Since I spent a lot of time thinking about exactly how the second section of The Savage Detectives worked—and who was reporting it, as discussed, for example, here, I decided to actually analyze the darn thing and try to figure some stuff out about it.
First, one possibly interesting observation that struck me [...]
Since I didn’t wrap up reading The Savage Detectives until last night, I’ve stayed away, so far, from most other participants’ posts. One of the few I did read, because I could tell right away that she had stopped before the point I had already reached, was Dolce Bellezza’s lament that the second [...]
I’m not sure it would be right to say that my coverage of War & Peace has really been “building” to anything, but let’s see what I can do with day four, bringing things out more to the “point” of the novel, which, as Greg Zimmerman noted back in December, “inasmuch as you [...]
Yesterday, in telling the story of Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, I mentioned his sister Princess Marya. Marya is a bit unfortunate: she is dull and plain-looking, gets flustered easily, lives in worshipful fear of her father, and is bullied by her own companion, Mlle Bourienne. Marya is also extremely religious and devoted to the [...]
One of the better things about reading War and Peace is that it gave me the chance to exercise my plot-analysis muscles—that is, to try to dig down past the surface and see how Tolstoy’s gears were grinding away, trying to do whatever he was trying to do in the novel. He’s not, [...]
War and Peace is, you may have heard, quite a long book—and one about which, clearly, many things could be written. It encompasses multitudes: the daily lives of families like the Count Rostovs; the soldierly lives of Nikolai, Denisov and their comrades; the aristocratic lives of the circle of Countess Hélène Bezukhov; nearly [...]
So nicole is reading War & Peace—but y’all already knew that. You probably also knew that I’m struggling with it, but only in part because of its length. I’m struggling not to hate Tolstoy reflexively, to take the novel on its own terms, and to evaluate it in some sense fairly. And to [...]
Elective Affinities opens with a discussion between Eduard and Charlotte about whether they will invite his friend, and then her ward, to stay with them. And a strange discussion it is.
More “Goethe weirdness”? Similar to the mason, I don’t know how much to take the way characters address each other in this [...]
There are a good deal more-serious things I plan to write about during Elective Affinities week, and this might have been a better Friday post, but since I’m tired I’ll use the foundation stone chapter now instead.
Ha, the “foundation stone chapter”—I bet I fooled you into thinking it was some episode of [...]
Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften), Goethe’s 1809 novel, is the story of Eduard and Charlotte, a middle-aged couple who have recently married, finding themselves, each widowed, unexpectedly able to fulfill their youthful dream of romance together. Not long after getting together, finding it simply irresistible to do so, they introduce new, volatile elements into [...]