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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Who is the Greatest Woman Novelist since 1950? (294 comments)

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  •  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

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      •  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

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              •  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

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                •  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 ]

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