wheresmycow: (cabinpressure02)
When I became a literature major, I didn't expect to start hating some of the texts I read. I certainly didn't expect to find that analyzing them could be a horrible chore and not a pleasure at all.

Take my current problem, for example: to write a 25+page in-depth analysis of Gertrude Stein's Three Lives; if possible, to come up with some original insight into its creation, reception, and influence on modern American literature.

What else is there to say, though? I can talk about how much of an influence Cubism had on Stein and her work (and how much influence she had on it, thanks to her and Leo's palling around with the Parisian artist's community); taking that idea further, I can write about how much her experimental style reflected and influenced early 20th-century literary modernism; we can discuss the sexual politics of "The Good Anna" and/or racial politics of "Melanctha", even though I find analyses like these irritating and exhausting; I can go back and mine Stein's work with William James and the Harvard Psychology Laboratory for some juicy tidbits about her characterization style.

Thing is, it's all been done. I'm currently surrounded by a sea of printouts of journal articles talking about everything I mentioned above. The only other approach I can think of at the moment is to discuss the significance of threes in Stein's life and work made manifest in Three Lives (also, Cubism. See, cube = three. Get it? *groans*), and right now I don't know how to spin that one without making me sound like some weird New Age fool.

The problem here, too, is that I have now read Three Lives backwards, forwards, and sideways, and I can tell you this: I hate it. I HATE IT. I have never liked the Modernist Literature movement and its dreary misery and emptiness. I hated the literary and linguistic experimentation and how it was all so dreadfully artificial and frequently got in the way of whatever story there was -- and sometimes there wasn't any story to speak of, nothing but a mess. It takes an extremely talented writer to make his or her experimentation seem fluid and organic, and as far as I was concerned Joyce (and to a certain extent Woolf) did it. I am a formalist at heart, and Miss Stein, all you did here was annoy me. Especially with "Melanctha" and its meanderingly circular way of storytelling. Talk about ending not with a bang but with a whimper.

I want to make it clear that I'm not against all literary and linguistic experimentation here -- literature would stagnate if it didn't occur -- but there's a huge slush pile of mediocrity to wade through, here.

It feels like a rat race, sometimes.

Gosh, that felt good. I'm sure I'll regret a lot of the things I've said here by tomorrow, but right now, it feels really good.
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Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] freehold, for my new complete (so far) set of A Song of Ice and Fire. Drink lots of salabat, unless you want to impress more cab drivers as well as the British embassy with your *snortgigglesnort* bedroom voice. *hyurk*

Have fun with my Mirror and the Lamp. If something happens to it, you die.
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So a week or so after my bout of pneumonia (and a bit of dengue fever scare -- honestly, that rash!) my nephew and my sister are now feeling poorly themselves. Uh-oh.

Meanwhile, gave yesterday last Monday night's GeekFight! a miss. Naturally, am now a bit leery of crowds.

(also wasn't pleased that the last one started TWO HOURS LATE. Susmariosep talaga.)

Do I want to go to this?

Click to embiggen

David Henry Hwang! On a Thursday night! At the Ayala Museum in Makati! Filipinas Heritage Library pala. Still, in Makati. And near Ayala Avenue anyway.

(Ugh, Makati. Loathe the place. It's a corporate behemoth.)

On the one hand, need to polish my now-admittedly-rusty English Lit. major skills. On the other hand, baka tamarin ako. Le sigh.
wheresmycow: (Default)
...and thus a non-working holiday. Good thing I'd run over to the bank yesterday and paid the credit card bill.

So today, blew off work (because, again, non-working holiday, so even though I work from home, hello holiday) and blew chunks out of my savings account with lo, many, many books.

A couple of the really interesting books I picked up:

   (From the Introduction) Clearly, one of [Chesterton's] chief strengths as critic is a wit that matches Dickens's own. The book is full of memorable expressions. To give a few examples:
[Dickens's] art is like life, because, like life, it cares for nothing outside itself, and goes on its way rejoicing. Both produce monsters with a kind of carelessness, like enormous by-products; life producing the rhinoceros, and art Mr Bunsby. [p10]

If Dickens learnt to whitewash the universe, it was in a blacking factory that he learnt it. [p21]

Other people's lives may easily be human documents. But a man's own life is always melodrama. [p101]

(From the cover) In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape, decipher its words on a screen, or interact with it on CD-ROM? Are books as we know them dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a boldly original challenge to the new information technologies, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and future of books.

My bedside table pile, it is teetering.
wheresmycow: (Default)
"The freedom to apprehend aesthetic value may rise from class conflict, but the value is not identical with the freedom, even if it cannot be achieved without that apprehension...[W]hatever the Western canon is, it is not a program for social salvation."

--Harold Bloom, "An Elegy for the Canon", from The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages

ILU Bloom, you elitist snob, you.

/yep, bored to tears in the office
wheresmycow: (Default)
There will be an annular eclipse tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Manila time. [livejournal.com profile] runefrancisco tells me to hide my eyes and avoid the triffids.
wheresmycow: (Default)
I seriously don't have the time to pursue this, and goodness knows I've already got Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, but I have to ask: Any thoughts on Simon R. Green's Nightside series?

My name is John Taylor. I've made that a name to be respected and feared, but it's also made me a target my whole life.

I operate as a private eye, in a world where gods and monsters are real. The Nightside: the sick, secret magical heart of London. A place where dreams come true, whether you want them to or not. It's not easy to find a way in, and it can be even harder to find a way out. I can find anything, solve any mystery. Except the answers to the dark and deadly secrets of my own past.

My name is John Taylor. And if you've come looking for me, either you're in trouble, or you're about to be.
wheresmycow: (Default)
THIS was driving me nuts in the office a couple of days ago, thank you [livejournal.com profile] zed_pm. It actually IS smarter (or its search algorithm is simply more thorough) than it has any right to be, dammit.

I thought I'd try to stump it with Miles Vorkosigan, and at first I thought I did when it guessed Lord Havelock Vetinari -- and then I just had to click on "Go On? YES".

It also, annoyingly, got Darna right.

I did finally defeat it with Zsazsa Zaturnnah! I may have confused it all to hell with all the gender questions -- but I doubt that's going to work a second time.

Try to stump it, why don't you?
wheresmycow: (Default)
I speak the truth; my words are straight and true.
The man of Orient birth is not the issue.

The Orient, Sir Walter?

I speak, old friend, of truths in desert land.
The hour is nigh to draw line in the sand.

Deserts? I had made it plain that he was Orient-man.

Though words in haste be only human nature,
‘Orient-man’ is not preferr’d nomenclature.

Read the entirety of the original (and download the PDF, if you want) HERE. [h/t FilmDrunk, via FARK]
wheresmycow: (Default)
The Myth of Sisyphus, as told by Looney Tunes
Wile E. Coyote as the embodiment of the sublimity of failure.

This is in L-Space, somewhere.
wheresmycow: (Default)
  • Went to a christening today. Well, the reception, actually -- I was running around the mall trying to find a suitable gift to give a four-month-old baby boy. My general rule is: Kids below a year old get clothes.

    Trouble is, it's hard to find nice, cute clothing for infant boys. Nearly everything I saw were for little girls. I have to admit, children's clothing has improved drastically since I was a kid. Much prettier, for one. Anyway, I ended up buying a ridiculously cute distressed-T-shirt-and shorts set for a 6+ month-old. Well, when it comes to little kids, it always pays to buy big. They grow up so fast.

  • I adore this shop. It's insane. Everything for P85 ($1.83) and they have a wide variety of things from paper lanterns to kitchen accessories to pretty printed cardboard file boxes to giant knitting needles to car fresheners to jeweled hair clips to striped and non-striped thigh-high socks. Of which I bought two pairs, just for kicks. (ETA: just realized the lameness of that joke.)

  • I'm currently reading Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. As I have only read a couple of Henning Mankells so far before this, I have yet to find out just what makes Swedish crime fiction stand out from other countries' crime fiction.

  • What I really should be reading, however, is Hannah Foster's The Coquette. I refuse to get caught flat-footed in grad class again.

  • I need to watch Doctor Who: The End of Time again. Then all the way back to The Christmas Invasion and the rest of the Tenth Doctor's run. I'm feeling the Ten nostalgia now, oddly enough. Maybe I won't cringe so much over Series 2 (nope, no Rose nostalgia there, no sirree) and I think I've gotten pretty much used to RTD's glaring plot holes that I won't really care anymore.

  • Chuck is coming back! Supernatural is coming back! Burn Notice is coming back! Whee!
Anyway, god. Back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

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