I had been on the fence about reading this book, but I am so glad I did. It is on many Top 100 Lists, but other reviewers had found it stuffy and dry. Were those naysayers even reading the same book? The ending wasn’t quite where it should have been, but unlike reviewers who chalk it up to postmodernist mystery, I would almost say the author wearied of writing. It lost spirit. But it’s still a wonderful book.
Peter Ackroyd has written many biographies on writers – Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Poe – histories on London and England, and quite a bit of fiction – and I am very tempted to read all of his work, especially his interpretation of La Morte d’Arthur, which was just published this last month.
Lessons: Themes are carried through in repetition and echoes, and motifs or totems are very powerful. My other thought is that literature is a form of life, it is analogous, and studying it is not so much the work of a writer, but of a biologist. Literary Biology?
I must also add an aside: I’m going to have to read some classics. Everything is pointing that way. And doesn’t Gone with The Wind lend itself to a zombie or vampire interpretation? Lots of books: Moby Dick, Faust, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Blake, Poe, Dickens, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Stendahl, Camus.
And aside from classics, I am on a King Arthur kick. He’s tied to Wales, there are so many books on him. I’m thinking of doing a book of King Arthur quotes from other King Arthur books. I could get really wrapped up in this. And it led me to A.A Attanasio. Al.
To further make my point, Peter Ackroyd said...