You may be asking why there are not as many “Literature and Language” posts then, say, lingerie. It’s partially because lingerie a bit more… stress-reliving, when 90% of my schoolwork is all about Literature and Language. But it’s also because there are so many things I want to address. Me being me, I have three other documents of varying depth that I want to address. So, in this mass confusion of want, I am just going to post a reading update.
Petersburg by Andrei Bely (translated/annotated by Robert A. Maguire and John E. Malmstad), published by Indiana University Press
I’ve finished this lovely (also torturous) book! I am also writing a “Wonderings” post about it—just general comments. I dare not write a review yet. This book was damn intense and dense, and I was unable to pour the love and attention it deserves. Woefully are my insights short of my capabilities! (This is the excuse—a valid one I say!—in the reason why I take a long time finishing a book.)
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (translated by Clarence Brown), published by Penguin Classics.
Following Petersburg, we are reading We in my Russian Literature class. I am about a quarter through (though I have to be halfway done in 9 hours… oh shit). But honestly, I am having hell of a time. This predecessor of 1984 has a less oppressive and dry mood. In fact, the narrator is making me giggle like fuck. How can you not when a narrator says inspiration is “some unknown form of epilepsy” (18)? My impression so far is that the book is light, and still quite dense—in that there’s a lot to annotate, while one not need mental breaks while reading loads and loads of “cerebral play”. (*Cough* Petersburg.)
And yes, there is an article (a Wonderings article with snippet commentary) for this.
(Excerpt) A Essay on Literary Criticism by Alexander Pope
I really love this poem. Well, I’ve only read fragments… so I can’t give a comprehensive view/comment. It doesn’t matter anyway, because what I love are the lines 365 to 383. I also have an article about that too. All I can say is that I love the lines for what is does and means for itself.
The Fable of the Bees by Bernard Mandeville
It’s…. an interesting poem, for sure. But this is firmly at a “Literature as primary resource” category than anything else—one of the earliest attempts of reconciling Christian faith and life as it is (the natural state). Typical British Literature. But one thing I do give credit to Mandeville for is that he understood the basis of modern economics—supply and demand. And how scary must the revelation had been? When there is such a great scary power above you and able to condemn you? At the end, when he chooses the “necessary evil” path rather than complete abandonment of economy all together… I like to think he chose humans than religious ideals. That it—this necessary evil was benefiting everyone from poor to rich. The rich people has it good, but poor people? For once they get the taste of rich? (Because if the early part of poetry is any indication, Mandeville was definitely sympathetic of them.)