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Old 04-06-2012, 01:48 AM   #1
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Obscure Nominations April 2012 • The MR Literary Club

This is the real nominations thread for April.

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read for April 2012!

The nominations will run through April 11 or until five works have made the list.

Final voting in a new poll will begin by April 11, where the month's selection will be decided.


The category for this month is:

Obscure


NEW THIS MONTH - In order for a work to be included in the poll it needs FOUR nominations - the original nomination plus THREE supporting.

Each participant has FOUR nominations to use. You can nominate a new work for consideration or you can support (second, third or fourth) a work that has already been nominated by another person.

To nominate a work just post a message with your nomination. If you are the first to nominate a work, it's always nice to provide an abstract to the work so others may consider their level of interest.


What is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a play, a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!


The floor is now open!


*


Nominations complete:


The Permanent Husband (aka The Eternal Husband) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Fully Nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - caleb72, fantasyfan, Hamlet53, Bookworm_Girl

In print the story is approximately 150 pages give or take so it's not huge like some of his other more famous novels.

Quote:
From one of the world's greatest prose writers, this is a remarkable psychological novel examining the duality of the human consciousness. Velchaninov, a rich and idle man undergoing a moral crisis, is confronted in St. Petersburg by Trusotsky, the loyal husband of Velchaninov’s former lover. Trusotsky informs Velchaninov that his wife has died, and from here this fascinating novella charts the development of the two men’s lives. Beautifully portraying the confused and changing feelings the two men have for one another, this work moves through guilt, hatred, and love. This is Dostoevsky at his best, engaging with his favored themes of tortured minds and neurosis, and treating them in a captivating and highly revealing way.

...and this from Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Eternal Husband is one of Dostoyevsky lesser known novels. The subject of a deceived husband is lighter than in his other novels, but some critics say this novel ranks among his best works because of its style and structure. Alfred Bem calls it "one of the most complete works by Dostoyevsky in regards to its composition and development.


Columba by Prosper Mérimée - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - Hamlet53, Bookworm_Girl, sun surfer, fantasyfan

Set on the island of Corsica in the 19th Century it is the tale of a young solider who after serving in the French army returns home when his father is murdered. There his sister incites him to seek a revenge killing on the rival family that she is convinced murdered their father. Very colorful portrait of the Corsican culture of the time.

Wikipedia biography of Prosper Mérimée


Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb, as translated by Jane Kuntz - Fully Nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - toomanybooks, sun surfer, issybird, caleb72

A lush journey into a Tunisia of memory and imagination.

Talismano is a novelistic exploration of writing seen as a hallucinatory journey through half-remembered, half-imagined cities—in particular, the city of Tunis, both as it is now, and as it once was. Walking and writing, journey and journal, mirror one another to produce a calligraphic, magical work: a palimpsest of various languages and cultures, highlighting Abdelwahab Meddeb’s beguiling mastery of both the Western and Islamic traditions. Meddeb’s journey is first and foremost a sensual one, almost decadent, where the narrator luxuriates in the Tunis of his memories and intercuts these impressions with recollections of other cities at other times, reviving the mythical figures of Arab-Islamic legend that have faded from memory in a rapidly westernizing North Africa. A fever dream situated on the knife-edge between competing cultures, Talismano is a testament to the power of language to evoke, and subdue, experience.


Hunger by Knut Hamsun - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - Synamon, toomanybooks, orlok, paola

Hamsun won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1920 for The Growth of the Soil. Hunger is an early work, written in 1890. The public domain version was translated from Norwegian by Mary Chavelita Dunne using the alias George Egerton, but you can find later translations by Robert Bly and Sverre Lyngstad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki
Written after Hamsun's return from an ill-fated tour of America, Hunger is loosely based on the author's own impoverished life before his breakthrough in 1890. Set in late 19th century Kristiania, the novel recounts the adventures of a starving young man whose sense of reality is giving way to a delusionary existence on the darker side of a modern metropolis.


Memoirs of a Midget by Walter De La Mare - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - fantasyfan, toomanybooks, Hamlet53, caleb72

The author is known primarily for his strange stories, poetry, and writings for both adults and children. His masterpiece, however, may well be this extraordinary novel which not many even know about--let alone bother to read. Here is a selection from a review of it from The Observer:

". . . the reader will be charmed and amazed by this odd, creepy tale, which is a gripping account of a young woman enduring a confined life of quiet desperation. Miss M is intelligent and observant, with a profound sensitivity to nature, but she is also tortured by an unrequited, obsessive love for Fanny, the horrible daughter of one of her guardians - "With a silly, animal-like affection I brushed purposely against Fanny's skirts" - which drags her into despair and near-madness.

"De la Mare's preoccupation with the Brontës is unsubtle . . . . But Memoirs of a Midget is a triumphant work of fiction: a portrait of a complex heroine who the reader will ultimately find quite as compelling as Jane or Cathy."


The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allen Poe - 1
Spoiler:
In favour - fantasyfan

One of the most neglected and obscure works by Edgar Allen Poe. It is the only novel length work by Poe and while Poe based it on several real-life events and apparently intended at the beginning to make it realistic, it very soon became very strange. The novel begins as an adventure story involving a stowaway, Arthur Gordon Pym, and continues with his ever more weird adventures. Poe published it in 1838 and it received very mixed reviews.

Goodreads says this about it:
"Some critics responded negatively to the work for being too gruesome & for cribbing heavily from other works, while others praised its exciting adventures. Poe himself later called it "a very silly book". Nevertheless, The Narrative became an influential work, notably for Herman Melville & Jules Verne."

Despite Poe's dismissive remark, it remains an interesting oddity.


The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe - 2
Spoiler:
In favour - sun surfer, paola

"When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I done on Mrs. Nugent."

Thus begins Patrick McCabe's shattering novel The Butcher Boy, a powerful and unrelenting journey into the heart of darkness. The bleak, eerie voice belongs to Francie Brady, the "pig boy," the only child of and alcoholic father and a mother driven mad by despair. Growing up in a soul-stifling Irish town, Francie is bright, love-starved, and unhinged, his speech filled with street talk, his heart filled with pain...his actions perfectly monstrous.

Held up for scorn by Mrs. Nugent, a paragon of middle-class values, and dropped by his best friend, Joe, in favor of her mamby-pamby son, Francie finally has a target for his rage--and a focus for his twisted, horrific plan.

Dark, haunting, often screamingly funny, The Butcher Boy chronicles the pig boy's ominous loss of innocence and chilling descent into madness. No writer since James Joyce has had such marvelous control of rhythm and language... and no novel since The Silence Of The Lambs has stunned us with such a macabre, dangerous mind.

Last edited by sun surfer; 04-10-2012 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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OK, I'll nominate one of the most neglected and obscure works by Edgar Allen Poe--The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. It is the only novel length work by Poe and while Poe based it on several real-life events and apparently intended at the beginning to make it realistic, it very soon became very strange. The novel begins as an adventure story involving a stowaway, Arthur Gordon Pym, and continues with his ever more weird adventures including shipwreck, mutiny, and cannibalism. Poe published it in 1838 and it received very mixed reviews.

Goodreads says this about it:
"Some critics responded negatively to the work for being too gruesome & for cribbing heavily from other works, while others praised its exciting adventures. Poe himself later called it "a very silly book". Nevertheless, The Narrative became an influential work, notably for Herman Melville & Jules Verne."

Despite Poe's dismissive remark, it remains an interesting oddity.

To be honest, I've never read it through entirely and perhaps this might provide an opportunity to do so.

It's available as a free download from Project Gutenberg. It is the main text in Works of Edgar Allen Poe--Volume 3.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 04-06-2012 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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OK - I'll also go with a famous author and a lesser known work.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky and his novella The Permanent Husband (aka The Eternal Husband). You can pick this up at Project Gutenberg where it is bundled with Uncle's Dream. You can also purchase it standalone for about $5 from Amazon etc..

In print the story is approximately 150 pages give or take so it's not huge like some of his other more famous novels.

Quote:
From one of the world's greatest prose writers, this is a remarkable psychological novel examining the duality of the human consciousness. Velchaninov, a rich and idle man undergoing a moral crisis, is confronted in St. Petersburg by Trusotsky, the loyal husband of Velchaninov’s former lover. Trusotsky informs Velchaninov that his wife has died, and from here this fascinating novella charts the development of the two men’s lives. Beautifully portraying the confused and changing feelings the two men have for one another, this work moves through guilt, hatred, and love. This is Dostoevsky at his best, engaging with his favored themes of tortured minds and neurosis, and treating them in a captivating and highly revealing way.
...and this from Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Eternal Husband is one of Dostoyevsky lesser known novels. The subject of a deceived husband is lighter than in his other novels, but some critics say this novel ranks among his best works because of its style and structure. Alfred Bem calls it "one of the most complete works by Dostoyevsky in regards to its composition and development."
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:50 PM   #4
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I nominate Talismano. I have a link below to then Wikipedia page for the author and a summary of the book from the Kobo website. This book is published by Dalkey Archive, a really cool non-profit publishing house dedicated to publishing and keeping in print experimental and non-commercial books.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdelwahab_Meddeb


"Talismano
By Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jane Kuntz

A lush journey into a Tunisia of memory and imagination.
Talismano is a novelistic exploration of writing seen as a hallucinatory journey through half-remembered, half-imagined cities—in particular, the city of Tunis, both as it is now, and as it once was. Walking and writing, journey and journal, mirror one another to produce a calligraphic, magical work: a palimpsest of various languages and cultures, highlighting Abdelwahab Meddeb’s beguiling mastery of both the Western and Islamic traditions. Meddeb’s journey is first and foremost a sensual one, almost decadent, where the narrator luxuriates in the Tunis of his memories and intercuts these impressions with recollections of other cities at other times, reviving the mythical figures of Arab-Islamic legend that have faded from memory in a rapidly westernizing North Africa. A fever dream situated on the knife-edge between competing cultures, Talismano is a testament to the power of language to evoke, and subdue, experience."
From Kobo website($10.09)
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:26 PM   #5
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All three nominations so far sound interesting; I'll start by seconding Talismano.
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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I'll second The Permanent Husband.
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:57 PM   #7
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I will nominate Columba by Prosper Mérimée. I nominate this based on the fact that Mérimée himself is not that well known and to the extent that he is it is for his story Carmen upon which the famous opera by Bizet was based.

Set on the island of Corsica in the 19th Century it is the tale of a young solider who after serving in the French army returns home when his father is murdered. There his sister incites him to seek a revenge killing on the rival family that she is convinced murdered their father. Very colorful portrait of the Corsican culture of the time.

Wikipedia biography of Prosper Mérimée



This is available here at MR and at PG
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:59 PM   #8
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A Dostoyevsky novel I have not read? I well third The Permanent Husband.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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I will fourth The Permanent Husband and second Columba.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:33 PM   #10
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I'll third Columba.

With Bookworm_Girl's support, The Permanent Husband is now fully nominated.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:58 PM   #11
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I'll fourth Columba.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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Third Talismano.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:49 PM   #13
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I will fourth Talismano. Looks intriguing.

EDIT: By the way - love the theme for this month. It's a great idea!

Last edited by caleb72; 04-06-2012 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
EDIT: By the way - love the theme for this month. It's a great idea!
I am loving it, too, but I am also finding it quite hard, as all of my obscure findings are so obscure that there is at best a pbook available in the US
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by paola View Post
I am loving it, too, but I am also finding it quite hard, as all of my obscure findings are so obscure that there is at best a pbook available in the US
Why not list some of them anyway? I'd love to see what you've come up with.
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