In the Hood

I’m back from my travels, and circumscribing Pessoa like a terrier trying to find a way into a rathole. I’ve also caught up on some stimulating blog posts in the alt-lit neighbourhood:

Have you read Lampedusa? I’ve owned the Everyman edition of The Leopard for 15 years but never read beyond 100 pages, though I enjoyed each one of them. This post at Anecdotal Evidence links to an excellent essay by Javier Marías, in which he writes:

“The few people who knew him well were astonished at his encyclopedic knowledge of literature and history, on both of which subjects he possessed a vast library. He had not only read all the important and essential writers, but also the second-rate and the mediocre, whom, especially as regards the novel, he considered to be as necessary as the greats: `One has to learn how to be bored,’ he used to say, and he read bad literature with interest and patience. Buying books was almost his sole expense and sole luxury.”

Isabella at Magnificent Octopus is documenting her reading of Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. Of course, I immediately want to reread Lispector’s elusive work that pushes at the extreme possibilities of language.

Pykk is unpacking Arno Schmidt’s Collected Stories, 1996, and his longer School for Atheists: a Novella = Comedy in 6 Acts, 1972.

Joe at roughghosts is discovering the wonder that is Mahmoud Darwish’s Journal of an Ordinary Grief, which a dear friend introduced to me some years ago.

Scott W. at seraillon writes compellingly about Emilio’s Carnival and makes it likely I’ll get to Svevo’s work sooner than later.

12 thoughts on “In the Hood

  1. Zone arrived today – it’s so long! & I’m half way through man without qualities, which is a strange book – flashes of verbal brilliance/ insight which you just have to write down – but passages of muddy philosophising too.
    So will be a while before I get round to some of these great recommendations.
    Saying ‘write down’ reminds me of a distinction I was reading about in an article about Barthes – that between ‘writing’
    & ‘writing down’

    • I must return to MWQ sometime, which I was immersed in last June. It is now ever associated with that blasted referendum. Zone is quite long but never feels it, unlike MWQ. It has the pace of its train journey. Your Barthes remark brings to mind the distinction he makes between readerly and writerly texts – texts we feel we must annotate in some way, or write down passages from – MWQ very much in the second category and Zone, the first.

  2. Pingback: Stranded in New York City: My Literary Adventure |

  3. i got half way through The Leopard but couldnt finish it in time for the book club read and didn’t want to rush it. Meant to go back to it and read more slowly but somehow that never happened

  4. Thanks for the shout out, Anthony. I have more Darwish lined up for the balance of the year. One of my reading goals that I have successfully made a start on. His language is so wonderful, for such tragic subject matter.

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