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Old 11-04-2008, 02:06 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
If it's an MA in English literature, then you wouldn't expect Dante or Cervantes to be included, since the first is Italian and the second Spanish.
Good point, once I saw "Shakespeare" my mind triggered to thinking about significant works that came out of the Western Civ.


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Even Steinbeck might be considered rather dubious - such courses often concentrate solely on British authors, considering American literature to be a distinct genre.
Right but the original posts does list American literature as part of the book selection.
It was these sections that my comment was targeted to.

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Originally Posted by mahler
FIELD #6: EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE
Ann Bradstreet, Selections From
Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”;
Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
Walt Whitman, Selections
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

FIELD #7: TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICAN LITERATURE
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Robert Frost, Selections from
Alice Walker, Meridian

Last edited by =X=; 11-04-2008 at 02:07 PM. Reason: corrected grammer
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:27 PM   #17
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Try reading Ulysses with a mental skeleton of an Arthurian tale as its framework. Think in terms of 1) a Quest, 2) is the main character an archetype, such as a Lancelot or a Galahad, and 3) is there chivalry or courtly love according to the codes?

Have you studied Arthurian literature yet? I would highly recommend the Arthurian Encyclopedia, if it weren't a big heavy pbook.

To the medieval section, why not track down "The Knight of the Cart." It's 13th century, and lays a lot of groundwork for what eventually becomes our popular ideas of Arthurian. And it will work well with Gawain and the Green Knight.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:33 PM   #18
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William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Those are 2 of my very favorites! You could make the whole 6 months just on these two and still find something new about them.

April is the cruelest month...
I married Tim on 4/1/89
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:52 PM   #19
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For fun, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. How could I forget that?

Now I'm wishing I was in a lit class!
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:18 PM   #20
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Richard thats a good point, since I started this thread I've been thinking this might end up being more of a framework of books, rather than a list.

The odd thing about the Faerie Queen is... i'd never heard of it before this list, unlike the majority of the others.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:05 AM   #21
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The odd thing about the Faerie Queen is... i'd never heard of it before this list, unlike the majority of the others.
No particular reason why you should have heard of it. I'd judge it to be far less well-known that any of the other works listed.
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Old 11-05-2008, 04:24 AM   #22
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It used to be extremely well known; was even read in nurseries. Now it is judged too difficult for anyone but university students. So much for the education system.
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Old 11-05-2008, 04:31 AM   #23
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I have to confess that I first encountered it via Purcell's operatic version. Although the poem was first published in 1590 - around the time that Shakespeare was becoming well-known, it doesn't seem to have kept its "awareness" in the public perception in the same well the W.S. has.

Richard - I'd hazzard a guess that it was perhaps popular in Victorian times because of its underlying theme of Christian morality? The Victorians were very "big" on morality.
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:19 AM   #24
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Harry, it's a torrent of propaganda, anti-Catholic, anti-Spain, etc., the most amazing feat of toadying - to Elizabeth I - ever attempted and, indeed, triumphantly carried off. The future King James I tried to prosecute him for his libellous portrayal of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots ("Duessa"). Spenser was also much hated in Ireland, where he served as secretary to Lord Grey, and in his Viewe of the Present State of Irelande recommended putting the inhabitants to the sword as a way of solving the Irish question. In fact, if you value your front teeth it's still not a good idea to mention him in a Dublin pub.

Despite all that, it's a fantastic piece of work and the guy was undoubtedly a poetic genius as well as a polymath. I could go on, but have no wish to threadjack!
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:55 AM   #25
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You've made me want to read it now - thanks .
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:40 AM   #26
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Is a book literature if it's really boring?
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:10 PM   #27
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Is a book literature if it's really boring?
Good question. A book by any other name would still smell as dusty. In my opinion, I think when writing/art/music/architecture transcends it's creator's purpose, then it can begin to enter the realm of higher art.

It also helps to have great PR. When Shakespeare died, for example, his actors were left without a playwright - and paycheck. The hallowed First Folio that is held in such high esteem (deservedly so), was just the guys in the chorus collecting together copies of the plays and selling them to a printer to publish in a single, pricey volume. That kept the plays circulating so that they didn't become obscure.

As for transcending its creator's purpose, an example could be The Wasteland. Eliot wrote it during a time of disillusionment following WWI, when the Lost Generation left the basically innocent America for a horrible, bloody, inhuman war in Europe. The poem begins and ends with hope and cleansing - flowers in April despite the ravages of war upon the land, clean cool water to wash away the scars. The amazing part is that it would perfectly describe today, with the stunned and emotionless people for whom nothing or no one is worth even stopping their regular chess game. But as in the poem, a river runs through us all, be it sometimes dry and lifeless or filtered through the dead landscape to come out clean at the end, even still the river goes on.

I guess to my way of thinking, the answer to your question is "no." A boring book would never have a life of its own, so it would vanish into obscurity and not into immortality.

Dont'cha hate it when I get all serious about a subject. Then I'M THE BORING OBJECT!
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:49 PM   #28
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The odd thing about the Faerie Queen is... i'd never heard of it before this list, unlike the majority of the others.
I attempted to read it, but it is very long and at times tedious.
I would instead recommend Michael Moorcock's Gloriana, which is a bit like The Faerie Queen filtered through Mervyn Peake.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:42 PM   #29
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Harry, its interesting you mention Purcell, I had a similar experience with Dido and Aeneas which lead me to read the Aeneid.

Richard and Dixie you guys are neither boring nor thread-jacking, for me, these backgrounds breathe life back into books that at first appear dead. And is a heck of a lot more interesting than wikipedia articles or sparknotes.



Last edited by mahler; 11-05-2008 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:33 PM   #30
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Is a book literature if it's really boring?
Yes, since what is boring is relative to the reader, not the book. I suspect a lot of what you might find boring would enthrall me, and likely vice versa.
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