Posts Tagged ‘William Gibson’

Back to Nature–Books Whirlybinge

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My last post was in September.  I had just started graduate school, and since then, it’s been a “mad coupla months”!  Reading and writing for every book, for quizzes and tests. Abstracts, research papers, annotations. I love it!  Writing for school is kinda chill.  It satisfies a hunger that can’t be fed by anything material.  All the reading and writing works like Slick50 in my brain.  New words and ideas are firing sparks, making new connections – synapses snapping all day long in a jazzy funk rhythm that knows no time and no boundaries.  My mind is so active and firing on all pistons…

But it’s Christmas holidays now – what some people call “winter” break.  Qoi?  Brutha, pleez!  Down in South Texas, the kindest thing I can say is that it’s NOT 100 degrees F. 

So what’s my point? Where, even?  Well, I was writing an informal essay for every novel, interpreting Middle English, analyzing, synthesizing, assessing – the whole Bloom’s.  Writing for the blog seemed redundant.  Also, I wondered whether writing about the same book here and for class might create a conflict.  I knew in my heart, there would be a significant slip differential between how the work was represented for academic purposes and how I felt about it personally.  Case in point: PATTERN RECOGNITION by William Gibson.  The protagonist Cayce is ridiculously hip and cool in her anti-logo fetish, but the novel itself is well-boring. Snail’s pace. Grim, gray other-world that’s a cross between Graham Greene and Ray Bradbury, except not interesting.  But through academic eyes, it’s a disturbingly visionary story.  Cayce talks about people she doesn’t ever see, chats online with people she never sees but once or twice. Her life has almost nothing to do with human interaction and a lot to do with cyber-communication.  Are we headed there or are we already there?  Geddit?

So I let the blog go for the time-being.  But now that it’s the hols, let the variety begin!

BOOKS BOUGHT

Saturnalia, Volume I: Books 1-2 (Loeb Classical Library)[1] Lucian, Vol. 7: Dialogues of the Dead / Dialogues of the Sea-Gods / Dialogues of the Gods / Dialogues of the Courtesans (Loeb Classical Library, No. 4[2] Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, Volume 1: Books I-V (I Tatti Renaissance Library)[3]
Juvenal and Persius (Loeb Classical Library)[4] Boccaccio, Beauvau and Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde : Four Perspectives on Influence[5] Days of Reading (Penguin Great Ideas)[6]
One Continuous Mistake : Four Noble Truths for Writers[7] How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students[8] The Consolation of Philosophy (Norton Critical Editions)[9]

 

[1]  I really enjoyed Somnium Scipionis which led me to pick up this SATURNALIA of Macrobius.   LINK to good online overview of this work.  I also have this Loeb by Cicero – De Officiis (Walter Miller, trans.).  LINK to online overview.

[2]  Effing Cool, Irresistible titles!

Product Details[3]  Again – Effing Cool Title. It’s early days but it’s sounding like a crosMs between Bullfinch’sMythology and Ovid’s Metamorpheses.  Loving it! (LINK to online version)  (Who the hell needs Effing SparkNotes for Bullfinch’s Mythology???)

 

[4]  My Medieval Lit prof talked about these satires and I had a Pavlovian reaction to the word “satire”.  That being, ears perk up, blood flows a little faster, I start thinking of clever wordplay, double-entendres, taking the piss, etc.  I shan’t rule out a touch of salivating. (UofMichigan Collection)  I finished reading the six Juvenal satires and, while there was a strong odor of whingeing, the translation was accomplished with a good ear for standup comedy.  Very Lewis Black in nature.

image[5]  4 Perspectives on Troilus and Criseyde.  Pure intellectual spelunking. Highbrow fun.  It reads like the author’s doctoral dissertation, though. What a wonderful advantage to be able to do research in more than one language.  For all that English is wonderfully comprehensive, I now feel incomplete that I can’t read German or Italian well enough (yet) to do more thorough research in Medieval literature. (LINK to online version) My favorite version of T&C is George Phillip Krapp’s rendition in verse.  It’s out of print, but I managed to find a copy through www.ebay.com

[6]   Ahhh, Proust. You most nerdy of nerds. Is there a French word for “nerd”?  Do the French even need one?  You might think not, but then again, Franck Ribery.  C’est une tare’.  Une grosse dinde. 

Product Details[7]  I actually ordered this book in 2009 on the recommendation of my student teacher that semester.  I lent it to a friend because I started reading the other book that ordered with it.  Haven’t seen it since but it’s cool.  That’s a good sign, I think. Beautiful cover design. Very easy to read. It’s kind of like A Writing Life by Annie Dillard.  It just has that kind of “become one with the pencil” kind of vibe.  It’s actually a great apologia for writing, as is Dillard’s book.

[8]  Not here yet

[9] Not here yet.

BOOKS READ

A Writing Life (Annie Dillard)

One Continuous Mistake

Satires of Juvenal and Persius

Navarro’s Promise  (Lora Leigh)

Geneology of The Pagan Gods

Pattern Recognition (William Gibson)

“Simulacra and Simulations” by Jean Baudrillard (Chapter 7 of Baudrillard’s Selected Writings, Mark Poster, ed.)

Graduate English Passus 1

I’ve finally gone and done it… finally got set up in grad school.  It took ages for many reasons not relevant to this blog.  Nevertheless, here’s the gear I had to stock up on.

~~ BOOKS BOUGHT ~~

Medieval Lit: “The Dream Vision”

  • PIERS PLOWMAN.  William Langland/Norton Critical Ed.  (ISBN 9780393975598)
  • DREAM VISIONS AND OTHER POEMS/GEOFFREY CHAUCER.  Kathryn L. Lynch, ed.  Norton Critical Ed. (ISBN: 9780393925883)

     

    Other Readings:

    John Gower. Confessio Amantis

    The Dream of The Rood

    The Romance of The Rose

    Plato.  Myth of Er 

  • Somnium Scipionis

    American Lit:  Transnationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Globalization

    Product Details A Small Place My Year of Meats
    Product Details Product Details The Names
    Pattern Recognition Dogeaters Product Details
    1. Dogeaters: A Play by Jessica Hagedorn  (The Phillipines)
    2. The Names.  Don DeLillo   (Greece, Mideast, India)
    3. A Small Place.  Jamaica Kincaid   (British West Indies)
    4. Caramelo.  Sandra Cisneros   (Mexico City)
    5. Pattern Recognition.  William Gibson
    6. My Year of Meats.  Ruth Ozeki
    7. Tropic of Orange.  Karen Tei Yamashita

    ARTICLES TO BE READ FOR AMERICAN LIT:

    1. Arjun Appadurai, Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. U Minnesota Press. 1996.
    2. Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture. Routledge. 1994.
    3. Timothy Brennan, At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now. Harvard U Press. 1997.
    4. Garrett Wallace Brown, The Cosmopolitanism Reader. Polity. 2011.
    5. Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins, eds. Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. U Minnesota Press. 1998.
    6. Liam Connell and Nicky Marsh, eds. Literature and Globalization: A Reader. Routledge. 2011.
    7. Wai Chee Dimock and Lawrence Buell. Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature. Princeton U Press.2007.
    8. Brian T. Edwards and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Globalizing American Studies. U Chicago Press. 2010.
    9. Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford U Press. 1991.
    10. David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford. 2007.
    11. David Harvey, Cosmopolitanism and the Geographies of Freedom. Columbia U Press. 2009.
    12. Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi, eds. The Cultures of Globalization. Duke U Press. 1998.
    13. Paul Jay, Global Matters: The Transnational Turn in Literary Studies. Cornell U Press. 2010.
    14. Naomi Klein, No Logo. Picador. 2000.
    15. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Picador. 2008.
    16. Chandra Mohanty, Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Duke U Press. 2003.
    17. Bruce Robbins, Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress. NYU Press, 1999.
    18. Saskia Sassen, Globalization and Its Discontents. The New Press, 1998.
    19. John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture. U Chicago Press, 1999.

    So…yeah. Okay.  No pressure, then.

    Another couple of books I picked up for a song…

    The lively image: 4 myths in literatureTHE LIVELY IMAGE:  4 MYTHS IN LITERATURE

    — I think I have a copy of this somewhere because when I saw it, it looked so familiar.  It’s probably in exile in the garage or something. So what do I do? I bought it.  Best table of contents ever!  Four sections:  “The Narcissus Myth”; “The Dionysus Myth”; “The Orpheus Myth”; and “The Christ Myth”.

    OPHELIA JOINED THE GROUP “MAIDENS WHO DON’T FLOAT”: CLASSIC LIT SIGNS ON TO Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to FacebookFACEBOOK.

    It’s mostly banalities, but the page for “Puck” of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is hilarious.  Still, I can see why it was marked down to three dollars — and yet, I feel sorta guilty because I wish I had written this book, or something like it.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow. 

    You don’t learn anything that wasn’t already common knowledge, but it’s good for a few laughs.

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