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Thread: French Literature

  1. #16
    A ist der Affe NickAdams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mortalterror View Post
    And I don't think that's necessarily correct either. Biologically we're all the same. On the genetic level we respond to the same things. Therefore aesthetics should be universal and objective, whereas individual taste is a plastic response to formal and informal education leading to subjective opinions. Ideally, you can condition anybody to like anything, and I think this is where opinions diverge, and the source of our differences. More accurately, people are subjective, but literature is not. Don Quixote is a great novel independent of my opinion of it.
    Aesthetics create a divide; like morality: once we are aware of good standards, evil develops. A universal aesthetic seems like a hiccup of atavism. Once we became aware of what we enjoy and why we enjoy it, we started to diverge from it (at least in the West). We are subjective, but the work itself is nothing with out the reader. The text can not read its self. A book on a shelf is a book on a shelf to nature, but its meaning come from our knowledge of it.

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  2. #17
    Wannabe Novelist ben.!'s Avatar
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    I've got Madame Bovary on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I'm looking forward to it, you guys are saying its an awesome read!
    Currently Reading:

    The Marriage Plot - Jeffrey Eugenides
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  3. #18
    Registered User Sebas. Melmoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inderjit Sanghe View Post
    my favourite naturalist is probably Huysmans.
    J.-K. Huysmans is surely one of the finest most little-known authors around.
    Even in translation his supressed rage and incredibly imaginative tropes are fully evident.

    His novella With the Flow is a good place to start with Huysmans.

    http://www.amazon.com/Flow-Hesperus-...3667973&sr=1-1

  4. #19
    Registered User janesmith's Avatar
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    Don't think anybody has mentioned Zola yet. I'm a huge fan of his Rougon-Macquart series. I can't be the only member who enjoys Naturalism, can I?

  5. #20
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    Cool The Red and the Black ....

    is one of my favorite books. so much so that I had my copy rebound in scarlet Nigerian goatskin and black linen. The Charterhouse of Parma is not so good. It is noted, however, for containing a better description of the battle of Waterloo than does Hugo's Les Miserable. Those are the only two novels by Stendahl. Read the Rouge et Noir for sure; skip the Chartehouse of Parma because there are many other French works to read. Madame Bovary for example.

    As for Zola, Nana is one of my favorite French novels. Others about the demimonde or courtesan class that I have enjoyed are Maupassant's Bel-Ami and Dumas' fils Camille. I have read Germinal and Therese Racquin, but didn't enjoy them much, too depressing.
    Last edited by dfloyd; 05-13-2010 at 12:55 AM.

  6. #21
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    I really liked Therese Racquin (it's so very angry in the end - fantastic!).

    I think that what you call "too depressing" is the most important and attractive quality why I appreciate French and Russian literature so much. But I guess, this is a question of one's personal taste...

    Best regards

  7. #22
    Registered User Sebas. Melmoth's Avatar
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    Zola: The Sin of Father Mouet.

  8. #23
    Literature Fiend Mariamosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janesmith View Post
    Don't think anybody has mentioned Zola yet. I'm a huge fan of his Rougon-Macquart series. I can't be the only member who enjoys Naturalism, can I?
    Absolutely not!
    I am a huge fan of Zola and naturalism in general.
    Unlike dfloyd I wasn't a big fan of 'Nana', however, it could have been my translation. I find his more gritty "depressing" works to be far more entertaining and have read 8 of the 20 so far, most of which are gloomy.

    Which novels of the series did you enjoy?
    Last edited by Mariamosis; 05-13-2010 at 10:59 AM.
    -Mariamosis

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by loe View Post
    I really liked Therese Racquin (it's so very angry in the end - fantastic!).
    Yes I quite enjoyed this too.

  10. #25
    Literature Fiend Mariamosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    Yes I quite enjoyed this too.
    If you enjoyed Therese Racquin for the "angry ending", you should really consider picking up 'The Earth' or 'La Terre' if you haven't already read it.
    -Mariamosis

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Mariamosis View Post
    If you enjoyed Therese Racquin for the "angry ending", you should really consider picking up 'The Earth' or 'La Terre' if you haven't already read it.
    I just sort of enjoyed generally, not particularly for the ending as such. Though I will make a mental note of the others thanks.

  12. #27
    Registered User janesmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariamosis View Post
    Absolutely not!
    I am a huge fan of Zola and naturalism in general.
    Unlike dfloyd I wasn't a big fan of 'Nana', however, it could have been my translation. I find his more gritty "depressing" works to be far more entertaining and have read 8 of the 20 so far, most of which are gloomy.

    Which novels of the series did you enjoy?

    I was transfixed by "L'Assommoir" and "La Terre". He is second to none when it comes to depicting human degradation. Glad there are others who enjoy Zola. I'm trying to work my way through the entire series because I'm considering a Phd regarding degeneration and biological discourses of female sexuality.

  13. #28
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    I have read a few French novels from writers like Voltaire, Maupassant, Balzac, Victor Hugo. French literature is a great reservoir for me and I always find them full of inspiration and vigor and I always like to read Proust's novel but never endeavored it

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  14. #29
    Registered User Babak Movahed's Avatar
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    French Lit is fantastic, French writers usually have quite a poetic style.
    So my recommendations would be Candide by Voltaire, The Stranger and The Plague by Camus, Madame Bovary by Flaubert and Nausea by Sartre.

    But I'm planning on starting In Search of Lost Time, how do you recommend I go about it, read one book after another or read a couple at a time then take a break and start again?

  15. #30
    Registered User Sebas. Melmoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babak Movahed View Post
    I'm planning on starting In Search of Lost Time, how do you recommend I go about it, read one book after another or read a couple at a time then take a break and start again?
    I would recommend you start with volume III Sodom and Gomorrah because it's very accessible.
    It may pique your interest in Proust's entire project.
    Also it will introduce you to Proust's style.

    The time-frame for vol. III is ca. 1900, whereas vol. I Swann's Way begins ca. 1875.

    If you get through Sodom and Gomorrah, you could then go either way: finish the series and begin again, or go back to vol. I and start there.

    If you simply begin with vol. I and expect to go all the way through, you may have a problem with In Search of Lost Time.

    Also, before beginning, if possible you might catch a film made a few years ago, Time Regained, which will give you a good general idea of Proust's time-frame.

    http://www.amazon.com/Time-Regained-...4791199&sr=1-1

    Bon voyage!

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