biblioklept

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Competent and informative novels (Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook)

Competent and informative novels (Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook)

During that period of three months when I wrote reviews, reading ten or more books a week, I made a discovery: that the interest with which I read these books had nothing to do with what I feel when I read-let’s say—Thomas Mann, the last of the writers in the old sense, who used the novel for philosophical statements about life. The point is, that the function of the novel seems to be changing;…

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Moby-Dick (Alasdair Gray’s Lanark)

Moby-Dick (Alasdair Gray’s Lanark)

It is a relief to turn to the honest American book about the whale. A captain wants to kill it because the last time he tried to do that it bit off his leg while escaping. He embarks with a cosmopolitan crew who don’t like home life and prefer this way of earning money. They are brave, skilful and obedient, they chase the whale round the world and get themselves all drowned together: all but the…

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“Thomas Bernhard has always been very much a figure of central significance for me, not only because I have greatly enjoyed reading his books and because I regard them not least as sheer marvelously comedic pièces de résistance—literary criticism has failed to comprehend this for years—but also because in general the position he adopted, the position of the great satirist, has always fascinated me a great deal. And so I associate Bernhard possibly, at a pinch, with Canetti, but definitely with Karl Kraus, Nikolai Gogol, those great Lenten preachers. And he certainly was one: Bernhard was a Lenten preacher…whenever I think of him, I always somehow picture him standing behind a pulpit. As if he’s running his congregation ragged, so to speak, until they run out of breath. And that was his role, right? It is of course a very pronounced strain in the Austrian tradition, this seventeenth-century Dominican sermon that aims at wresting contrition from the congregation, and he was a master of it.”

– W. G. Sebald on Thomas Bernhard.  Source: http://www.thomasbernhard.at/index.php?id=198&L=1%27A%3D0.(Translated by @shirtysleeves.)