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Old 07-31-2017, 08:54 PM   #389
Spinnenmonat
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This is my list of nominations:

1. Lotte in Weimar by Thomas Mann

Spoiler:
Forty years after their youthful association, Lotte Kestner, real-life heroine of Goethe's famous novel The Sorrows of Werther, makes a pilgrimage to Weimer to see Goethe. Upon her arrival, Lotte, to her surprise, is greeted as a celebrity and taken up into Goethe's set.

Thomas Mann, fascinated with the concept of genius and with the richness of German culture, found in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe the embodiment of the German culture hero. Mann's novelistic biography of Goethe was first published in English in 1940. Lotte in Weimar is a vivid dual portrait—a complex study of Goethe and of Lotte, the still-vivacious woman who in her youth was the model for Charlotte in Goethe's widely-read The Sorrows of Young Werther. Lotte's thoughts, as she anticipates meeting Goethe again after forty years, and her conversations with those in Weimar who knew the great man, allow Mann to assess Goethe's genius from many points of view.


2. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

Spoiler:
Waverley is set during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart dynasty in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'). It relates the story of a young dreamer and English soldier, Edward Waverley, who was sent to Scotland in 1745. He journeys North from his aristocratic family home, Waverley-Honour, in the south of England (alleged in an English Heritage notice to refer to Waverley Abbey in Surrey) first to the Scottish Lowlands and the home of family friend Baron Bradwardine, then into the Highlands and the heart of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and aftermath.


3. The Bostonians by Henry James

Spoiler:
This brilliant satire of the women’s rights movement in America is the story of the ravishing inspirational speaker Verena Tarrant and the bitter struggle between two distant cousins who seek to control her. Will the privileged Boston feminist Olive Chancellor succeed in turning her beloved ward into a celebrated activist and lifetime companion? Or will Basil Ransom, a conservative southern lawyer, steal Verena’s heart and remove her from the limelight?

“The Bostonians has a vigor and blithe wit found nowhere else in James,” writes A. S. Byatt in her Introduction. “It is about idealism in a democracy that is still recovering from a civil war bitterly fought for social ideals . . . [written] with a ferocious, precise, detailed—and wildly comic—realism.”


4. Murder in the Cathedral by T.S.Eliot

Spoiler:
T. S. Eliot's verse dramatization of the murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

The Archbishop Thomas Becket speaks fatal words before he is martyred in T. S. Eliot's best-known drama, based on the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. Praised for its poetically masterful handling of issues of faith, politics, and the common good, T. S. Eliot's play bolstered his reputation as the most significant poet of his time.


5. Don Juan by George Gordon Byron

Spoiler:
Byron's exuberant masterpiece tells of the adventures of Don Juan, beginning with his illicit love affair at the age of sixteen in his native Spain and his subsequent exile to Italy. Following a dramatic shipwreck, his exploits take him to Greece, where he is sold as a slave, and to Russia, where he becomes a favourite of the Empress Catherine who sends him on to England. Written entirely in ottava rima stanza form, Byron's Don Juan blends high drama with earthy humour, outrageous satire of his contemporaries (in particular Wordsworth and Southey) and sharp mockery of Western societies, with England coming under particular attack.


6. Job by Joseph Roth

Spoiler:
Mendel Singer, a modern day Job, goes through his trials in the ghettoes of Tsarist Russia and on the unforgiving streets of New York. He loses his family, falls terribly ill, and is badly abused. He needs a miracle.


7. The Golden Bough by James Frazer

Spoiler:
Before Joseph Campbell became the world's most famous practitioner of comparative mythology, there was Sir James George Frazer. The Golden Bough was originally published in two volumes in 1890, but Frazer became so enamored of his topic that over the next few decades he expanded the work sixfold, then in 1922 cut it all down to a single thick edition suitable for mass distribution. The thesis on the origins of magic and religion that it elaborates "will be long and laborious," Frazer warns readers, "but may possess something of the charm of a voyage of discovery, in which we shall visit many strange lands, with strange foreign peoples, and still stranger customs." Chief among those customs--at least as the book is remembered in the popular imagination--is the sacrificial killing of god-kings to ensure bountiful harvests, which Frazer traces through several cultures, including in his elaborations the myths of Adonis, Osiris, and Balder.


8. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe

Spoiler:
A legendary author on par with William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Wolfe published Look Homeward, Angel, his first novel, about a young man's burning desire to leave his small town and tumultuous family in search of a better life, in 1929. It gave the world proof of his genius and launched a powerful legacy.

The novel follows the trajectory of Eugene Gant, a brilliant and restless young man whose wanderlust and passion shape his adolescent years in rural North Carolina. Wolfe said that Look Homeward, Angel is "a book made out of my life," and his largely autobiographical story about the quest for a greater intellectual life has resonated with and influenced generations of readers, including some of today's most important novelists. Rich with lyrical prose and vivid characterizations, this twentieth-century American classic will capture the hearts and imaginations of every reader.


9. The Rainbow by D.H.Lawrence

Spoiler:
Lush with religious and metaphysical imagery, this is the story of three generations of the Brangwen family, set against the decline of their rural English existence in the face of industrialization. The novel also treats the most taboo subject of its time, peering intimately into a family’s sexual mores, exposing the dynamics of marriage and physical love as a sexual tug-of-war that is both formidable and inescapable. Visionary and prophetic, The Rainbow was banned in England after its publication in 1915 and was long available in the U.S. only in an expurgated edition.


10. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne

Spoiler:
Laurence Sterne's great masterpiece of bawdy humour and rich satire defies any attempt to categorize it. Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate "hero" Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr. Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations.

The text and notes of this volume are based on the acclaimed Florida Edition, with a critical introduction by Melvyn New and Christopher Rick's introductory essay from the first Penguin edition.
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