Category: Literature

Sep 04 2018

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

Since June 1 of this year, and through October 28, the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford have been displaying an extraordinary selection of items from their Tolkien collection. The original map of the Lonely Mountain, complete with pointing hand and runic inscription. Watercolors by Tolkien of Hobbiton, of Bilbo’s conversation with Smaug, of the Eagles, of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/09/04/tolkien-maker-of-middle-earth/

Sep 02 2018

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Okay, jeez, this book means well but honestly, it’s like someone took a distillation of current events from the last ten or fifteen years and fictionalized it to make it easily understandable for and palatable to the average white woman. Here is modern feminism (with a bit of background on the movement in America) and, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/09/02/the-female-persuasion-by-meg-wolitzer/

Jul 16 2018

Die Jungfrau von Orleans by Friedrich Schiller

At the opening of The Maid of Orleans, as Schiller’s five-act verse tragedy is known in English, France is divided among three parties: English troops who have taken Paris and the north in pressing their king’s dynastic claim to the French throne, southern lands held by the Valois king Charles VII, and Burgundy in the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/16/die-jungfrau-von-orleans-by-friedrich-schiller/

Jun 11 2018

Circe by Madeline Miller

(I’m quite proud of myself for cramming this book into my schedule before I had to return it to the library, so props to meee!) Circe is a fantastic meditation on the stages of womanhood and on what it means to be human, bringing a minor character from Greek mythology to the forefront with her …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/11/circe-by-madeline-miller/

Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/10/life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Jun 02 2018

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk

Silent House, Orhan Pamuk’s second novel, tells some of the stories of three generations of an extended family. Pamuk rotates among five narrators, each of whom tells their part in the first person. Published in 1983, the book’s main action is set in 1980, just before another military coup shook Turkey. The house in question …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/02/silent-house-by-orhan-pamuk/

Mar 31 2018

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This powerful book about a woman discovering her own agency through the lens of the Bangladeshi immigrant experience surprised me at how timeless it felt even though it’s set at the turn of the 21st century. It’s very much in the tradition of classics by Thomas Hardy and Willa Cather, documenting with a fine eye …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/31/brick-lane-by-monica-ali/

Feb 26 2018

The Naive and Sentimental Novelist by Orhan Pamuk

If I had read The Naive and Sentimental Novelist before reading Orhan Pamuk’s novels, I probably would not have bothered with them. That would have been a pity because most of them are very good, and one, Snow, is among the best I have ever read. So there’s a considerable gap between this collection of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/26/the-naive-and-sentimental-novelist-by-orhan-pamuk/

Feb 10 2018

Kabale und Liebe by Friedrich Schiller

From the subtitle, “A Bourgeois Tragedy” to the Romeo and Juliet references that crop up in discussions of the play, it’s clear that Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love, although I am glad to see that at least some translators go with the better order of Love and Intrigue) is not going to end well …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/10/kabale-und-liebe-by-friedrich-schiller/

Jan 26 2018

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

Not all terrific books about Russian topics have to be gigantic. In The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes sketches the life of Dmitri Shostakovich in fewer than 200 pages, drawing mainly on three periods in the composer’s life while using those to look back on other times. In the first, it is 1937, the height …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/01/26/the-noise-of-time-by-julian-barnes/