ricardienne: (Default)
Today I called my grandparents for their anniversary. My grandmother wanted to tell me about how she is trying to order me shoes for my birthday. I don't want shoes for my birthday. I would rather have complete 5-facsimile + composite edition Bach suites, because Bach makes me happy, and shoes do not.

I have been ostensibly beginning to think about coming up with a topic for my applying-into-the-classics-major paper. Both the library and JSTOR have surprisingly little on Lucretius. But the library did have a nifty 17th century translation by Lucy Hutchinson. (Intentionally or not, I seem to be unable to avoid puritans these days.) The very idea of it is bizarre, I think. Particularly the image in this section of her introduction:

So I beseech your Lordship to reward my obedience, by indulging me the further honor to preserve, wherever your Lordship shall dispose this book, this record with it, that I abhorre all the Atheismes and impieties in it, and translated it only out of youthfull curiousitie, to understand things I heard so much discourse of at second hand, but without the least inclination to propagage any of the wicked pernitious doctrines in it. Afterward being convinced of the sin of amusing my selfe with such vaine Philosophy (which even at the first I did not employ any serious studie in, for I turnd into English in a roome where my children practizd the severall quallities they were taught with their Tutors, and I numbred the sillables of my translation by the threds of the canvas I wrought in, and sett them downe with a pen and inke tht stood by me; How superficially it must needs be done in this manner, the thing it selfe will shew)…


1. Are we to think that De Rerum Natura was a regular topic of discussion in educated Puritan circles of the time, so much so that she would have encountered "so much discourse of it at second hand"? I find that really interesting. Lucretius sort of seems to inimical to Christianity (or rather, the other way around), but then Hutchinson does later say that Lucretius isn't so much worse than all those other wrong-headed Pagan philosophers and classical poets, whose use as teaching texts she really deplores:
I am perswaded, that the Encomiums given to these Pagan Poets and Philosophers, wherewith Tutors put them into the hands of their pupills, yet unsetled in the Principles of Devine Truth, is one greate means of debauching the learned world, at least of confirming them in that debauchery of soule, which their first sin led them into , and of hindring their recovery, while they puddle all the streams of Truth, that flow downe to them from devine Grace, with this Pagan mud; for all the Heresies that are sprung up in Christian religion, are but the severall foolish and impious inventions of the old contemplative Heathen revivd, and brought forth in new dresses, while men wreck their witts, striving to wrest and pervert the sacred Scriptures from their genuine meaning, to complie with false and foolish opinions of men.


Nevertheless, that metaphor of sullying the stream is straight out of DRM )III.37-40:

et metus ille foras praeceps Acheruntis agendus,
funditus humanam qui vitam turbat ab imo,
omnia suffundens mortis nigrore, neque ullam
esse voluptatem liquadam puramque relinguit.


(And that fear of Acheron [i.e. death] must be led headlong out, which stirs up human life most deeply from the bottom, pouring over everything with the blackness of death, nor does it leave any pleasure to be
limpid and clear.)

It's very clever, actually. When he references Acheron, there's a definite reminder that the fear of death is all bound up in superstition and religion -- that those are the things that muddy human life from the bottom. And she can turn it completely backward, so that now it's human works like Lucretius & co. who muddy the waters of (true) religion.

2. She translated while watching the children (and possibly fielding homework questions? I'm sure she would have been able to help.), and doing needlework. I feel so inadequate.

The best part, however, is perhaps her marginal notes. Mostly they are the standard "explaining what this passage is about," but occasionally, it's something like this: Here is one of the Poets abrupt Hiatus for he was made with a Philtrum his gave him and writt this booke bit in the intervalls of his phrenzie. (Thank you, St. Jerome.) or this: That the plagues of hell are but allegories of the miseries fo this life. Many a wicked soule who would ease it selfe with thinking so will finde it otherwise. And this seems like a rather snarky summary of the part of III about not fearing death: Persuading willingnesse to die because all doe it. And of course, the explanation for not translating the sex-ed parts of IV: The cause and effects of Love which he makes a kind of dreame but much here was left out for a midwife to translate whose obsceane art it would better become than a nicer pen. (Midwife must have had a rather worse connotation at that time. Or is this not actually about a woman who delivers babies? The OED does not indicate so.)


Unfortunately, I think a paper in classics would have to deal with the DRM directly, and not as "what an early translation of it shows about how people were dealing with Lucretius in the early modern period."
ricardienne: (chord)
I haven't seen anything about Remembrance/Veteran's Day today, which is a little odd, though perhaps not so, given the college I'm at. But I've been thinking about it, which is odd, because I usually don't think about this kind of thing.

A few weeks ago, I got my hands on an Angela Brazil novel: The Luckiest Girl in the School. (If you're a DWJ fan, it's essentially a Millie book). It was set during during WWI, and, I think, written then, too, although there wasn't a date anywhere. The war was not important to the story, particularly, but it was there. The boys were off in the trenches, and their sisters were knitting them socks and praying for them. That was all. But what was really absent was a sense of the purpose of the war. There wasn't even much anti-German sentiment, or any sense that it was an important war, or that anything terrible would happen if it should be lost. If it had been a fantasy novel, I would have said that the war was simply a plot device to reform our Heroine's straying brother. That's one thing.

Wilfrid Owen is the other thing. Dulce et decorum est is a poem that I've known for a long time, and has always meant a great deal for me. When we studied the poem in AP English, it was during the 2004 elections, and tensions were running high over our war. There was a girl in my class who didn't like the poem because it was "politically biased, and freedom isn't free" ([livejournal.com profile] voglia_di_notte you will remember this). I thought that this missed the point then, and I particularly think so now. There is a strong anti-war reading of the poem, but I think its most obvious position is not anti-war but anti- the kind of attitude towards war in Luckiest Girl in the School, which must have been a common attitude in Owen's era. But the point is that war is too terrible to be "just there" and provide an opportunity for girls to improve their knitting skills. Its too costly to be the means to make a generation of boys into men. Just dying for one's country isn't enough, nor is fighting for the glory of one's country. That's the message that I read: that you had better have a very powerful reason for war, because the consequences are so unpleasant.

It is interesting that is saying that the ends must justify the means. That the ends cannot justify the means is one of those truisms, up there with "you can't understand what it is to be happy until you have experienced hardship and misery" that everyone agrees is correct. But here's an example of that turned on its head. With war, the means are so horrible that the end has to justify them, because nothing else can. (Of course, one could say that the means are so horrible that no end can justify them, which is quite possible, in my opinion.)

World War I is a war that we don't like very much, now, because its ends, far from justifying its horrors, seem to only have lead to worse horrors, and another war. The problem is much older than Vietnam and Iraq, you see. So what do we do on Rememberance Day? It's hard to argue that we should't honor the sacrifice because it was a sacrifice to a wrong cause, or a mistaken cause, or an immoral cause. But honoring such a mistaken sacrifice seems to perpetuate that idea that the sacrifice is good in and of itself, even if it is a waste. Soldiers can't be blamed for fighting in an unjust war (but unjust, I mean a war where the result does not justify the life it expends), but it no longer seems right to me (if it ever seemed right) to honor them simply because they fought. That's exactly what Dulce et decorum est is about. I would pity them, but that would be condescending. Perhaps this is the point of Remembrance Day: to remember without judging. (Oh how glib that sounds!)
ricardienne: (Default)
I just typed quite blithely "whine-hall" when I meant "wine-hall." This is NOT a commentary either on Old English Lament-poetry or my own tendency to complain about papers, I swear.

But I have been having fun with words today. I compared modern attitudes toward criminals to laptop DVD players in my sociology "memo:" at some point they get stuck in the "wrong" region and there's no hope for their switching back.

And while I'm on the subject, I've been reading a fascinating paper on the Emperor Tiberius's neologisms. He's the one who was infamously told that, "You can confer citizenship on men, Emperor, but not on words." Someone should notify Bush, no? As a side benefit, I now know far more than I ever wanted to about Roman groupsex. Tacitus was not making it up about the depravity, it seems.

David Brooks was suitably horrible today. I'm not even going to bother putting the whole column up like I usually do. He summarized a book he has been reading about The Female Brain, and concluded that society needs to pay more attention to innate difference between men and women "that confirm traditional stereotypes."

I know that there are differences between the sexes. And I suppose we shouldn't ignore them. But this kind of talk REALLY bothers me. I cannot accept that a woman who is good at math or science is an anomaly, an outstanding and unusual member of her sex to whose standard the rest of us shouldn't be held. And, honestly, I'm sort of shocked that I even need to be making that last statement in this day and age. It's as though we're in the middle of a backlash -- at least an intellectual one -- against equal rights. Science shouldn't replace religion as the excuse for segregation of gender roles.

And really, I don't see how they can eliminate the effects of socialization from any of these studies. I found the article about stereotype threat. Take that, David Brooks.

book notes

Aug. 26th, 2006 10:49 pm
ricardienne: (snape denial)
I got read the first two Lois McMaster Bujold books today (Shards of Honor and Barryar): nice girl from modern progressive space-world falls in love with a fascist regressive patriarchal militarist man from a highly stratified traditional semi-space world. She gives up her own life to marry him and then lots of Politics ensues. Just the right thing to read for the last week of vacation.

But why are people (okay, women, mainly) in these books so ready to give up rational life as soon as they're confronted with someone spouting rhetoric about Honor and Duty and Loyalty. I understand the appeal of this sort of thing to a point, but I can't imagine becoming a second-class citizen because of my gender for it. And it always (in my limited experience of reading this kind of sci-fi) seems to be women falling for military/feudal men. I haven't come across the story of a geeky, pacifist 'ansible technician' who ends up in a traditional society and decides to go in for the cult of honor and glory for the love of a beautiful woman who can embroider his shirts with nice folk-embroidery. Is it because women are supposed to be more emotional creatures more susceptible to alpha males than beta- or gamma-males are to females? (Does that make any sense at all? Maybe it's getting too late for me.) Is it just the "knight in shining armour" phenomonon? Or is the thought of civilized men regressing in bloodthirsty irrational Beowulf-types perhaps much more unpleasant than woman picking up embroidery hoops?
ricardienne: (Default)
This afternoon, e-mailing to Natalie, I ended up explaining that I hide out in [comparatively distant] history and in literature at least partly because I can't deal with the real world. How presceient of me. N. persuaded me to go over to a friend's house tonight. It was horrible. My pathological social ineptness aside, we watched Earth, which, as more of you probably know than I did, is about the Partition of India in 1947, and the ensuing Muslim-Hindu violence.

"This is a movie even you will like, Lydia," they said. "It's not trashy; it's really good and Deep and deals with Serious Issues." But I don't actually like movies like that -- I don't know where this misconception comes from. I tend to only watch frivolous movies. This is because Good movies are too painful, and I am a wimp. Reading is one thing, and watching a play is one thing, but a movie plays out more like reality. Even if I can know intellectually that this particular person on the screen isn't really dying, or that one doesn't really have leprosy, or that child didn't really watch his mother raped and murdered in front of him, I still feel that these things are happening, really. And I cannot deal with them. I cannot cope with these things that are so horrible. I know that I can't. I've known since third grade, maybe earlier. Maybe I was sheltered too much, and still, at 19, am sheltered. I can only look at the statistics, and the figures, and the general picture. I don't know what to do when I see the individuals depicted.

I didn't even watch the worst parts of this movie: I looked away. But what am I supposed to do now? I can't go back to joking, obviously; I can't make light of it, or of anything, really, and I don't understand how everyone else was able to. There is clearly some sort of reflective response that would be required, but what? What does it serve to watch people burned alive and torn in half, or to see boxcars full of corpses and women being raped?

Is it so that this will not be forgotten and so will not happen again? But it has happened. And to say that one should watch the horrible consequences of intolerance to learn not to instigate it seems to me to be like the 17th and 18th century practice of taking one's children to public executions to teach them to obey the law.

Is it so that I will understand the more general lesson: that irrational ethnic or religious or cultural divisions, even when they seem benign and insignificant compared to shared values, are easily inflamed to atrocity? What am I to think now, then? That it could happen here. That humans are basically evil. That good people cannot prevent themselves from becoming monsters. And so what is there to do but slit my wrists tomorrow before I wake up one day to find my neighborhood burning and my friends being slaughtered?

I know there is reason to know these things, and to understand how horrible they are, but it is lost on me, I think. My reaction is to shrink away and try to forget it. Keeping a running chant of "don't think about it. don't think about it" in my head, if necessary. That isn't a good thing, is it? The more I am exposed to recent history and to current events, the more apathetic I become.
ricardienne: (Default)
I am of course not actually doing anything. Why am I so lazy? WHY?

I have been poking around on HP Lexicon, however.

This essay is fascinating, although I think she draws perhaps too many conclusions (I mean, can we really say that Terry Boot must be an evangelical Christian by his name alone?) and it was written pre-HBP:
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/essays/essay-secrets-of-the-classlist.html

And this essay is seriously in denial:
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/essays/essay-dumbledore-vivens.html

I also listened to this bit of interview with JKR:
http://www.crusaders.no/%7Eafhp/interviews/connection/13.%20Snape.mp3

So… Snape falling/having fallen in love is a Very Significant Question, and has something to do with a redemptive pattern, and will all be explained in Book 7.

To which I say, therefore, Snape is not evil. Obviously.

I'm sort of worried that I want Snape to be on Harry's side in the end so much. I really will feel let down and betrayed if he turns out to be a loyal Death Eater, or, more likely, an utterly amoral Slytherin opportunist. It certainly isn't that "oh, there must be good in everyone" sentiment. Snape is a nasty, bitter, unpleasant person. I had him for a quartet coach once, actually, and it was a horrible experience. On the other hand, being a loner and hating everyone I meet I can identify with. I think it would be pushing it more than little a bit to say that I want Snape to be redeemed because that will prove that I can be redeemed too: I don't really think I'm in need of redeeming.

I suppose it's because he's a fascinating character -- the most interesting character in the whole series. He's also a tortured and angst-ridden character: I like those, too. And I'm a naive romantic this way. I don't find the Evil Side attractive because it's rebellious and edgy and alternative: in fact, Slytherin-apologists, wannabe Death Eaters, and Voldemort-adorers kind of bother me, because I am not really a moral relativist that way. There are things that are wrong, and torture, murder, and tyranny are rather high among them. I don't wear teeshirts that say "Voldemort Votes Republican" and "Bush is a Death Eater" because I like the Republicans. Evil that is glamorous and lives in a mansion and can trace its ancestry back 700 years is still evil. I must retract some of this: there is something attractive and exciting about the DEs. I suppose danger is thrilling, and absolute power, and charismatic and cruel leaders who are as likely to torture their subordinates as their "enemies" have some sort of draw. Hierarchies are exciting things. I've always been fascinated with hierarchies, and who has power over whom. I still am. For me, this is all the same pull that fascism has: so simple, so powerful. The power, I think, is the main thing. But, I believe that we can do better than that. I am a child of the Enlightenment; I can recognize that this sort of primitive power-structure and I can fight against its attraction.

I can see this in Snape, as well. He was a sort of twisted idealist, I think; when he was in school, the old, shadowy darkness must have seemed more meaningful than the bright-lit cheer of egalitarian New Hogwarts represented by Dumbledore. But if the darkness is more exciting, the light is preferable for actually living. I want Snape to realize this, or to have realized it. It's all very well for Barty Crouch to be deluded; Lucius Malfoy, in spite of his name, has a stake in the hierarchical power-driven world. But Snape… he invents his own spells; he makes potions: creates things. There is an element of knowledge to his character, and an intellectuality that means he should be able to realize how worthless the vision that Voldemort presents is.
ricardienne: (chord)
I think this is the first year in a while that Easter Week and Passover have coincided so nicely.

The effect? I feel very lonely. I was talking to my dad the other day, and he said that he now regrets never having taken N. and me to a seder -- my dad saying this! -- so we would at least have that experience. He had to go to religious school all the way through high school; my mother was taken to chuch at Easter and Christmas. At least they knew what they were not taking part in. And me, the story of my life has been trying to find out intellectually all of these things that I am never going to have spiritually, or even culturally. I haven't regretted being an athiest so much in a long time.

My lesson was awful today. Well, okay, not awful, but not great either. I got a lecture on memorization -- I should be memorizing pieces the moment I start to learn them, so that there is never a piece I can play that I can't play from memory. In other words, this fourth suite prelude that I've had almost a year on should be memorized. Of course, I can't play it yet. The low point was hearing that my attempts as rubato were "not based in reality at all." But the whole movement is a disaster for me. Whenever I play it, I feel like this giant, crude, barbaric thing who is beating poor J.S. Bach over the head with a cudgel or something. It sounds terrible -- all scratchy and rough and labored. I should just give up, but instead, I'm supposed to learn it and perform it in a month. Right.
ricardienne: (angelo)
So it seems that girls are supposed to write, or to make up stories. At least, there is a certain tradition of this being the case. (This is actually kind of related to what I wrote yesterday.) Is this because girls are inherently prone to fancy whereas boys are inherently realistic? Of course! Not to mention that girls are designed for quiet pursuits like reading and writing, boys for activities like physical play*. That's why Muscular Christianity had to come along: all of that studying scriptures and being kind to thy neighbor was just too feminine for real men.**
*Early medieval noblewomen were much more likely to be literate than their male counterparts, in fact.
**This I am not making up
.

One would think that we would not find this sort of thing on the editorial page of the New York Times. But between John Tierney's periodic "women are actually happier to cook, clean, and raise children while their husbands support them" columns and David Brooks' "we are ruining America's boys by forcing them to become girly and intellectual when they clearly aren't meant to be" ones, one is uncertain what decade we are in already.


Yesterday, Brooks took up a new thread in this argument that was strangely familiar to someone who has been getting increasingly more furious at him for the last year or so:

Virtues and Victims )
ricardienne: (augustine)
I'm still not feeling wholly better, but, having fulfilled my obligation, I am at least not trying to write in French.

Luis cornered me this morning and exacted promise that I will go to French Table next week, and that he will be taking attendance. And then it turned out that the rehearsal that I had been told started at 9:00 wasn't actually until 9:30. No Comment, but I could have had a whole extra half hour to drink my tea and read the paper.

I was reading Augustine the other day. Between Tacitus, Canterbury Tales, and The King's Two Bodies, I had been neglecting him of late. I probably shouldn't find his excursions into natural history as funny as I do, but, well, they are funny.

City of God,, Book XI, ch. 4

For who but God the Creator of all things has given to the flesh of the peacock its antiseptic property? This property, when I first heard of it, seemed to me incredible; but it happened at Carthage that a bird of this kind was cooked and served up to me, and, taking a suitable slice of flesh from its breast, I ordered it to be kept, and when it had been kept as many days as make any other flesh stinking, it was produced and set before me, and emitted no offensive smell. And after it had been laid by for thirty days and more, it was still in the same state; and a year after, the same still, except that it was a little more shrivelled, and drier.

Of course, the Aberdeen Bestiary corroborates this: "Its flesh is so hard that it hardly decays and it cannot easily be cooked." But where are they getting this from? If they cook and eat peacocks, well, not regularly, but on occasion, shouldn't someone have had a better idea of what the flesh was like. The most interesting thing is that Augustine claims to be speaking from experience. Assuming he isn't totally making it up, I suppose it might have had something to do with the way it was prepared. Or, as Carthage, I am guessing, is fairly dry, it might have quickly turned into Peacock jerky.

And this is clearly an early version of the "but how do it know" joke:
Who gave to straw such power to freeze that it preserves snow buried under it, and such power to warm that it ripens green fruit?

The diamond is a stone possessed by many among ourselves, especially by jewellers and lapidaries, and the stone is so hard that it can be wrought neither by iron nor fire, nor, they say, by anything at all except goat's blood.

Again -- isn't this something that would have been testable?

And then there is a very cool description of the wonderful properties of that strange object the magnet, which I am putting under a cut because it is rather long:
when a diamond is laid near it, it does not lift iron )
ricardienne: (Default)
So I think a normal person would not be feeling woeful during her spring break. Exhibit A that I am not normal?

I finally got Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary and read it, yesterday. It's a lot like her columns, which means that it gets a bit wearing after chapters and chapters of it. It also didn't really have anything I didn't already know about or worry about. But if Dowd is right, and I suspect she is, mostly, the outlook does not seem to be good. Of course, I don't need her to tell me that.

It's interesting to have read Mary Wollstonecraft, and now read this take on the "anti-feminist" movement. The similarities in what they describe are frightening: weren't things supposed to significantly change in 200 years? But more depressing, for me, is the party that can be blamed by both authors: women themselves. Dowd isn't writing about Fundamentalist sects for the most part, or even about such things as anti-choice legislation. She's concerned with the educated women who don't want careers, but who do want to be adored and pedestalized by men for their beauty and charm. It's a return to a desire for the 'illegitimate power' that Wollstonecraft's women used to get their way in an utterly patriarchal society. When that's all that one can get, it's understandable. But to choose it over equality? But my (admittedly small) anecdotal experience tends to confirm this: all of those girls in high school (and now, in college, though less noticeably, to me) who expected flowers and constant attention from their boyfriends: often it seem(s)(ed) like they want(ed) worshippers, not companions. I'm probably going off the wall here and will offend someone, as I tend to do when I attempt to talk about this sort of thing, so I'll shut up.

The other thing I read yesterday was the second book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. (Yay for Middle School Fantasy!) I had read the first, and am now wondering when I will get the chance to read the recently-released third. The series has several things going for it:
a) An Alternate-Universe English setting. This is always a good thing. In fact, when I think about it, just about all of the fantasy novels I really like [Diana Wynne Jones, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel, the Mairelon books, Harry Potter, Caroline Stevernmer] have alternate-universe English settings. This one is a 20th c. world, where the British Empire has more or less conquered Europe (having beaten the Prague-centered HRE sometime in the last century or so) and is still holding onto North America, as well.
b) A dystopically corrupt System. I'm not sure why I have a fondness for reading about fictional Evil Oppressive Governments, but they always do seem to make it more interesting. In this case, the magicians rule the empire, and everyone else subsists in a sad, downtrodden, impoverished sort of way. But although we do now have a semi-main character attempting to lead a rebellion and all that, the more main character is a part of this government, and quite in support of it. There's also something that feels very real about all of these self-serving, corrupt wizard-officials. Probably it's that none of them quite measures up to, say, Cheney, or Ashcroft, or Rove.
c) Footnotes. Although not as copious as those in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel, one of the narrative voices -- the titular djinni Bartimaeus -- footnotes himself rather a lot, usually to a pretty good comic effect. This is a good sign: Jonathan Stroud is not taking himself entirely seriously.
d) A thouroughly obnoxious main character. In some ways, Nathaniel, the young protagonist, is an anti-Harry Potter. Actually, he's more like a young Tom Riddle, except that he doesn't need to take over the world to create that society ruled by brutal wizards: he's already a part of it. It was fascinating watching Nathaniel become less and less compassionate as he became more aware of his power and it's possibilities in the first book; in this second one, he is really repulsively callous and arrogant (although I suppose that he's due for a moral turn-around in book three, as this is a children's series). And this, surprisingly, does not bother me. I disliked Artemis Fowl, who was much the same way, because clearly we were supposed to admire his "bad-boy" ways. Here, we aren't. Nathaniel is not irredeemable, but he's in need of redemption, and until then, the author doesn't expect us to particularly admire him.

This afternoon, I swear, I am going to start my paper. And practice. Yes. I really will.

recs?

Mar. 23rd, 2006 08:30 pm
ricardienne: (snail)
I was talking to A. today (it wasn't horrible, after all), and we got on to Notes From Underground. I advanced my point that there is something incredibly true about the way that Dostoevsky writes.

People are the way that his narrator describes himself -- at least I am, and A. admitted she was. People second-guess themselves, and consider other possibilities, fantasize about things being different. Don't they? Don't you? When we discussed it in class, everyone wanted to talk about the narrator as too much into his life as a book, but I think it isn't quite right to say that. While he may be considerably more messed up than most, he isn't really different in how he sees himself and his life. It might not be "normal" to fantasize and to change one's mind, but it is pretty common.

So why don't we talk about it? Why don't we admit it that we aren't consistent and can't be reduced to a predictable set of individual traits? I suppose I can be reduced so, but I don't act or think within those guidelines. This modern world has gotten very good at moral gray area, but we still insist that people are black and white. One has to have an opinion, and only a single opinion, on an issue. There's no room for shading, or for admitting that you don't know, or that you aren't sure, or that you really want it to be this case but are afraid that you're deluding yourself. And even if it sometimes comes out that real people are this way, we don't like it in literature, at all. It's called "inconsistency of character" or something

This gets at something that has been bothering my about fantasy novels for a while, although I haven't been able to articulate properly. But now that I think about it, there are very few novels of any kind that I've read that have this kind of realistic, changeable characterization. I'm sure it's quite difficult to pull off for an author.

Can anyone give me recommendations of books with characters like this? Characters who aren't just flawed, or dynamic, but are problems the way that real people are problems.

Also, I got officially contacted about the Monteverdi. It looks like I am on. Wheeeee!



In spite of [livejournal.com profile] moonbeam84's very nice comment about my layout, I have decided to change it. It isn't really drastically different, just more boring, and I don't have a nice picture any more. I am not sure I like it at all. Oh well. Change is good, I suppose, and I will continue to tweak it.
ricardienne: (augustine)
C. accosted me at dinner last night, which meant that I had to talk to him, and thus had to read Thus Spoke Z. later. On the other hand, he's the first person I was able to talk about Notes from Underground with in terms of a novel, and not as philosophy. That isn't entirely accurate, as it implies that in class, we looked at it purely as a non-fiction-esque commentary on society/nature of humankind. Which we did not. (We did, however, get hung up on lofty reason vs cheap happiness, which was utterly pointless, as everyone simply congratulated themselves on picking lofty reason, totally ignoring one of the central points of the novel (in my opinion) for one thing, and for another… I think I shall get into this more below.)

Now, cut and sectioned off for ease of ignoring:
Notes from Underground )

In which I philosophize )
In which I look down on others and rant about them )

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