Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'literature'

On Scott Fitzgerald – “A Moveable Feast”, Ernest Hemingway

October 31st, 2012 · Comments Off on On Scott Fitzgerald – “A Moveable Feast”, Ernest Hemingway · Description, Literature, Writing

His talent was a natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he […]

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A Great Treasure You Could Take With You – “A Moveable Feast”, Ernest Hemingway

October 31st, 2012 · Comments Off on A Great Treasure You Could Take With You – “A Moveable Feast”, Ernest Hemingway · Literature, Reading Related

To have come on all this new world of writing (Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Gogol & Turgenev), with time to read in a city like Paris where there was a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were, was like having a great treasure given to you. You could take with you […]

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Only Great Literature Grows in the Imagination – “Life and Fate” – Vasily Grossman

April 3rd, 2012 · Comments Off on Only Great Literature Grows in the Imagination – “Life and Fate” – Vasily Grossman · Reading Related, Writing

From Linda Grant’s Introduction: Novels fade, your immersion in their world turns into a faint dream, and then is forgotten. Only great literature grows in the imagination.

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The Beginning of Youth – “Twenty fragments of a ravenous youth” – Xiaolu Guo

January 18th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Beginning of Youth – “Twenty fragments of a ravenous youth” – Xiaolu Guo · China, Description, Writing

MY YOUTH BEGAN WHEN I WAS 21. At least, that’s when I decided it began. That was when I started to think that all those shiny things in life – some of them might possibly be for me.

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The Left and the Intelligentsia – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Left and the Intelligentsia – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Criticism, Culture, Ideology, Politics, Progressive Politics, Writing

Communists and near-Communists had a disproportionately large influence in the literary reviews. It was a time of labels, slogans, and evasions. At the worst moments you were expected to lock yourself up in a constipating little cage of lies; at the best a sort of voluntary censorship (‘Ought I to say this? Is it pro-Fascist?’) […]

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Dickens on Unions from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Dickens on Unions from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Politics, Progressive Politics, Trade Unionism

(Dickens) despises politics, does not believe that any good can come out of Parliament—he had been a Parliamentary shorthand writer, which was no doubt a disillusioning experience—and he is slightly hostile to the most hopeful movement of his day, trade unionism. In HARD TIMES trade unionism is represented as something not much better than a […]

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Can Hardly See for the Clarity – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

October 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Can Hardly See for the Clarity – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James · Criticism, Culture, Prose, Writing

It is possible to be an admirer of Nabokov while still finding his alertness to cliché overactive, so that passages occur in which we can hardly see for the clarity: and with James Joyce it is more than possible.

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“Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

October 1st, 2011 · Comments Off on “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James · Culture, History, Uncategorized

(Memo to a young student of cultural flux: when you buy old books, keep the wrappers if you can. Nothing gives you the temperature of the time like the puffs and quotations.)

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Story Tellers – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe 

September 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Story Tellers – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe  · Africa, Colonialism, Culture, Writing

‘Why? I hear you ask. Very well … This is why … Because storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit—in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever. That’s why.’

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Artistic Contradiction – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe 

September 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Artistic Contradiction – “Anthills of the Savannah”. Chinua Achebe  · Art, Colonialism, Complexity, Culture, Power

Do I contradict myself?” asked Walt Whitman. “Very well, I contradict myself,” he sang defiantly. “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Every artist contains multitudes. Graham Greene is a Roman Catholic, a partisan of Rome, if you like. Why then does he write so compulsively about bad, doubtful and doubting priests? Because a genuine artist, […]

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