Saturday, October 25, 2014

Marcel Proust, Swann's Way (1913)

Oh, yes. We are doing this, motherfucker.

You really have to make a conscious effort to decide to read Proust. It is unlikely that you will just wake up one fine day and casually think, you know what I want to do? Read thirty-five hundred pages of navel-gazing by a neurotic Frenchman. But you've gotta do it! What are you, some kind of jerk?
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Walter Scott, Waverley (1814)

People say this was the first "historical novel."  I can only imagine what people must have thought encountering this concept for the first time: Huh?  A novel that also has HISTORY?!  Who is this man who can do such devilment?!?  I'm surprised they didn't burn him at the stake for witchcraft.
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Friday, October 03, 2014

Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771)

A wealthy family travels around England and Scotland, and various members thereof write letters to different off-screen non-characters.  These are: Matthew Bramble, the irritable but kind-hearted family patriarch; his grating, unhappily-single sister Tabitha; his quietly amused nephew Jery; his niece Liddy; and Tabitha's maid, Win[ifred] (and the fact that I add no descriptors to those last two may not be by random chance)--although the great majority of the novel, along with whatever narrative momentum it has, is found in the men's letters.
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