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Author Topic: Reading this summer  (Read 58531 times)

Tom

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #50 on: 08 Jun 2008, 23:51 »

I plan to attempt those in my summer. 
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Jimmy the Squid

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #51 on: 09 Jun 2008, 01:08 »

I read book two of The Dresden Files, Fool Moon last night and I was particularly impressed. I haven't really read many books with werewolves in them and this was pretty damn awesome. So far my favourite line is about the temptation of black magic:

"...I knew there was some dark corner of me that would enjoy using magic for killing - and then long for more. That was black magic, and it was easy to use. easy and fun. Like Legos."

So while on the subject of werewolves, does anyone have any suggestions for other werewolf-related books?
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #52 on: 09 Jun 2008, 05:57 »

I'll also be rereading Paradise Lost this summer, as I am writing my dissertation on the relationship between religion, politics and religion in 17th century England, and I can't think of a single text more apt than Paradise Lost. I may also reread the His Dark Material trilogy, when I have Paradise Lost fresh in my mind. Might be interesting.

Right now I'm rereading Lolita. Perhaps I should read some new books, rather than going back over ones I've already read. I tend not to reread much, but Lolita is a book I come back to every couple of years, as I always enjoy Nabakov's style in it. Not sure what else I'll be reading this summer. Probably whatever takes my fancy each time I finish another book.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #53 on: 09 Jun 2008, 08:10 »

I'm right in the middle of Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. Really excellent book. It's the first one I've read by him, though I've long intended to read Midnight's Children. That's probably next on my list. I have a habit of going on authorcentric book benders - consuming all the writing that one individual has produced in an unhealthily short amount of time. I sense a Salman Rushdie phase coming on...
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #54 on: 09 Jun 2008, 09:10 »

Already read:
Waiting for Barbarians by Coetzee
Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut
The Savage Detectives by Balano
The Crying of Lot 49 by Pynchon

To read:
Don Quixote
V by Pynchon

Hopefully a lot more.

I tried reading Don Quixote last summer, got maybe a third of the way through and lost interest.  I'll eventually finish it, I think.  I did read V last year, though that was my second or third time starting it.  I think The Crying of Lot 49 and Mason & Dixon are the only Pynchon books I finished on my first attempt.  V, Gravity's Rainbow, and Against the Day all became a bit too much the first time though.

My planned reading for this summer so far is:
H. P. Lovecraft – The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions
M. R. James – The Haunted Doll's House and Other Ghost Stories
Chris Connelly – Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible + Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock (good beach reading, I figure)
David Norton, ed. – The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible with the Apocrypha
Seamus Heaney, trans. – Beowulf
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TheFuriousWombat

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #55 on: 09 Jun 2008, 09:24 »

That Heaney translation of Beowulf is awesome. I also didn't get through Against the Day on my first try. I eventually did finish it but it took me a very long time. Talk about grueling.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #56 on: 09 Jun 2008, 20:59 »

You will never finish Ulysses....ever. 

I actually have to read it for my course (I study english lit) so I really hope I do manage to read it. It looks really interesting.

Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Ulysses by James Joyce

So moving onto some other books, these are some interesting choices.

The three books you quoted there are also for my course, although I am looking forward to reading them. I find that having a basic knowledge of the bible (I was raised in a christian household and did the whole sunday school thing) is invaluable when studying books, but knowledge of the classics (like Homer's Odyssey) as well as of greek and roman mythology is equally useful. I have a great book called "Who's who in the ancient world" which is basically an encyclopedia of Roman and Greek myths and characters.  I'd give the author but I've packed away all my books for moving and I'm not going to hunt it out.

I am halfway through On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and loving it.

I finished On the Road the other night, absolutely fantastic book. Have you read lonesome traveller? It's really great, my favourite kerouac (of the few I've read at least) however is the subterraneans, unfortunately my copy got stolen from my bag when it was in the cloakroom at a gig - I finished it earlier that day.

Sorry for the quoting from the previous page and all that but I've only just checked the thread.
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CamusCanDo

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #57 on: 09 Jun 2008, 21:37 »

Guys, I love this thread.

It being winter here (Fuck You Northern Hemisphere) I'm trying to gather all the books I wasn't much in the mood for reading earlier this year. Lovecraft is a good example. I bought his complete fictions at a steal in Feb but really wasn't in the mood to read about eldritch voices calling upon waning moons. Now it being all grey and gloomy, bring that shit on!

Oh man, Michael Swanwick is one hell of an unappreicated author.

Right now I'm rereading Vellum by Hal Duncan since I picked up the sequel, Ink, a few weeks back.
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Jackie Blue

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #58 on: 09 Jun 2008, 23:26 »

Oh man, Michael Swanwick is one hell of an unappreicated author.

SERIOUSLY.  The first thing I read was Stations of the Tide, I read it in a few hours while I was doing laundry and it blew my gourd like nothing had since I first got into PK Dick.

And I still recommend The Iron Dragon's Daughter as the most baffling, seemingly pointless novel of all time, with the kind of twist ending that M. Night Shyamalan only has wet dreams about writing.

Hopefully I can get the sequel on my day off tomorrow.  How's Bones of the Earth?  I've heard good things but the premise doesn't sound all that intriguing.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #59 on: 10 Jun 2008, 00:06 »

I just finished reading The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. This continues my summer plan of reading The Great American Bestselllers, previously i did Stephen King, i also plan on doing Clancy and Grisham and Ken Follet
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #60 on: 10 Jun 2008, 10:24 »

summer readings planned so far:

His Dark Materials by whoever...Pullman or something.
The Trouble With Physics by Some Physicist
Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

and whatever else i decide needs to get read by me. those are just the ones that are sitting in a pile next to my bed. i'll probably open my dad's old crate of books and read some Huxley and Castenada(sp?) too if i have the time and energy.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #61 on: 10 Jun 2008, 20:41 »

My reading mostly consists of various graphic novels my library happens to have that I have not read yet.

Though I am reading through The Silent Executioner by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre
« Last Edit: 10 Jun 2008, 21:58 by Blue Kitty »
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #62 on: 10 Jun 2008, 21:52 »

I just foound out that Fearful Symmetry is coming out on June 24th.  Finally.  It only took a year and a half from the original release date.


That adds another 400 pages to read before tackling Harry Potter 6 & 7.

Anyone else have any good fiction they can recommend me?  I like Suspense/Thrillers a la Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.
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Surgoshan

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #63 on: 10 Jun 2008, 22:02 »

Tom Clancy is suspsense/thriller?  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy his books (especially Without Remorse), but that's not how I'd label them.  Political/action, really.

Anywho, ..  I can't immediately think of any authors like Clancy.

Have you read Heinlein?  His military background makes his fiction a lot like Clancy's, I think.  Politically, very different, but the attitude is the same.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #64 on: 10 Jun 2008, 22:18 »

I'm currently reading Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond,  Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz, McSweeney's no. 27, and Maps and Legends By Michael Chabon. On the immediate list are Ulysses and Kym, and then Neverwere for some lighter reading. Oh and I got Jonathan Coe's latest too. Need to rip through that.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #65 on: 10 Jun 2008, 22:22 »

Be warned; Neverwhere isn't exactly light reading.  It's very, very good, though.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #66 on: 10 Jun 2008, 22:40 »

Be warned; Neverwhere isn't exactly light reading.  It's very, very good, though.

Hmm. I've read several other books by Gaiman and they were all pretty light I thought. Compared to Ulysses or Collapse I think it'll still work as my light reading book :) hopefully. If not I'll just have to re-read some Douglass Adams or something. Thanks for the heads up!
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #67 on: 10 Jun 2008, 23:02 »

Okay, definitely light compared to frickin' James Joyce.  I'd say it's definitely comparable to Douglas Adams... but with more emphasis on the ... spiritual? Adams was always about the humor, Gaiman I think explores the consequences of the systems he devises. 

I'd say he's on a level with Adams, but with a bit more depth and breadth and a bit less humor.  You may disagree.
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Surgoshan

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #68 on: 10 Jun 2008, 23:19 »

I dunno, I think it's just that I identify Gaiman's work as being much darker.  I agree that he's similar to Pratchett, particularly Pratchett's early work.
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Jackie Blue

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #69 on: 10 Jun 2008, 23:22 »

Yeah see I think you mean Neverwhere is dark in tone.  When you said it's "not light reading" it sounded like you were saying it was a serious piece of literature or something, which it most definitely is not.

I mean I love Gaiman (Stardust made me cry) but he is most definitely "light reading".
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #70 on: 11 Jun 2008, 05:36 »

are you saying his whole work is a "light reading" because neither sandman or american gods have a light tone as such and have a fair scale to them
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CamusCanDo

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #71 on: 11 Jun 2008, 06:02 »

Yeah see I think you mean Neverwhere is dark in tone.  When you said it's "not light reading" it sounded like you were saying it was a serious piece of literature or something, which it most definitely is not.

I mean I love Gaiman (Stardust made me cry) but he is most definitely "light reading".


This.

I think what everyone is trying to say is that compared to a heavy handed piece of classic lierature like Ulysses, Gaiman's work is definitely a "light read". This does not mean that his works lack any sort of depth or tone. It's just a whole lot fucking easier to read because my fucking god, Ulysses.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #72 on: 11 Jun 2008, 06:37 »

Yeah, I love Gaiman's work, but his books are rather light in terms of how challenging a read it is.

I think the first two books I will read this summer are Persepolis and Hitchhiker's Guide. I've never read either and have always wanted to.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #73 on: 11 Jun 2008, 08:10 »

I have heard fairly horrible things about Robin Hobb's Forest Mage, but I liked the first book in that trilogy and I'm kind of curious as to whether it's really that bad so I think I'll pick it up today when I go get the new Swanwick.
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TheFuriousWombat

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #74 on: 11 Jun 2008, 08:26 »

Maps and Legends By Michael Chabon

This looked pretty cool. How is it?
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #75 on: 11 Jun 2008, 10:40 »

Quote from: CamusCanDo
I think what everyone is trying to say is that compared to a heavy handed piece of classic lierature like Ulysses, Gaiman's work is definitely a "light read". This does not mean that his works lack any sort of depth or tone. It's just a whole lot fucking easier to read because my fucking god, Ulysses.

I think you summed it up correctly.

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This looked pretty cool. How is it?

I shall report back when I am finished. I'm not very far at the moment.
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Tom

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #76 on: 11 Jun 2008, 20:37 »

Hitchhiker's Guide.

I for one am absolutely sick of this book, I spent the whole of Term 1 analysing it for Advanved English.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #77 on: 12 Jun 2008, 02:37 »

Hitchhiker's Guide.

I for one am absolutely sick of this book, I spent the whole of Term 1 analysing it for Advanved English.

A. I would argue that Advanved English would have to be an awesome class, based on irony points alone.

B. Anyone who thinks that hitchhiker's guide needs to be analyzed, over or no, needs to be shot.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #78 on: 12 Jun 2008, 05:54 »

Analyzing any book that you may have at one point liked kills it. People think I'm crazy for hating Catcher in the Rye, but part of it was because we analyzed the crap out of. (I wouldn't have liked it anyways, maybe just tolerated it, but I loathe that book now.) So I see why and I too agree with point B.

But as I haven't read it and it seems like a fun read, I'm going to read it. I won't blabber on about it though, for your sake. :-)
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jimbunny

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #79 on: 12 Jun 2008, 07:30 »

I don't know. There's a kind of analysis that will lower enjoyment, but I think that's the kind of analysis that tries to detach the 'hidden content' from the 'surface content.' That's just a poor way of looking at literature, in my estimation. I mean, people analyze books every time they read one--we just don't call it 'analyzing'. Taking a closer look at the work, tossing it against other books, comparing styles and themes--I think these are perfectly legitimate things to do to a work of literature. If nothing else, they help you remember the things you read.

Anyway, I was planning on doing an independent (tutored) study this summer on contemporary American poetry. I decided to call it off on account of low funds, but I still ordered all the books from the list my prof and I compiled. So far, I've read Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford, and I'm in the middle of The Freeing of the Dust by Denise Levertov. These are both really good, and lots more accessible than I think the casual reader assumes of modern poetry. There's a whole bunch of books left on the list, and I probably won't get through them all this summer... Don't have that list with me now; I'll put more up later, maybe.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #80 on: 12 Jun 2008, 08:41 »

It's an approach that is also a very old-fashioned way of looking at literature, since it ignores The Death of The Author. Nothing wrong with a bit of subtext though. Personally, I analyse everything I read to quite a large degree. Not doing that would suck all the fun out of it for me, and turn one of my favourite books into a series of dull but well-written accounts of some building work. I've never liked the idea that some culture is unworthy of analysis either, just because it's populist and not what was traditionally called high art.

Shit teaching of a text can really spoil it though. I never want to read Animal Farm again in my life after GCSE English.

As far as my summer reading goes, I'm currently kicking myself for going this long without reading The Revolution of Everyday Life. It's making me feel better about the world and my place in it. An incredible book.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #81 on: 12 Jun 2008, 09:16 »

Analyzing any book that you may have at one point liked kills it. People think I'm crazy for hating Catcher in the Rye, but part of it was because we analyzed the crap out of. (I wouldn't have liked it anyways, maybe just tolerated it, but I loathe that book now.) So I see why and I too agree with point B.

It's okay, I hated that book so much when I read it. You are not the only one!
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jimbunny

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #82 on: 12 Jun 2008, 09:29 »

It's an approach that is also a very old-fashioned way of looking at literature, since it ignores The Death of The Author. Nothing wrong with a bit of subtext though.

Mrrr...close reading, intertextuality, and contextualisation are not going out of style anytime soon, bub. Not even necessarily talking about an author, yet. And not to slight anyone's knowledge of literary theory, but what is it with this board and "The Death of the Author" (it's the title of an essay by Roland Barthes, for those of you who haven't caught on yet)? Sure, it's figured heavily into a lot of post-structuralism, but that's not the only ballgame out there. Look around, you'll find essays purporting "The Death of the Reader" and even "The Death of the Text." Not much  left after that. Personally, I can't help feeling that approaches that completely eliminate authorial intention, though I understand their merits and why they developed, always seem either a little arrogant, or too stuck up their own asses to state simply what should be obvious.
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Jackie Blue

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #83 on: 12 Jun 2008, 11:22 »

I think that forced, academic analysation can definitely make a book less enjoyable.

But I certainly have a running background process by which I analyse any and everything I see, including books I read.  At least half the time I'm wondering about things in the text that reveal an author's unconcious or unintentional subtext, such as the (ugh) Wheel of Time books and the rampant misogyny.  Or, to be charitable, not technically misogyny so much as wildly delusional beliefs about women and their actions and motivations.

It seems to me that people who subscribe to the Death of the Author theory are perplexingly misguided, since with extremely few exceptions I find that every author I have ever read has an unique perspective and voice that unites all their work and causes themes to constantly recur.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #84 on: 12 Jun 2008, 11:35 »

Right now I am reading "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore. I may also try to re-read the HP novels in full again, since I skipped to the last three last summer (and I didn't really get through them over Spring Break. I am such a slacker). Otherwise, I'll probably pick up a few Manga and read those over the summer too, and I might re-read The Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. If I like Lamb, I'll probably pick up some more Moore books too.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #85 on: 12 Jun 2008, 11:48 »

Granted, I haven't read a lot of it and I'm no literary theorist, but the few post-structuralist criticisms I've read struck me as some of the most masturbatory intellectualism I could imagine: more about how deliciously clever the critic could be than about relaying any kind of interesting insight to the work in question.

Are there any post-structralist criticisms that might appeal to a "common" reader, or are they pretty much all like that?  I'd like to read a something that's considered a good example of the technique before dismissing it completely.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #86 on: 12 Jun 2008, 11:53 »

Demonstrating how clever the critic can be is unfortunately the hallmark of most criticism (see: Richard Dawkins.  Zinger!)
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #87 on: 12 Jun 2008, 12:11 »

Ah, so true!  :lol:  I guess what I don't like about post-structuralism is that it seems to decouple the demonstration of the critic's cleverness from any actual analysis of the text.  Instead of being clever by looking at the text in a unique way, the post-structuralist criticisms I've read treated the text as a sort of free-associative springboard for any kind of riffing they felt like.  Which I (think I) understand is the whole point.  But if that's the case, I'd be more than happy to avoid it from now on.

But yeah, I would be interested in giving it another shot if someone would point me to a stand-out example.
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loam

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #88 on: 12 Jun 2008, 12:52 »

I think that forced, academic analysation can definitely make a book less enjoyable.

But I certainly have a running background process by which I analyse any and everything I see, including books I read.  At least half the time I'm wondering about things in the text that reveal an author's unconcious or unintentional subtext, such as the (ugh) Wheel of Time books and the rampant misogyny.  Or, to be charitable, not technically misogyny so much as wildly delusional beliefs about women and their actions and motivations.

I completely agree and was of course overstating my case a bit for dramatic effect... You can't help but analyse as you read, and I certainly enjoy discussing the things I read, listen to, or watch - but I was unfortunately subjected to some lit classes in college that haunt my thoughts to this day. I can completely imagine spending an entire quarter trying to pretend like we're finding deep meaning in the Hitchhiker's Guide. Ugh.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #89 on: 12 Jun 2008, 14:06 »

Mrrr...close reading, intertextuality, and contextualisation are not going out of style anytime soon, bub. Not even necessarily talking about an author, yet. And not to slight anyone's knowledge of literary theory, but what is it with this board and "The Death of the Author" (it's the title of an essay by Roland Barthes, for those of you who haven't caught on yet)? Sure, it's figured heavily into a lot of post-structuralism, but that's not the only ballgame out there. Look around, you'll find essays purporting "The Death of the Reader" and even "The Death of the Text." Not much  left after that. Personally, I can't help feeling that approaches that completely eliminate authorial intention, though I understand their merits and why they developed, always seem either a little arrogant, or too stuck up their own asses to state simply what should be obvious.

I wasn't suggesting they were going out of style, and The Death of the Author is all about intertextuality anyway. I was just talking about those approaches that focus on the idea of a hidden meaning implanted there by the author being the most important thing when looking at a text being rather old-fashioned. And post-sctructuralism might not be the only ballgame out there, but Barthes work took the focus away from the author and placed it onto the text itself, and I think the importance of that is huge.
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Tom

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #90 on: 12 Jun 2008, 20:19 »

A. I would argue that Advanved English would have to be an awesome class, based on irony points alone.

B. Anyone who thinks that hitchhiker's guide needs to be analyzed, over or no, needs to be shot.

A. More people at my school do this course than those who do the Standard course.

B. Yeah, the Board of Studies is a little wack.
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jimbunny

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #91 on: 13 Jun 2008, 07:09 »

The New Critics had been focusing on the text alone a decade before Barthes. There are similarities between the New Criticism and post-structuralism, but what I think Barthes was after was the supposed individuality of the author-creator. One of the motivating ideas of post-structuralism is the denial of individuality (a hang-up of the modernists): both of the author and of the text (or of the individuality of meaning within a text). You're right that The Death of the Author is all about intertextuality, in the sense that "the text" gets redefined as something spread across and pieced together of many works and becomes not the product of a single person but a host of plugged-in mouthboxes that all speak the narrative of a particular period.

Of course, it'd be hard to give a fair summary of Barthes or most of the other post-structuralists, because they're so unbelievably, ridiculously dense. In the end, I can't help thinking that that's just a matter of convenience.

As far as good examples of post-structuralism go, I think J. Hillis Miller is usually pretty straightforward, relatively speaking. He's definitely guilty of the "riffing" rynne mentioned... but when your whole MO is that meaning in a text is fundamentally undecidable, that's probably to be expected. And some of that riffing is pretty interesting to read, I must say.
« Last Edit: 13 Jun 2008, 11:35 by jimbunny »
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De_El

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #92 on: 13 Jun 2008, 11:08 »

Guys: this summer I am going to read the final volume of OMG Y: The Last Man.
 
Also as I am like 17 I was totally unaware of this whole "Death of the Author" business.  It seems like something I'd really enjoy arguing about. Non-fiction tyme? Perhaps. Although I';ve been really busy and still haven't finished The Idiot.

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #93 on: 13 Jun 2008, 18:28 »

I don't really agree with death of the author. I feel it's the same as the idea of death of the artist and as an artist, I feel it's kind of impossible to remove yourself from your work. You may be able to remove your opinions and emotions, but it's still your hand that creates it, be it art or literature.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #94 on: 13 Jun 2008, 19:11 »

Arguably the readers/viewers/audience of the art have as much to do with the creation of and the meaning within art as the artist does.  Meaning simply because it is not up to the artist to say that their work is about X and only X because if I genuinely think it's about Y then, to me, it's about Y.  Creation because art is always created with an audience in mind, obviously however the artist can be their own audience.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #95 on: 13 Jun 2008, 19:27 »

Guys, I feel as if I've been enlightened by a glow in the dark sticker.
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #96 on: 14 Jun 2008, 18:27 »

Oli, I agree with you. I leave my work up for interpretation for the most part, but the style, the medium I work in, it's based on my choices. I think it's the same for the author with what genre they write in and how they write that puts them into their work, but not always what they write about. I just don't agree that the artist/writer can be completely removed, especially if they attach their name to their work. (Some use pseudonyms/alter egos.)
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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #97 on: 15 Jun 2008, 00:03 »

Yeah, as a writer/musician/visual artist myself I'm definitely gonna have to say it annoys me that some people think my intentions and input can be completely removed from a comprehensive analysis of my work and still have said analysis be more than intellectual masturbation.
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jimbunny

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #98 on: 15 Jun 2008, 03:26 »

Well, if they don't consider your intentions then it's not a comprehensive analysis. At the same time, I don't think that people do "comprehensive" analyses of art, anymore. Or, rather, people have fessed up to never having been able to do so. Or, rather, they still try but from an angle that already assumes that they don't (i.e. fail).
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Jimmy the Squid

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Re: Reading this summer
« Reply #99 on: 15 Jun 2008, 03:43 »

Yeah, as a writer/musician/visual artist myself I'm definitely gonna have to say it annoys me that some people think my intentions and input can be completely removed from a comprehensive analysis of my work and still have said analysis be more than intellectual masturbation.


Yeah but you might have to realise that that people who interpret your work as separate from your intentions probably don't give a shit about how you feel about it. After all, you're dead.
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