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Pope in his grotto
It's clever, but is it art?
(This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.)
 
3rd-Oct-2009 11:35 pm - Still October.
Literature
Well, instead of studying for my Old English exam, I wound up reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I italicize the title because I suppose the story is long enough to be considered a novella, but really it felt more like a short story to me. Far shorter than I was expecting.

I've never read any Robert Louis Stevenson before. He reminds me a little of Doyle and a lot of Wells -- of The Invisible Man, in particular. And maybe of Hawthorne, too, at least thematically.

It's difficult, I'm afraid, to appreciate Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde these days the way it was meant to be appreciated, since the entire story is just a suspenseful build-up to the reveal in the final two chapters, which any modern-day reader already knows about before he picks up the book. It's almost a detective story, the only difference being that there's a moral, or at least a moral dilemma, in the resolution. But sci-fi elements aside, the last couple of chapters read almost exactly like the confessional monologue at the end of your typical Sherlock Holmes story.

It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was good, in that vaguely impersonal turn-of-the-century English way. Good enough that I'm sorry I didn't somehow manage to read it without knowing the twist. I'm interested to read more of Stevenson's stories now, anyway.

And I'm reminded that I really need to get back to reading classics and avoiding modern fiction, which tends to have approximately the same effect on me that television has -- that is, to leave me with this numbly placid feeling of "life is sure sparkly but what the fuck is the point" as opposed to "life is one long bloody tragedy, but I hope it lasts."
28th-Dec-2008 11:09 am - books and... er, books
Devil: the dark side has books
Well! Book-buying went fairly well.Collapse )

I was a little surprised by how many books they didn't have, though. Nothing by Tom Stoppard except the plays I've already got, for instance. Copenhagen was also nowhere to be found. And each store I visited had at most two books on Napoleon, which really surprised me since, if I recall, Napoleon is the second most extensively biographized man in the world -- the first being Jesus. No biographies of Wellington at all, though I did find (and buy) a book about Napoleon and Wellington, which is at least something.

(I also didn't find anything by C.S. Lewis, but it now occurs to me that that's probably because I was looking for him in Fiction and Literature rather than Children's...)

I also finally signed up for next semester's classes.Collapse )

Every time I realize how excited I am about taking literature classes, I start wondering if I'm an idiot for going after a Physics degree instead of something in the arts. There are so many wonderful things I could major in. How the hell do people choose just one thing to do with a lifetime?
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