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

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

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    •  The Elizabethan World Picture. (2+ / 0-)
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      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

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      •  I spent seven years in the Shakespeare Ensemble, (2+ / 0-)
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        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

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

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