, for instance.)

    LYSANDER

    Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
    Could ever hear by tale or history,
    The course of true love never did run smooth;
    But, either it was different in blood,--

    HERMIA
    O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low.

    LYSANDER
    Or else misgraffed in respect of years,--

    HERMIA
    O spite! too old to be engaged to young.

    LYSANDER
    Or else it stood upon the choice of friends,--

    HERMIA
    O hell! to choose love by another's eyes.

    LYSANDER

    Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
    War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
    Making it momentany as a sound,
    Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
    Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
    That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
    And ere a man hath power to say 'Behold!'
    The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
    So quick bright things come to confusion.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 31-08-2017 at 12:23 PM.

  5. #2645
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    One way to tap into it is find the impassioned speeches, the raging or the yearning or the despairing or see how closely the rhythms match, the breath of it outlines the feeling
    So in a sense this is looking for deviations from the iambic form? The way that he breaks up each line, or lets a line run over (this is caesura and enjambment, right?). Mimicking the way people speak (and feel) without dispensing with poetic form altogether.

    I'm certainly much more aware, now, when he switches between prose and verse, and what that means (e.g. the informality of the 'mechanicals' in AMND). Also (I think this was pointed out in the prosody book I've been reading, so I'm not clever enough to have caught it myself) the trochaic verse of the fairies vs the iambic verse of the aristocratic Athenians.

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    Yes that's right. The pentameter is almost always broken or it would be deathly dull. The metronome as Pound called it

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    I don't know if schoolchildren would be any more receptive to learning about poetry in the technical way (they might hate it even more) but personally I wish that it had been taught that way in school. Same goes for art, really - I wish we'd been taught how to draw by learning e.g. the proportions of the human body.

    For many years, even up until recently, I'd never really understood the 'point' of poetry. I think it's only really obvious when it rhymes.

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    Reading (and looking at paintings, listening to music etc) is a skill. It's not all about what feels good. You have to learn how to do it. Most of us learn to listen by smoking weed in our mid teens. The other stuff not so much. It's a shame

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    Can't get stuck on the hedonic level. The 5th neurosomatic circuit. Have to leave bliss behind and work stoners ; )

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  11. #2650
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    I forgot having recently reread 'Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool' by Orwell:

    Of course, it is not because of the quality of his thought that Shakespeare has survived, and he might not even be remembered as a dramatist if he had not also been a poet. His main hold on us is through language. How deeply Shakespeare himself was fascinated by the music of words can probably be inferred from the speeches of Pistol. What Pistol says is largely meaningless, but if one considers his lines singly they are magnificent rhetorical verse. Evidently, pieces of resounding nonsense (‘Let floods o'erswell, and fiends for food howl on’, etc.) were constantly appearing in Shakespeare's mind of their own accord, and a half-lunatic character had to be invented to use them up.

    Tolstoy's native tongue was not English, and one cannot blame him for being unmoved by Shakespeare's verse, nor even, perhaps, for refusing to believe that Shakespeare's skill with words was something out of the ordinary. But he would also have rejected the whole notion of valuing poetry for its texture — valuing it, that is to say, as a kind of music. If it could somehow have been proved to him that his whole explanation of Shakespeare's rise to fame is mistaken, that inside the English-speaking world, at any rate, Shakespeare's popularity is genuine, that his mere skill in placing one syllable beside another has given acute pleasure to generation after generation of English-speaking people — all this would not have been counted as a merit to Shakespeare, but rather the contrary. It would simply have been one more proof of the irreligious, earthbound nature of Shakespeare and his admirers. Tolstoy would have said that poetry is to be judged by its meaning, and that seductive sounds merely cause false meanings to go unnoticed. At every level it is the same issue — this world against the next: and certainly the music of words is something that belongs to this world.

  12. #2651
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    I suppose the connection here is that Orwell is arguing (in part) that the reason Tolstoy can't stand Shakespeare is that Shakespeare is HEDONIC. Whatever Shakespeare's view of life, he is always working to make his art as beautiful and pleasurable as possible. Tolstoy, at the end of his life, was a religious scold who wanted art to be like parables.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    (Ellroy's) never, as far as I know, come out and said something like "African culture is primitive and could never produce a Shakespeare" like out and proud racist Saul Bellow did
    http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/04/2...w-papuans.html Bellow's self-defence after his 'where is the Tolstoy of the Zulus, the Proust of the Papuans?' debacle. Trying to backtrack like a complete douche: "There is no Bulgarian Proust. Have I offended the Bulgarians too?" I'd be surprised at how lame this was, if I hadn't previously read one of his books.

    Apparently Ellroy said that Barack Obama looked 'like a fucking lemur', so he and Bellow might get on.

  14. #2653
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    Yesterday I inadvertently started reading 'The Black Dahlia', a copy of which was nesting in one of my childhood home bookshelves. The prologue is so gripping, brutal and portentous - 'cherchez la femme' - that I couldn't help ploughing straight ahead. A bookmark I'd left in it years ago suggests I'd read about halfway through it, but I can't remember a single thing about it. I think what put me off at the time was the femme fatale figure, and this time around, it's the occasional (seemingly) cliched hardboilism that irks me. I'm not sure if Ellroy is simply drawing on or actively subverting Chandler with that stuff.

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    https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...lroy-interview

    Ellroy:

    'I once went to jail, but I don't regret it. I do not believe in the liberal hoo-ha that points to poverty and racism as causes of crime. I believe that crime is an individual moral forfeit on an epidemic scale, and those who commit crimes, major and minor, must be punished.'
    I'm not sure how common such an opinion would be amongst novelists, but I wonder if there is a tendency in artists, the most individualistic (or would-be) of people, to disdain 'social forces' and so on, because these things threaten their sense of their own originality? (Ellroy himself says in this interview that he identifies with Beethoven, because 'I'm a megalomaniac'.)

    Nabokov spent about half the time he wasn't writing novels slagging off Freud, and responding to questions in interviews with stuff like:

    'Drug addicts, especially young ones, are conformists flocking together in sticky groups, and I do not write for groups, nor approve of group therapy (the big scene in the Freudian farce); as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate, a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts.'
    (Of course, there are a helluva lot of novels written about social forces shaping people and determining their decisions and options - Dickens springs to mind, along with a host of 19th century moralist-artists.)
    Last edited by Corpsey; 12-09-2017 at 06:19 PM.

  16. #2655
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Reading (and looking at paintings, listening to music etc) is a skill. It's not all about what feels good. You have to learn how to do it. Most of us learn to listen by smoking weed in our mid teens. The other stuff not so much. It's a shame
    Actually, you may (with good cause) take the piss out of Oto, but going there as regularly as I have done has made me a better listener. I don't know if I could define how, I just know it has. Not going as much right now 'cos of the baby but hope to get back on it soon.

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