Author Topic: Generic discussions about Literature  (Read 4017 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2003, 10:24:49 PM »
Hearkening back to the Western discussion I was supposed to comment on:
Weren't there some serializations that could be counted as novels written in the 19th century?

But that's not what I was asked. I don't agree that cowboy/country culture is itself extremely virtuous. The whole idea behind many traditional western stories is about how the ranchers (real cowboys) were at odds with the farmers (the cowboy and the farmer should be friends! claims Oklahoma!) But the issue is often one of who can hire the guns to hold it. Might makes right; hardly more virtuous than society that's developed extensive legal systems to break up monopolies (as just one example of city culture improving on the ethics of cowboy culture).

I think the reason women are "virtuous" (actually, just more traditional role typing) in westerns is that it's a more primitive society, with life being brutal, nasty, and short, to borrow a philosopher's words for it. When you need all the muscle you can just to work a living out of the ground, than you have to get along with the others with you, and team playing is more important. There's no room for social climbing or for wholesale manipulation (though it can happen much more subtly). Besides, there's nothing to be gained by being a loner, unless you can go the whole route and become like the Lone Ranger (and that doesn't get you ahead materially). So there's no point: you get control of your husband's land by killing him, and... then what? No one to run the farm/ranch. Plus it's pretty easy to figure out who did it when there isn't anyone around.

In crime fiction, however, the events take place in an established community. There's room for one person to manipulate, steal, and kill for personal advantage without destroying the entire society that you depend on to establish your wealth and position. Basically, crime fiction gives individuals the opportunity to gain status/wealth/power by manipulation/theft/intrigue/murder that just don't exist in the wild prarie.

Interestingly, both genres, by this account at least, treat women as having the same physical capacities: Women don't lead bands of thugs by intimidation and take land by force, or run protection rackets. They can't use brute tactics, so they gain the most advantage by being family supporters in westerns, or more illicit means in crime fiction

The essential change though is an overall shift in public perception of what women are capable of is, I think, the primary factor. In the 20's you start getting your flappers: morality is looser and women are more liberated in general: making a woman bad guy more believable.

I hope that was all coherant

fuzzyoctopus

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2003, 10:55:00 PM »
Recommendations:  Should I read Martin Chuzzlewit ?

Just as some who usually likes Dickens, and has heard very few things about it?
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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2003, 09:13:09 PM »
I was watching Conan today on Comedy Central, and Lewis Black was on. I love Lewis Black's comedy, very funny guy. And after his bit he was talking to Conan and said (paraphrased): "Anyone who says they're going to write a novel is nuts."

I found it rather funny.
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fuzzyoctopus

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2003, 10:10:57 PM »
Heh.  I do like watching Lewis Black, both on his stand-up acts and on The Daily Show.
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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2003, 05:10:05 PM »
This is the stack of novels I that I have, which must be read for next semester.   If you have read any of these and can recommend ones that you actually enjoyed, please do so, so that I will know what to read on the long plane rides.

"Seize the Day" - Saul Bellow
"Frankenstein" - Mary Shelley  (No, I've never read it)
"Persuasion" - Jane Austen
"Shosha" - Isaac Bashevis Singer
"Cannery Row" - John Steinbeck
"As I Lay Dying" - William Faulkner
"Main Street" - Sinclair Lewis
"Jazz"  - Toni Morrison
"Good Earth" - Pearl S. Buck


And "The Old Man and The Sea", but I read that one when it came, 'cause it was really short.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2003, 05:10:37 PM by fuzzyoctopus »
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Fellfrosch

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2003, 05:43:01 PM »
I sort of liked Frankenstein, but more as an intellectual exercise than as a book. And I quite liked Persuasion, but that's because I'm a Regency geek. Of the others I haven't read any, but I've read two of Toni Morrison's other books and loved them, so I recommend you start with Jazz.
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fuzzyoctopus

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2003, 06:15:51 PM »
I just started reading Jazz this morning and am only 13 or so pages into it.
I'm wishing for some dialouge though: this straight narration gets really thick after a while, and it looks like we don't get any actual speaking until the middle of the book.
There's one other Morrison book I have to read this semester, but it hasn't come yet.  "Song of Solomon".  Is that one of the ones you read?  I told Kristy, and she said "Fun.  It's just as much fun as the REAL Song of Solomon."
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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2003, 07:09:32 PM »
Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen. Well, at least, the movie is. The BBC movie, though hard to find sometimes, is the best, though most people I know think it's too slow-moving. It's got Ciarin Hinds and Amanda Root in it. Anyway, the book is quite good. It's my second favorite of her novels, second to Emma.

I've seen the 1950s movie Cannery Row, and I remember the story being fascinating in a John Steinbeck sort of way. Meaning, he's quite depressing and he focuses on the dregs of society, but always has a beautiful way of telling it, and challenges your mind in the process. Never read the book, though. I've read other John Steinbeck and liked it.
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fuzzyoctopus

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2003, 08:00:38 PM »
I just keep telling myself, these books are famous for a *reason*.  Just because I hated "Crime and Punishment" and "Moby Dick" doesn't mean I'll necessarily hate any of these, right?

;)
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Fellfrosch

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2003, 08:13:41 PM »
You hated Crime and Punishment? What's not to like.

The other Morrisons I read were Beloved and Paradise. I recommend them both quite highly.
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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2003, 08:48:23 PM »
It's long and depressing.  And boring.  And contains long frustrating stretches where nothing happen.
Come to think of it, that's the problem with Moby Dick, too.  And Robert Jordan.

Or were you being sarcastic?  I know lots of people who love Crime and Punishment, but I can't like any book where I HATE the main character.  
« Last Edit: December 20, 2003, 08:49:52 PM by fuzzyoctopus »
"Hr hr! dwn wth vwls!" - Spriggan

I reject your reality, and substitute my own. - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

French is a language meant to be butchered, especially by drunk Scotts. - Spriggan

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2003, 10:05:40 PM »
all that stuff was written after the 18th century. No wonder you worry about it.

Unlike Fell, I have a strong dislike for Toni Morrison. what I have read of her didn't really bring anything new to the table about racial relations, and seemed to be entirely about racial relations.

Frankenstein, however, is better than any movie version I've ever seen of it. Go Mary Shelly!

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2003, 10:07:28 PM »
Well I should be set then, since I've never seen any Frankenstein movie.  (Unless you count Mel Brooks)
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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2003, 10:11:19 PM »
well, don't get me wrong. TNT did a pretty good Frankenstein, actually. As was the original film. But the book isn't really a horror in the way those are.

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Re: Generic discussions about Literature
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2003, 01:27:16 AM »
No, I wasn't joking about Crime and Punishment--hating the main character is one of the points of the book, I think. But I'm biased in favor of Russian novels, to the point that I took an honors class entirely based around Dostoevsky. That's one dude I hope I never meet in a dark alley.
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