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  •  I voted for Mary Shelley, though judging (12+ / 0-)

    any of these authors against is apples to grapes to pears......

    And for current-day authors - I read for fun, not really "greatness". I'm making up for an overly-serious childhood when I thought that everything I read or listened to had to matter..... Oh, I'm glad I did , because I read people like Ursula LeGuin. But now I'm old & tired, and Kim Harrison is just about my speed. Great, no, but her Hollows novels are fun. And JK Rowling, Sherri Tepper, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Margaret Atwood (the Handmaid's Tale is now too damn close to non-fiction & I can't re-read it any more).

    Anyway, my point is, I'm no judge of "great". Fun popcorn books, I can help you out, but serious literature, you'll have to ask someone else.

    We have done the impossible & that makes us mighty - Firefly

    by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:48:11 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, it's one of the problems of (4+ / 0-)

      "women novelists" that men don't really have to deal with.  Imagine a poll that asked for the "great male novelist" and offered Voltaire, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, and Achebe.  Yikes.

      But it's not Brecht's fault: this is the problem of marginalization of women in the field.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:15:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually, my vote for Shelley isn't for a (5+ / 0-)

        novel, but for Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Yeah, Frankenstein was also really good.

        We have done the impossible & that makes us mighty - Firefly

        by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:38:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Greatest Male novelist happens all the time (6+ / 0-)

        ..and the lists are just as crazy.  They all typically come down to either Joyce or Fitzgerald, depending on how Americancentric they are.

        Though admittedly those two get pegged more often for the greatest novels.  If its entire collected works, then it turns to Faulkner and Nabokov with some Hemingway thrown in.  If it makes a point about reaching back beyond the 20th century then its always Dickens vs Melville vs Dostoevsky.

        The point is correct though about apples to pears to grapes... it takes a special emphasis on specific context to make a meaningful comparison across that wide a spectrum without devolving into a measure of taste.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:43:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've never seen 'greatest male', only (7+ / 0-)

          'greatest', and the list is usually completely male.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:46:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I vote for Melville. (4+ / 0-)

          Except for Shakespeare (not a novelist), I think he used language the most beautifully.

          The caveat is that I can read Melville in English  If I could read other great writers such as Dostoevsky in the original language, I might have a different opinion.

          •  Hard to argue but for pure language... (5+ / 0-)

            I think I'd go Nabokov (in English).

            I forget which writer (T.S. Eliot maybe?) said: "For Nabokov the English Language is a pet, which he has trained and taught to do tricks."

            Lolita of course, but my personal favorite is Pale Fire.  The structure is unlike anything else.  I mean what other book do you almost need to own two copies of in order to read?  the story is great, the language is amazing.. and half of it is poetry!

            "I was the shadow of the waxwing slain"  .... over 12 years since my last reading and I still remember the first line.

            ((and yeah... lets agree to set aside Shakespeare for this.  If we add him, I'm going full-on John Milton and will quickly become insufferable))

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:05:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Haven't read Nabokov. (3+ / 0-)

              Hopefully someday I can find the time . . .

              I'm curious about your opinion on a related topic.  When modern American authors are discussed, Hemingway is invariably mentioned, but not Steinbeck.  For my money, Steinbeck was a greater writer than Hemingway.

              I have read, "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "A Farewell to Arms", "The Sun Also Rises", and "The Old Man and the Sea", and I don't think any of them hold a candle to "The Grapes of Wrath".  It seems that Steinbeck is out of vogue for some reason, but I don't understand why.

              What do you think?

              •  Steinbeck was huge at the time - between that, and (4+ / 0-)

                his books being so much of that time, I think he got a little left behind. But before 1950, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Steinbeck seem to me the big four US men.

                John dos Passos, Sherwood Anderson, Jack London, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, Frank Norris, Thomas Wolfe, Erskine Caldwell, John O'Hara, Henry Miller, Richard Wright, Nathanael West, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler were each big in their day, but few of them have stood the test of time. Some of them are magnificent, though.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:57:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's interesting which books stand the test time. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                  For example, I think "The Sea Wolf" by Jack London is a great book, far better than "Call of the Wild" or "White Fang".  "The Sea Wolf" is the one that is least remembered, however.

                •  I'm not sure what you mean (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                  by not having stood the test of time.  All the writers you mention after your "big four" are still widely read and respected today and I imagine they will always occupy an important place in American literature.  

                  It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

                  by Radiowalla on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:32:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I was aiming for the top US novelists 1900-1950 so (3+ / 0-)

                    yes, they are all respected today. They're still read, but I wouldn't say widely - just among serious readers, most of them.

                    It's a question of degree. If you look at the big four, I've seen multiple novels by each of them, put out on the "suggested reading" tables at my local Barnes & Noble. I can only think of a few among the other fifteen I could say that of, and those would be the ones who are masters of their niches: Chandler, Miller & Wright.

                    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                    by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 10:02:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Read frank Norris's the octopus within the last (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest, Brecht

                  Year and thought it was very, very good.  All about how farmers in ca tried to form a coop in order to get better rates from the rail roads and losing.

                  Made a great companion piece to night riders from the superb Robert penn warren about tobacco farmers in the south trying to organize against large buyers of tobacco in ord to get better prices and losing.

                  Dreiser's American tragedy is a masterpiece.

                  My apologies for replying to the tip jar.  I was rushing off the train and wanted to leave a quick post on the diary.  Didn't realize here I stopped to chat.  My phone isn't the dkos interface... Lol.

                  Another outstanding diary Brecht.

                  Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

                  by No Exit on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 08:34:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Dreiser's American tragedy is a masterpiece." (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    No Exit, RiveroftheWest

                    Yes, so very sad. Some say Sister Carrie is better (I haven't got there yet). I've also only read the one Robert Penn Warren - which bowled me over. Good to know about Frank Norris, thanks.

                    Most of the outstanding in this diary came in all the fascinating comments that grew out of it. To paraphrase Falstaff, I'm not only eloquent, I'm the cause of eloquence in others. You could write a book diary someday, No Exit - you've plenty of knowledge and opinions to share.

                    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                    by Brecht on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 12:49:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  For pure linguistic virtuosity (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Brecht

              I would say Henry James, especially The Portrait of a Lady.  James's novels of the 1870s and 1880s represent to me the ultimate pitch of linguistic sensitivity and psychological observation.  

              •  I agree with all you say. And he was huge for long (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest, llywrch, Youffraita

                after he wrote, among other writers and critics, seen as pre-eminent. He's fallen from favor in recent decades.

                The two strongest points against him are, he can feel cerebral, a bit anemic - he doesn't get caught up in his characters as Dickens (or even Tolstoy) would, so readers aren't always moved by his drama.

                Also, while some say his latest novels show the English language refined to perfection, more say that he got lost in his verbiage: as H. G. Wells put it, it's like an elephant trying to pick up a pea with its trunk.

                As I said, I'm closer to your view - but I think the criticisms are valid.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:03:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Taming James (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brecht, RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                  Yes, I can understand the criticism as well, particularly regarding those later novels, which are formidable to the point of being involuted.  That's why I specified the works from earlier in his career, although even there the tempo indications usually range between adagio and andante.  Portrait of a Lady starts with almost daring slowness, but few novels have rewired my brain as that one did. The later works are a challenge, though. I remember that after trying to get through Wings of the Dove that reading Shakespeare was like slicing through warm butter....

                  •  That's funny. I found that, after reading most of (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                    Shakespeare, pretty much every book since then was like slicing through butter.

                    But you can glide through the Bard, without worrying about the two-thirds you miss with your brain off; you can't get very far with James if you're not prepared to stop and ponder the subtleties and implications.

                    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                    by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 06:08:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The Elizabethan World Picture. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                      I took Shakespeare in high school, and we read, for background, a short pb called The Elizabethan World Picture. It made Shakespeare much more comprehensible b/c you then knew some of the things he references which we no longer believe in.

                      And there's nothing like an annotated version of the plays to help sort things out.

                      I must say, I think Shakespeare is a whole lot easier to read than Henry James. William James, by comparison, is a font of crystal-clear prose.

                      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                      by Youffraita on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:19:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I spent seven years in the Shakespeare Ensemble, (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                        in college. It was like a small, concentrated R&BLers. It was pretty wonderful: Discussing the Bard, putting on his plays, and partying with friends who cared enough to soak him up (and many other plays and books, too). Mostly we got outside directors in, so we were learning new skills and finding new angles every semester.

                        I'm ambivalent about Henry James, but very fond of William, and his writing. Henry's very good at short stories.

                        I'll have to write diaries, eventually, on Henry James and on Thomas Hardy. There is more good in both of them than most modern readers realize - a lot of people find Hardy as pointless as you do.

                        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                        by Brecht on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 01:01:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's not that I find him pointless (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Brecht

                          it's that I don't feel he's worth reading.

                          Didactic much?

                          He's the nineteenth century forerunner of Ayn Rand.

                          NOT that their political philosophies are similar: no, not at all.

                          It's that their abilities to write good prose are identical.

                          Wooden. Stilted. Horrible.

                          ...are merely a few of the adjectives that come to mind.

                          Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                          by Youffraita on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 01:06:36 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  The crazy part is that everyone KNOWS (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anotherdemocrat, Brecht, Youffraita

          who the greatest male novelist of all time is. Sheesh. Talk about a gimme.

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:06:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Joyce? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, Free Jazz at High Noon

          Finnegan's Wake?

          What would Mothra do?

          by dov12348 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:40:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You forgot Tolstoy, the only author who often nabs (5+ / 0-)

          two of the top 10 spots. And I could go on for a long time here, but the first that spring to mind are Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, Conrad, James, Turgenev, Mann, Boll, Grass, Garcia Marquez, Cervantes, Soseki, Goethe, Pushkin, Kafka, Stendhal, Lawrence, Hardy, Fielding, Rabelais, Twain, Zola, Hugo, Musil, Ellison, Wright . . .

          Well, that's a long fight. But Tolstoy would knock Fitzgerald out in the first round, almost any way you choose to measure greatness. The Great Gatsby is a gem, but his career was short and uneven.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:49:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But where are the women? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht, Portlaw

            Where is Shakespeare's Sister in that list?

            (Or even Emily Bronte?)

            And, I mean really: Hardy?

            Hardy?

            Gah: Having to read Hardy made me never want to ever crack open another novel by Hardy, ever, for the rest of my life.

            Hardy? I spit on Hardy! Hardy wouldn't know how to craft a novel if Jane Austen threw the manuscript for Emma on him and told him how to punctuate it!

            Hardy? Hardly is more like it!

            Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

            by Youffraita on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:55:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well that's not fair. This entire diary is looking (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

              at Great Women Writers.

              If you'd followed my comment to its parent, you'd have seen that I was replying to a comment on "Greatest Male novelist lists", which named "Joyce or Fitzgerald . . . Faulkner and Nabokov with some Hemingway thrown in . . . Dickens vs Melville vs Dostoevsky."

              Your invective on Hardy was spirited and amusing. A lot of people agree with you. I don't.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 01:35:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Mayor of Casterbridge (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Brecht, Youffraita

              I wonder if you have tried that one. It's extraordinary.

              •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                Hated it.

                Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                by Youffraita on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:23:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, let me phrase this politely: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht

                IMO, Hardy couldn't write his way past the worst prose post-Shakespeare.

                Pamela looks like brilliance compared to him.

                Hardy makes "choose your own adventure" stories for children look like scintillating prose.

                Hardy plus paper bag equals: couldn't get out of it.

                Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                by Youffraita on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 01:40:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Quit pussyfooting & tell us what you really think (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                  of Hardy.

                  In this, and other comments, you've raised several interesting points and suggestions. But since I'm only semi-conscious, I'll have to return some hours from now, when I've had breakfast, much coffee, and a long walk. Then I'll try to frame some thoughts re. Hardy, Shakespeare, the James brothers & Bowie.

                  "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                  by Brecht on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:39:11 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  de gustibus (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                    When someone expresses distaste in such strong and certain terms, it's usually best to move on.  

                    •  That depends on whether you enjoy loud arguments (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Youffraita, RiveroftheWest

                      that go around in circles.

                      They seem pretty popular on the rec list.

                      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                      by Brecht on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 10:04:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  OMG, Brecht, it is SO much more fun (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                        to write a scathing review than a good one.

                        But I really mean it about Hardy. Had to read him in high school, and it turned me off of him for life.

                        I love Dickens. I love Austen. I love, y'know, great writers. Tolstoy! Sartre! William James!

                        Too bad Hardy never learned how to write.

                        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                        by Youffraita on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 12:39:39 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Scathing reviews are more fun, just as evil parts (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Youffraita, RiveroftheWest

                          are more fun to act than good ones. But the most thought-provoking books, reviews and characters are the chiaroscuros of light and dark.

                          I know most of your complaints are valid - though I find more power than clumsiness in Hardy. But you're only telling half the story. Okay, you suffered aversion therapy at a young age.

                          I think you're flat out wrong when you call his prose "Wooden. Stilted. Horrible." - but I'll address these points with examples, when I get around to my Hardy diary.

                          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                          by Brecht on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:07:33 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Here is a poem of Hardy's, full of nimbleness and (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RiveroftheWest

                          punch (I don't have time to comb through his books for fine paragraphs). No doubt he read Ozymandias.

                          In between the passages you find stilted in his prose are passages like this, where he hits his mark with precision and grace:

                          .

                          The Children and Sir Nameless

                          Sir Nameless, once of Athelhall, declared:
                          "These wretched children romping in my park
                          Trample the herbage till the soil is bared,
                          And yap and yell from early morn till dark!
                          Go keep them harnessed to their set routines:
                          Thank God I've none to hasten my decay;
                          For green remembrance there are better means
                          Than offspring, who but wish their sires away."

                          Sir Nameless of that mansion said anon:
                          "To be perpetuate for my mightiness
                          Sculpture must image me when I am gone."
                          - He forthwith summoned carvers there express
                          To shape a figure stretching seven-odd feet
                          (For he was tall) in alabaster stone,
                          With shield, and crest, and casque, and word complete:
                          When done a statelier work was never known.

                          Three hundred years hied; Church-restorers came,
                          And, no one of his lineage being traced,
                          They thought an effigy so large in frame
                          Best fitted for the floor. There it was placed,
                          Under the seats for schoolchildren. And they
                          Kicked out his name, and hobnailed off his nose;
                          And, as they yawn through sermon-time, they say,
                          "Who was this old stone man beneath our toes?"

                          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                          by Brecht on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 12:12:37 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I bow to Ozymandias. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Brecht

                            I think one of the greatest unfinished poems in the English language begins "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree..."

                            I think that poem you just published would be perfect ammunition for Dorothy Parker to skewer.

                            It is stilted, amateurish, and jejune.

                            Sorry.

                            Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                            by Youffraita on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 01:57:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The argument's become pointless. You're not taking (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RiveroftheWest

                            the time to think, you're making knee-jerk responses based on your strong feelings.

                            I know you're smart, well-read, full of opinions. But you have a mental block here. Your prejudice against Hardy is so strong that you can't see past it, to the text itself.

                            It's not that he can't be criticized. It's that the adjectives you use have no relation to the text itself.

                            Hardy can be stilted, but isn't here - except in the actual words of Sir Nameless, which deliberately reflect his pompous personality. Hardy manages his words, rhythms and meanings with skill and sharp aim, and shapes his tale nicely. Your "amateurish, and jejune" aren't in the poem - they're just labels you've pasted to your mental image of Hardy.

                            Perhaps I was appearing pompous myself, in my defense of Hardy, and you felt like tweaking me. I enjoy your opinions, Youffraita, and your spirited defense of them. But if your opinions on Hardy are completely sincere, than they are also short-sighted.

                            I believe your feelings against Hardy are too strong for you to read him and make an objective judgment. We all have blind spots like this. I think we judge more fairly when we notice our own blindnesses. You're welcome to point out mine, when you spot them.

                            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                            by Brecht on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 04:29:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  That's just my opinion, of course (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                but I have read a lot of different works, in many different genres, over many different centuries.

                Hardy couldn't create a sympathetic character if you gave it to him, already written and wrapped up in silk.

                Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                by Youffraita on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 01:43:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I have never seen a list (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, Brecht, Youffraita

            With Tolstoy at the top.  And it is rare to see a list, unless it is for a particular sub-section, that doesn't list Gatsby or Ulysses as number one.  

            War and peace is good, but not that good.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 06:24:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tolstoy really is that good. He can do pretty much (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

              everything, and was so determined to find a fresh and authentic view of all he saw that he invented in every direction. The same applies to Joyce, and Ulysses is certainly one of the bravest, most original and impressive novels ever penned.

              I've been researching Best Novel lists for a couple of years now. Unless you're obsessive about book lists, I've read more lists of great novels than you have, Wisper. Here's a Diary about my Quest.

              J. Peder Zane did some list-crunching, to find The 10 Greatest Books of All Time.

              What if . .you went to all the big-name authors in the world—Franzen, Mailer, Wallace, Wolfe, Chabon, Lethem, King, 125 of them— and got each one to cough up a top-10 list of the greatest books of all time. . . Then you printed and collated all the lists, crunched the numbers together, and used them to create a definitive all-time Top Top 10 list. . .
              Here, in all its glory, is the all-time, ultimate Top Top 10 list, derived from the top 10 lists of 125 of the world's most celebrated writers combined. Read it and— well, just read it.

              1   Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
              2   Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
              3   War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
              4   Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
              5   The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
              6   Hamlet by William Shakespeare
              7   The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
              8   In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
              9   The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
              10 Middlemarch by George Eliot

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:40:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for the list. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest, Brecht

                I'm reading Anna Karenina as we speak (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation) and am totally blown away. This is one of the deepest but most readable stories ever, a tribute to Tolstoy. Even had me googling for pix of Russian peasants in 1875, and I've never been interested in Russia.

                This after decades of avoiding the Russian authors because of fear of complexity (or long names), altho I did read Crime and Punishment in the 60s when I didn't have a TV.

                I foresee a long happy reading life for me now....

                •  I bought the Pevear/Volokhonsky 'Anna Karenina' (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest

                  a week and a half ago, and am looking forward to it very much. There was an illuminating article on them especially, and translation in general: The Translation Wars.

                  I've been swimming in books about Russian Novels, and will write a three diary overview (in July, I hope). If you want "a long happy reading life", I'll have about fifty more suggestions for you . . .

                  "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                  by Brecht on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 01:13:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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