EppsNet Archive: Literature

I Am in the Herd, and a Coward

 

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, merited figure, or a general — let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago Read more →

Orwell: “You Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You F*ckers”

 

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building had been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. — George Orwell, 1984 According to KMOX radio in St. Louis, a petition has been started with hopes of changing the city’s name and — wait for it — taking down a statue of Saint Louis IX in Forest Park. The petition creators say the city’s name is “outright disrespect” to Jewish and Muslim residents. A statue of Christopher Columbus in Tower Grove Park was taken away last week. Read more →

Happy Mothers Day

 

I have so many dreams of my own, and I remember things from my childhood, from when I was a girl and a young woman, and I haven’t forgotten a thing. So why did we think of Mom as a mom from the very beginning? She didn’t have the opportunity to pursue her dreams, and all by herself, faced everything the era dealt her, poverty and sadness, and she couldn’t do anything about her very bad lot in life other than suffer through it and get beyond it and live her life to the very best of her ability, giving her body and her heart to it completely. Why did I never give a thought to Mom’s dreams? — Kyung-sook Shin, Please Look After Mom Read more →

Rascals

 

LYSISTRATA There are a lot of things about us women That sadden me, considering how men See us as rascals. CALONICE As indeed we are! — Aristophanes, Lysistrata Read more →

Long have I longed, till I am tired
  Of longing and desire;
Farewell my points in vain desired,
  My dying fire;
Farewell all things that die and fail and tire.
— Christina Rossetti, “Till Tomorrow”

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’

 

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background The Wall Street Journal We’re not even done reviling everyone involved in tilting the academic scales based on students’ social and economic background when the College Board announces a plan to . . . tilt the academic scales based on students’ social and economic background. Read more →

W.S. Merwin, 1927-2019

 

I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. W.S. Merwin RIP W.S. Merwin Also . . . “Yesterday” by W.S. Merwin How Can You Ever Be Sure? Read more →

Mary Oliver, 1935 – 2019

 

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She died today of lymphoma at the age of 83. The Poetry Foundation has a biography and a selection of poems, although I prefer the selection at the Peaceful Rivers site. Her work had a Whitmanesque love of life. I’ve included one of my favorites here: The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full… Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: The Garden of Words

 

The Garden of Words is a beautiful short film about loneliness and love and longing, inspired by verses from the Manyoshu, an anthology of ancient Japanese poems: A faint clap of thunder Clouded skies Perhaps rain will come If so, will you stay here with me? A faint clap of thunder Even if rain comes or not I will stay here Together with you. Rain is a central motif in the film. Like the force of love, it can’t be controlled or stopped. Highly recommended! Rating:     Director: Cast: IMDb rating: ( votes) Read more →

2018: The Year in Books

 

These are the books I read in 2018, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion. Books of the Year: Middlemarch by George Eliot (fiction), Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders (contemporary fiction) and Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling (non-fiction). My Library at LibraryThing Read more →

To Make the Accusation is to Prove It. To Hear the Allegation is to Believe It.

 

Simply to make the accusation is to prove it. To hear the allegation is to believe it. No motive for the perpetrator is necessary, no logic or rationale is required. Only a label is required. The label is the motive. The label is the evidence. The label is the logic. Why did Coleman Silk do this? Because he is an x, because he is a y, because he is both. First a racist and now a misogynist. It is too late in the century to call him a Communist, though that is the way it used to be done. . . . That explains everything. — Philip Roth, The Human Stain Read more →

First Lines

 

Newest addition to Lit Quizzes. identify the source and author. Hazel Motes sat at a forward angle on the green plush train seat, looking one minute at the window as if he might want to jump out of it, and the next down the aisle at the other end of the car. Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews; The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald

 

I can’t come up with a better synopsis than this article from the Boston Review: Each of these men suffers from memory and from the compulsion to obliterate it; from a mourning and melancholia so deep that it is almost unnamable; from the knowledge that he has survived while those he loved have not; from problems distinguishing dream and reality; from a profound sense of displacement. Highly recommended! Rating: Read more →

Passing for Normal

 

The onset of the state of mind consisted in a loyalty to objects. She apologized to one egg for having boiled it, to another for not having selected it to boil. Since it was impossible to know with much precision whether an egg prefers to be boiled or not to, she was always in a state of indecision, followed, as soon as she had taken any action, by extreme remorse. Since this is not far from the predicament of most people of any sensitivity or conscience, she passed for normal. — Renata Adler, Speedboat Read more →

You Think I’m Inept?

 

“You think I’m inept? You think I’m inadequate? If I’m inadequate, where are you going to get people who are adequate . . . if I’m . . . do you understand what I’m saying? What am I supposed to be? What are other people if I am inadequate?” — Philip Roth, American Pastoral Read more →

Philip Roth, 1933-2018

 

The final question assigned to the class was “What is life?” Merry’s answer was something her father and mother chuckled over together that night. According to Merry, while the other students labored busily away with their phony deep thoughts, she — after an hour of thinking at her desk — wrote a single, unplatitudinous declarative sentence: “Life is just a short period of time in which you are alive.” “You know,” said the Swede, “it’s smarter then it sounds. She’s a kid — how has she figured out that life is short? She is somethin’, our precocious daughter. This girl is going to Harvard.” But once again the teacher didn’t agree, and she wrote beside Merry’s answer, “Is that all?” Yes, the Swede thought now, that is all. Thank God, that is all; even that is unendurable. — American Pastoral RIP Philip Roth Read more →

Tom Wolfe, 1930-2018

 

Everything that bloggers have done for journalism — and I personally think they’ve done a lot — Wolfe did it first, he did it 30 years earlier, and he did it better. And I think we’re still catching up to him. — Lev Grossman Tom Wolfe had a rare combination of ideas, insight and a virtuosity with language. A lot of writers do well with at most one out of the three. You can read Tom Wolfe quotes all over the web but I include one of my favorites (from The Bonfire of the Vanities) here: Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of… Read more →

If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. — George Orwell, Animal Farm

A Nest, a Haven and Calm Place

 

The low trolley on its cushiony rubber tyres luxuriously bore the corpse away down the middle of the ward. There was speed and secretiveness and deftness in its movement. Over the dead man’s face was a blanket, so that age, torture, ugliness and fear, all were hidden. Instead of looking on this covering, this careful manipulation as an hypocrisy and cheat, I saw it for what it really was, a desperate effort to make life bearable and sane. I admired the doctors and the nurses. I admired every human being in the world who, on top of a million, million horrors, yet built a nest, a haven and calm place. — Denton Welch, A Voice Through a Cloud Read more →

Though Much is Taken, Much Abides

 

Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. — Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” Read more →

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