Sunday, June 28, 2009


* The Purloined Letter:
So far I've read this and The Pit and Pendulum through DailyLit and have thoroughly disappointed. I remember reading some of Poe's work years ago and really enjoying it, which is why I was looking forward to reading some more of his work through DailyLit. While The Pit and Pendulum held my attention (I loved the descriptive language Poe used), I was completely bored by The Purloined Letter. Towards the end of the installments, I actually found myself annoyed when they would come in the mail and would put off reading them. I struggled through and ended up giving the short story two stars. I really feel like those two stars is more than the work deserves, I think it deserved one star but got two because I'm sentimental of better days reading Poe and also just because it is a Poe story. Well, I'll attempt to rectify the situation and give it * here at least.

*I stumbled across a fascinating Google Book tonight, Lectures on Literature by Vladimir Nabokov. I was originally just going to read the section on Mansfield Park (which I did) but now want to go back and read the rest of it (though I am little wary of the section on Bleak House just because it is Dickens and he makes me shudder...). The only drawback to Nabokov's analysis of Mansfield Park is that he comes off as a snob and a bit self-righteous at times. One thing about Jane Austen herself that I always disliked was the fact that her characters (the ones on the periphery that is) are pretty black and white. She seems to harbor a belief that people are either born sensible (i.e. Elizabeth Bennett and Anne Elliot) and are therefor worthy of being literary heroes or fools (Mr. Collins, Lydia, etc.) and therefore luckless saps with no chance of being anywhere in between. Oh, and heaven help you if you are a fool in her world because she certainly doesn't suffer them lightly. Indeed, Nabokov seems to agree in the passages where he is describing a "good" writer and a bad/lazy one, and some Mansfield Park players like Mrs. Norris. If either of these writers had to choose sides in the debate of nature v. nurture, I think they'd both pick nature (or the luck of the draw) resoundingly...

No comments:

Post a Comment