Monday, January 28, 2013

Moving On . . .

Today the HB Pricklepants Society begins discussion on C.S. Lewis's masterful argument, "The Abolition of Man: Men Without Chests." 

I swoon at the mere thought! 

I adore C. S. Lewis (if, it is, in fact, at all proper to display such effusive emotion toward one so highly revered and esteemed).  I am SO happy to put Harold Bloom and his Canon (pun intended!) by the wayside and delve into Lewis' world.  

Be gone Chaos!   
Hello Logic!   
Hello beauty!   
Hello Jack!   
(Be still my heart!)

So, we've changed our meetings to Monday at 1 O'Clock-ish, same Starbucks location.  We'll be easy to spot:  I'm the one with the pink TEA mug, armloads of VERY ANIMATED gestures, and a HUGE book – not a Macbook, not a Netbook, but a truly-live bound-and-determined work of heART.   Yes, I'm a sight . . . but I can't contain my enthusiasm over GOOD literature. 

Come see what all the fuss is about.  
 : D

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time for a Break

Today at the Harold B. Pricklepants Society, we finished the "Democratic Age" of literature with a chapter on Ibsen, Peer Gynt, and Trolls. Looking ahead into the "Chaotic Age," we discovered our next chapter would be on Freud, followed by Joyce and Proust, among a few others. I know for a fact that these people are strange (you have to be to get into Bloom's Canon), bordering on creepy and gross. Not appealing reading for my taste. Besides Bloom has proven himself to be contrary, intent on ruffling every feather I'm sure, and I am sick of him! I'm not in the mood for chaos.  I like organization.

Thankfully the members of the HBPS have decided to take a break from Bloom (let him collect dust for a while, as Elizabeth put it) and read some canonical literature.

Over the next few weeks we will delve into C.S. Lewis's "Abolition of Man," followed by "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain.    

Friday, January 11, 2013

Scenes from My Life (Or Was it Woody Allen's Life?)

Me:  Hey Grendel [I say to my youngest daughter as she lounges on my unmade bed wearing a tissue-box  monster head], why don’t you give me a hand with the making of this bed?  [Insert wheedling smile.]

Rachel:  Grendel?  Don’t you mean Randall [from Monsters Inc]?

Me:  No, of course I don’t mean Randall.  I am referring to the Monster in Beowulf?

Rachel:  Who?

Me:  Beowulf.  Think Nordic Superhero without God status.

Rachel:  Never heard of him.  [Continuing to wear monstrous apparatus.]

Lydia:  It’s only the oldest piece of literature. 

Rachel:  [Shrug]

Me:  Well [rubbing hands with enthusiasm], I guess it’s time you meet Beowulf and Grendel!

Rachel:  [Rolling eyes] *sigh*

I quickly descend the stairs, heft Norton’s Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 from the shelf and hand it over to Rachel.  (I say “heft” as it weighs in at 2500+ pages – thankfully the scholarly publishers chose onionskin.)

Rachel:  [Eyes bulging as she reluctantly takes the tome]  Is this a collection of books?

Me:  What?  [Peal of laughter]  Yes!  Oh yes, you only have to read one part.  [Carefully omitting any reference to the word “saga.”]  It’s exciting; you’ll like it.  It’s kind of like Thor meets The Hulk – not as friends, though.  [Wide smile . . .  carried out to improve veracity of statement.]

Rachel shrugs (still wearing the headgear of aforementioned dragon-like creature) and takes the book to her room.

Me:  [To self]  Motivation courtesy of Superheroes?  Hhhhmmmmm . . . [Racks brain for a Chaucer equivalent in the Avenger World.]  I wonder if Nick Fury ever . . .

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This Week at the HBP Society...

Ah, January. That industrious month of maintaining resolutions and going back to a normal daily life after the parties and feasts of the holiday season.

Today Mom, Elizabeth, and I resumed our weekly visits to the local Starbucks for our literary class/reading and writing club. Over coffee, tea, and warm sandwiches, we discussed Dickens, George Eliot, "Downton Abbey," that British drama we've heard so much about and have finally dived into (and are loving), as well as branching off onto other topics that have very little to do with our initial subject at all. (Often followed by, "How did we get on this topic anyway?" Life is so canonical!)

In today's chapter of "Harold Bloom's Western Canon," Bloom chose to focus on only one of Charles Dickens novels, "Bleak House." (Thank goodness we only went over one or we may have been reading that chapter for weeks!) I have never read "Bleak House" but have read other novels by Dickens and seen a very good BBC adaptation. It is much easier to watch a television production of Dickens than to read one of his novels because the man does tend to ramble. I remember one case in "David Copperfield" where he spent two very long paragraphs talking about something that had literally nothing to do with the story! And Dickens has so many characters to keep track of. As Elizabeth accurately stated, "If Dickens spends two lines describing someone, that person will change your life!" 'Tis true.

Well Charles Dickens is not one of my favorite authors, I would much rather read Jane Austen or Norah Lofts, but he does belong in the canon of Western literature. He did after all give us "The Christmas Carol," and "A Tale of Two Cities" is on my list of books to re-read in the near future.   

Of George Eliot I know almost nothing and have never really read any of her works. I did learn some interesting things about her from today's chapter and our discussion, but I prefer chapters where I at least know something about the writer we're discussing and/or have read their work. It makes it easier to pick out why they belong in the Canon, and then I don't have to go completely off of Bloom's opinions which, I confess, I tend not to trust. (We don't see eye to eye on everything.)  I'm always grateful that my Mom is so well educated and understands just about everything Bloom is talking about, because I sure don't!

Next week we read about and discuss Tolstoy, who I know nothing about except that I believe he is Russian (Russian literature=depressing) and he's one of the authors Quorra has read in "Tron: Legacy."