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Old 5th Jan 2007, 16:42   #21
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

All this is not boding well for my Conrad/Ford collaberation, no matter how beautiful a book it is. Sigh!
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Old 5th Jan 2007, 19:01   #22
rick green
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

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Do any Palimpers know Ford Maddox Ford and if so, where should I start?!
Read The Good Soldier last year. If anywhere, start there. He also wrote a titanic survey of world literature which sounds interesting but not for starters.

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The Good Soldier is up there among my favourites. It does get off to a slowish start but it is all that you hope for, John, plus plenty of intrigue to boot.
I liked it fairly well. A bit too heavily freudian for my taste as much modernist-era stuff seems to be. In my mind it makes something of a pair with Djuna Barnes' Nightwood. (Which is not a bad thing, by the way.) I could definitely read it again.
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All this is not boding well for my Conrad/Ford collaberation, no matter how beautiful a book it is. Sigh!
They say (they? humph.) that Nostromo is Conrad's most satisfying book. I too have only read Heart of Darkness, which I like very much.
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Old 5th Jan 2007, 21:10   #23
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

[quote=rick green;52905] In my mind it makes something of a pair with Djuna Barnes' Nightwood. (Which is not a bad thing, by the way.) I could definitely read it again.

Have never heard of this. Care to expand? Or I guess I could just google :)
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Old 6th Jan 2007, 0:20   #24
rick green
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

Let's see, it's been a while since I read either of them and I didn't write either one up as I should have so I may not remember too well. Anyway...
They both concern tragic love triangle (or other polyhedrons of greater complexity as the case may be). They both concern the destructive, uncontrollable, and again, the tragic aspects of erotic love. They both have some obvious Freudian underpinning, i.e. deal in unconscious urges, psychosis, hysteria, symbolic images, etc. They both concern the degradation of the aristocracy. (Nobility corrupted: another symbol?)
Stylistically they are/were both somewhat experimental, though in different ways. In the case of The Good Soldier this means telling the story out of chronological order, presenting or withholding data to manipulate the reader's idea of what is happening. (At least that's how I took it, the whole notion that the narrator was unreliable. There very well may be more to it than that. Possible repressed homosexuality for instance? It would bear looking into.) Nightwood on the other hand has quite a lot of humor, though of a particularly (deliciously?) perverse kind. The structure of the novel is rather straightforward, but the sentences are wildly anarchic, especially those spun from the mouth of the transvestite, Irish Doctor. This character really steals the show. It's hard to describe; the best thing would be to post an excerpt, which I may do later (if you wish).
anyway, that's about all I was thinking I guess. I found both of these books very interesting and recommend them as somewhat adventurous undertakings, though not nearly as rigorous as Joyce for instance.
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Old 6th Jan 2007, 14:25   #25
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Post Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

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Originally Posted by John from Paris View Post
I finished Vanity Fair, but with little enthusiasm... I feel it pales considerably beside Middlemarch (the best English novel ever, for my money) and the best Dickens.
Agree on Vanity Fair: would you consider A Bonfire of the Vanities Fair?

But - picky, picky- is not Middlemarch written by George Eliot? Mary Ann doing well though; have we ever had a thread on "literary heroes we love
to hate?" or, better, "Instances of Pedantry Reported, says Local Constabulary"?

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White Teeth is to my mind the most unjustifiably over-hyped novel of the last ten years (at least). It really is a load of pretentious tripe.
Yep, and ramshackle structure, as well.

Happy Epiphany (and, no, I won't go there - this time!)


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Old 6th Jan 2007, 16:21   #26
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

My reading of JfP's post was that Vanity Fair pales next to (1) Middlemarch and (2) the best [of] Dickens rather than suggesting that Middlemarch was written by Dickens!
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Old 6th Jan 2007, 16:28   #27
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

That was my understanding; (and I agree with JfP on Middlemarch.)
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Old 6th Jan 2007, 16:45   #28
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

Oh... and I thought it was by Zadie Smith...
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Old 6th Jan 2007, 16:53   #29
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Default Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

Quote:
Bookie:
2. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME (Marcel Proust) -- Okay, I haven't read all of this. A lot of the middle books are a blur, but I've read "Swann's Way" and "Time Regained" and they're predictably awesome.
Quote:
jim:
Oh I left off A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time - the title just doesn't work in English). I think I got about 3/4 of the way through Swann's Way before setting it aside. I might try this again though.
I will try and add something about Proust eventually... though it may take some time... There are ways of coping with him, and also ways of being put off him forever... I'll give it some thought... Finding parts of Proust "a blur" is not necessarily a bad thing, BTW... (cf. Impressionism)
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Old 6th Jan 2007, 22:34   #30
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Lightbulb Re: Top Ten Unfinished Books

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Oh... and I thought it was by Zadie Smith...
G_d, what a relief to have that straightened out!

A.

PS Does that mean we don't have to translate "ramshackle" into French, JfP?
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