Friday, April 18, 2014

Theme: Characters

  • Although her novels were well-received and regularly published from 1950 to 1963, and although she continued to produce high-quality work at a steady pace between 1963 and 1977, Pym was devastated by her inability to publish at all throughout the latter period. Her friends, family, and former publisher assured her that her work was rejected during this period not because its quality had declined, but because its subject matter was out of step with the times—the world of her novels was insulated from the sex, drugs, and social revolution then capturing the public’s imagination. Read more
  • Isn’t it strange how complex and overwhelming our feelings about fictional people can become? There is a conflict of impulses: the sympathetic and the dramatic. We want characters to be happy for the same reason we want our friends and family to be happy – hell, I’m such a goddamn hippie; I even want my enemies to be happy, if possible.Read more
  • For a profession whose entire raison d’être is communication, American journalists sure have done a lousy job of explaining why the slow-motion disintegration of the business model upon which their livelihoods have depended for the past three hundred years might have significant negative consequences for the country.Read more
  • There’s this thing that happens to people who read David Foster Wallace, the novelist and essayist who would have turned 50 years old today. It’s the reason his literary reputation so fervently exploded the moment he died: those who like his work don’t just champion the writing, but seem to become personally enamored of the man.Read more
  • What does it mean to be “quixotic” today? Are street-corner preachers quixotic? Is Bono? What about film directors who dementedly pursue the unlikely grail of adapting a difficult book for the screen? Read more
  • Minds across the globe will automatically couple Shakespeare and England as they will Coca Cola and the USA. Yet it was with Britain that Shakespeare was first joined by another writer. The prefatory poem to the consecrating, expensive edition of the first folio of 1623 trumpets: “Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show / To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.”Read more
  • Like his European contemporaries and his Spanish predecessors during the Romantic movement in Spain, Galdós described and utilized many lame and crippled characters in his works. Some aspects of this creativity have been studied. First, we have the case of the eponymous protagonist in Tristana, which has attracted critical attention since the time of the novel’s publication in 1891. Also, with the publication in 1975 of Concha-Ruth Morell’s letters to Don Benito—which makes clear that she is the prototype for the protagonist—critical interest has taken a new turn; and, an attempt has been made to answer the question of why Galdós should choose to amputate the leg of the character, who is clearly a stand-in for his beautiful young mistress. Most recently, attention has been called to the relationship between certain lame characters and the devil—one of whose hallmarks is lameness—in Fortunata y Jacinta, Miau, and Ángel Guerra.Read more
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