Friday, June 27, 2014

Wilkie Collins, Basil (1852)

This was Collins' second novel, the first being some sort of historical romance that seems to have little bearing on his later career.  But this one is said to be maybe possibly one of the first if not the first "sensation novel."  I'd heard it was pretty okay, so I'd been wanting to read it for some time.  It's short, anyway, compared to the other Collins novels I've read, so not much of a time investment.
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Shalom, shalom, we all love our children

Sometimes, a news story gets you unusually upset and depressed, even by the standards of US news.  Such was the case with this story, about the Supreme Court striking down Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law that prevented anti-abortion zealots from getting riiiiight up in women's faces and shrieking obscenities and barely-veiled death threats.  'Cause, you know, FREE SPEECH!  Link provided to this series of anecdotes from a clinic escort, if you wanted to know exactly what these things are like.  The sheer depravity of people makes me feel sick and helpless.  If I weren't going to be living outside the country for the indefinite future, I feel like I ought to be an escort, but honestly: I don't know whether I'm brave enough.  My respect for the people doing this work knows no limits.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851)

So d'ya think Melville added the alternate title so people could use it when in the presence of thirteen-year-old boys to keep them from snickering (let's just forget for a moment that all his books have secondary titles, eh?)?  If that was the goal, I feel the constant references to sperm getting all over the place would probably mostly cancel it out.  Anyway, whatever you want to call it, I think it was the biggest lacuna in my literary education--certainly in terms of American lit--so it had to be read.
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