Doubles, doppelgängers and split personalities

It’s my turn to set the Culture Club agenda (we rotate this around the group). I’ve chosen as my theme: Doubles, Doppelgangers and Split Personalities, and we’re going to be looking at the following works: The Confessions and Private Memoirs of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg (Novel) The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar… Continue reading Doubles, doppelgängers and split personalities

Thoughts on Tristram Shandy

I have been reading and studying Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman for the past couple of months. It’s been a laborious task, and I’m afraid not a happy one. I’ve read around it and I understand the reasons why Tristram Shandy is considered a classic, but my problems with the… Continue reading Thoughts on Tristram Shandy

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The Novel and Literary Form

We’re reading a bunch of novels for this month’s Culture Club (Under the Volcano, The Power and the Glory, The Plumed Serpent). I love reading novels, but when studying them I’m invariably irritated by the lack of form. By ‘form’ I mean literary or artistic form, such as the 14 lines and strict rhyme scheme… Continue reading The Novel and Literary Form

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David Copperfield and the Poetic View of Life

David Copperfield is Charles Dickens’s most autobiographical work (see this short article on auobiographical elements in David Copperfield for some details). If we are to take the main character of David Copperfield as a representative of Dickens himself, we must take seriously his reflections on the nature of that character. There is one point in… Continue reading David Copperfield and the Poetic View of Life

Heart of Darkness in 8 Minutes and 27 Seconds

John Crace’s column in the Guardian, The Digested Read, presents a satirical look at great literary works by summarising them in less than 10 minutes. Here he tackles Heart of Darkness. Sample quote: ‘Pray tell me his last words,’ the intended murmured. My heart trembled. She was only a woman, and therefore too dim to… Continue reading Heart of Darkness in 8 Minutes and 27 Seconds

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Conrad’s Use of Language in Heart of Darkness

In his critical text The Great Tradition F.R. Leavis is interested in Conrad’s use of the English language, in light of it being his third, possibly fourth language, after Polish, French and Russian. He recounts a conversation on the subject: ‘I remember remarking to Andre Chevrillon how surprising a choice it was on Conrad’s part… Continue reading Conrad’s Use of Language in Heart of Darkness

Free: 201 Stories by Anton Chekhov

Constance Garnett translated and published 13 volumes of Chekhov stories between the years 1916 and 1922. This site, 201 Stories by Anton Chekhov, presents all 201 stories in the order of their publication in Russia.  Found via: Open Culture.

Beck Covers Le Grand Meaulnes

The Guardian Unlimited Book section has a story on a new program of Penguin books, MyPenguin. The selection of novels sport ‘naked’ covers, enabling you to add your own designs. To promote the series Penguin has commissioned popular musicians to design the cover for a novel of their choice, and Beck, the American singer/songwriter, has… Continue reading Beck Covers Le Grand Meaulnes

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