Friday, August 31, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
"Modern America has virtually no use for the modern British children's book" (What Hath Harry Wrought?)
The reason, as Carpenter sees it, is that after Catcher in the Rye American and British writers diverged, with the former following J. D. Salinger's lead in writing realistic novels about children's attempts to cope with the adult world,* while British writers like Garner opted instead for a return to roots, incorporating bits of old folklore into their tales. He concludes:
"Modern America has virtually no use
for the modern British children's book." (p.216)
*He does note that during this period "American writers were also starting to create (for the first time) a large body of fantasy writing for children. Admittedly much of it has consisted of inferior imitations of Tolkien" (p. 215), but doesn't seem to feel this counters the main point he is making. (he does exempt Le Guin & Hoban from that criticism)
**probably because of a fundamentalist Catholic/Evangelical backlash in this country
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
"So he found 'Dorian Gray' and the 'Mystic and Somber Dolores' and the 'Belle Dame sans Merci'; for a month was keen on naught else. The world became pale and interesting, and he tried hard to look at Princeton through the satiated eyes of Oscar Wilde and Swinburne -- or 'Fingal O'Flaherty' and 'Algernon Charles', as he called them in precieuse jest. He read enormously every night -- Shaw, Chesterton, Barrie, Pinero, Yeats, Synge, Ernest Dowson, Arthur Symons, Keats, Sudermann, Robert Hugh Benson, the Savoy Operas -- just a heterogeneous mixture, for he suddenly discovered that he had read nothing for years."
[Penguin Classics edition (1996), p.
Then, after a bit more about Wilde, comes the exchange that most interests me:
One day Tom and Amory tried reciting their own and Lord Dunsany's poems to the music of Kerry's graphophone.
'Chant!' cried Tom. 'Don't recite! Chant!'
Amory, who was performing, looked annoyed, and claimed that he needed a record with less piano in it. Kerry thereupon rolled on the floor in stifled laughter.
'Put on "Hearts and Flowers"!' he howled. 'Oh, my Lord, I'm going to cast a kitten.'
'Shut off the damn graphophone', Amory cried, rather red in the face. 'I'm not giving an exhibition'.
[ibid, p. 48]
--It's interesting, to me at least, that Fitzgerald singles out Dunsany's poems (of which no collection was issued until 1929) rather than his short stories (which work very well indeed read aloud) or his plays (which tend to be short and 'poetic' but not metrical). The idea of reciting to phonograph accompaniment made me wonder if this was a carryover from the silent movies of the day, which were always accompanied by music (anything from a house orchestra to a piano player, depending on how grand or otherwise the theatre).
Also interesting, but not in a good way, is the editor's decision about which of these authors to identify in the notes he provides in the back of the book. Thus Patrick O'Donnell, the editor,
Also interesting, but not in a good way, is the editor's decision about which of these authors to identify in the notes he provides in the back of the book. Thus Patrick O'Donnell, the editor,glosses Wilde, Keats, Chesterton, Yeats, Synge, Dowson, and Symons [p. 263], having already glossed Shaw from an earlier mention; Barrie gets glossed on a later appearance over a hundred pages later. The rest-- Pinero, Sudermann, Benson, Gilbert & Sullivan ("Wasn't the comic opera, 'Patience', written about him?")--go unidentified, as does Dunsany. O'Donnell may have felt that Pinero and Gilbert & Sullivan were well-known enough to need no identification, but that seems unlikely, since he identifies the far more well known Keats, Yeats, and Shaw. Or he may have felt these five were unimportant, though in that case his selection criterion seems off to me. Personally, I'd say it's the less well known figures, like Sudermann (once a well-known playwright whose reputation has since faded) who need the gloss more than a Nobel Prize winner like Yeats. To fail to identify Dunsany means that whatever point Fitzgerald was making by making his hero an enthusiast for Ld D. at one time in his life is lost.