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Sunday, 21 March 2021

Author questions (2021 version)

 Compare to my answers in 2017.


1/ Who are your favourite writers?

Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Lev Tolstoy, Murasaki Shikibu, Cao Xueqin, Vladimir Nabokov, Herman Melville, Gustave Flaubert, Emily Bronte, Edith Wharton, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, P. G. Wodehouse, Hàn Mặc Tử… 

2/ Who were your favourite writers when you were a teenager? Which of them do you still like?

Late teens: Haruki Murakami, Elfriede Jelinek, Milan Kundera, Franz Kafka, Isabel Allende, Patrick Suskind, Toni Morrison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, J. D. Salinger, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Phạm Thị Hoài, George Orwell, etc. 

Early teens: Charlotte Bronte, Marc Levy, Guillaume Musso, Aziz Nesin, Nguyễn Nhật Ánh, Nguyễn Ngọc Thuần, Paulo Coelho, etc. 

I wasn’t a precocious reader, no. 

Kafka I still like. Not sure what I’d think about Fitzgerald, Salinger, Marquez, Orwell, and Toni Morrison now, to whom I haven’t come back for a while. I have complex feelings about Charlotte Bronte.

3/ Which writers have most influenced you?

Tolstoy, Nabokov, Jane Austen. 

4/ Which writers do you wish had not influenced you?

Can't think of anyone. 

5/ Which writers are you embarrassed you used to like?

Dan Brown, Marc Levy, Paulo Coelho. I can’t stand Murakami anymore but I’m not embarrassed I used to like him. 

6/ Which writers did you expect not to like, but did? 

Jane Austen and Cao Xueqin. I didn’t like them at first. 

7/ Which writers do you think you will still read, and like, for the rest of your life?

Jane Austen definitely, as she’s the author closest to my heart. Tolstoy. Shakespeare. Nabokov. Perhaps Melville—at least Moby Dick will always have a special place in my heart. Perhaps Murasaki Shikibu and Cao Xueqin.

8/ Who are your favourite prose stylists? Or your favourite writers on the sentence level?

Melville, Nabokov, Wodehouse, Robert Louis Stevenson. Virginia Woolf in her essays. My favourite writer on the phrase level is Shakespeare. 

9/ Who are your favourite writers of characters?

Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Cao Xueqin, Edith Wharton. George Eliot is great at characters but her moralising narrator should be out of the way. I’d name Flaubert for Madame Bovary and Nabokov for Lolita

10/ Which writers, alive or dead, would you invite to dinner?

Not sure. 

11/ Which writers, alive or dead, would you like to know personally? And think you could be friends with?

Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Edith Wharton, Shakespeare, Nabokov… I wish to have known Murasaki Shikibu but don’t speak Japanese. I don’t think I could have been friends with any of them.  

12/ Do you personally know any published author?

This time, I won’t do any name-dropping. 

13/ Which writers do you like/ admire but generally avoid, for some reason?

Flaubert, because of his misanthropy and pessimism. Nabokov and Melville, because they’re challenging and intimidating and I have to be in the right mindset. Henry James, because of his knotty sentences. Dostoyevsky, because obviously.

In 2017, I also mentioned George Eliot, but for the time being, I think I’m acquainted enough with her works and will read other authors before returning to her. 

14/ Which writers do you like as critics/ essayists but not as novelists?

Woolf. I like Joan Didion as an essayist but haven’t read her novels.  

15/ Which writers have changed you as a reader?

Tolstoy and Nabokov, in shaping my tastes and aesthetics. Murasaki Shikibu, in changing my perspective on the history of literature.  

16/ Who do you think are overrated?

Murakami is the obvious answer—Japan’s greatest writer is Murasaki Shikibu, Japan’s greatest modern novelist is Natsume Soseki, not Murakami. Other overrated writers: Harper Lee, Alice Walker, Joyce Carol Oates…

As “overrated” doesn’t mean “bad” or “mediocre”, just “considered better than they are”, I’d say F. Scott Fitzgerald is also overrated. The Great American Novel, to me, is not The Great Gatsby—my vote goes to Moby Dick, and my second choice is Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

I’m also tempted to mention some important writers I read recently, but it may be my shortcoming and I would have to read more of their works. 

17/ Who do you think are underrated and should be more widely read?

Edith Wharton, Carson McCullers, Natsume Soseki, Akutagawa. 

I wouldn’t say Cao Xueqin and Murasaki Shikibu are underrated—they are not rated because they are not read—I think Hong lou meng and The Tale of Genji are two of the greatest novels I’ve ever read, on par with the finest works of Western literature. 

18/ Who do you think are the best living writers? 

I’m not very knowledgeable about contemporary literature to have an opinion. 

19/ Which writers do you go to for comfort?

Wodehouse. 

20/ Which writers do you go to for amusement?

Wodehouse is always the answer. I also like Daphne du Maurier. 

21/ Who are the greatest writers that you don't personally like/ that you just don't warm to?

George Eliot, Henry James, Dostoyevsky. Over time, I’ve come to like James more, so perhaps one day he’d be one of my favourite writers.  

I’ve only read one novel from each but doubt that I would ever warm to Balzac or Zola.

22/ Which writers do you strongly dislike? 

Stephenie Meyer, E. L. James, Gayl Jones, E. L. Doctorow, Joyce Carol Oates, Viet Thanh Nguyen. 

23/ Which writers are you prejudiced against? 

Hemingway, Knausgård, Naipaul, Ayn Rand, Michel Houellebecq, Bukowski. 

24/ Which writers do you feel you should have read by now?

This would be a very long list. 

25/ Which writers from your country would you recommend to a foreigner?

In a way, I’ve lost my roots, so my recommendations are limited: Nguyễn Du, Phạm Thị Hoài, Nguyễn Huy Thiệp, Nam Cao... Nguyễn Du’s Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kieu) is considered Vietnam’s greatest literary work. Do not read Timothy Allen’s translation (Penguins). 

26/ Which writers do you recommend to everyone? Every serious reader?

All of my favourite writers. Also Dostoyevsky, Henry James, George Eliot, Soseki, Sei Shonagon... However, over the past few months, the writers I promote the most are Murasaki Shikibu and Cao Xueqin, because they’re barely read and discussed in the West. 

27/ Which writers do you wish you could write like?

I will not answer this question. 

28/ What is your favourite language to read in? 

English. However, I would read Chinese literature in Vietnamese translation, not English. 

29/ Which foreign-language writers make you wish to learn their language in order to read them in the original? 

Russian, because of Tolstoy, Gogol, Leskov, Chekhov, Turgenev… French because of Flaubert. 

However, I’ve got Nguyễn Du, Hàn Mặc Tử, Bùi Giáng… and I’m glad I can read Shakespeare in the original. 

30/ Who is the best writer you've discovered recently? 

Murasaki Shikibu and Cao Xueqin. Most recently, I re-discovered Shakespeare, and he is magnificent—as people have always said. 

19 comments:

  1. What is it about Jane Austen's work that you find so endearing? I may have read one of her works in school, begrudgingly, before I became interested in literature. Hence, I don't have a vivid memory of her as an author.

    P.S. C'est moi: https://twitter.com/Pogouldiwitz

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    1. Oh hello there,
      Which one did you read?
      I've written so much about Jane Austen that it's hard to answer that in a comment. The main reasons I love her works are:
      - Memorable characters.
      - Her irony and humour.
      - The theme of appearance vs reality. The theme of self-awareness and understanding of other characters' feelings, or the lack of it. The way she uses free indirect speech, especially in Emma, to convey at the same time things as they are and things as perceived by the character. The depiction of hypocrisy and self-delusion.
      - I have similar ideas about ethics and share with her the idea of balance: balance between sense and sensibility, between restraint and emotional display, between an assertive character and a persuadable temper, etc. The theme of balance runs across all of her novels, but becomes more obvious when you compare them and see the way she reacts to herself: for example, in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is a vivacious, strong-willed, assertive heroine; in the next book Mansfield Park, she creates a heroine who is the opposite, Fanny is quiet, timid, introverted, and she creates an anti-heroine who on the surface appears similar to Elizabeth, and that is Mary Crawford. Mary Crawford is also vivacious, witty, charming, superficially very much like Elizabeth Bennet, but she is so lively and vivacious that she has no introspection.
      In Persuasion, the main character, Anne Elliot, is soft and persuadable, and Jane Austen creates Louisa Musgrove to be assertive and independent, superficially like Elizabeth Bennet, but Louisa is so resolute that she is stubborn and doesn't listen to reason. That shows the excess of resolution.
      - Jane Austen's ideas about love and relationship are also similar to mine.

      Delete
  2. My answers, as requested:

    1/ Who are your favourite writers?
    Geoffrey Hill, W. G. Sebald, Samuel Johnson, John Keats, Thomas Love Peacock, Theodore Dalrymple/Anthony Daniels, Anthony Powell, Dietrich von Hildebrand, William Faulkner, Simon Leys, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James/Jan Morris, Plato, Jane Austen, Alexander Pope, W. H. Auden, John Milton, Emily Bronte, Kawabata Yasunari, Wyndham Lewis, John Ruskin, James Joyce, Eudora Welty, D. H. Lawrence (very selectively), Nicolas Gomez Davila, Robertson Davies, Anthony Burgess, Auberon Waugh, Ezra Pound, William Shakespeare, St. Augustine, Edward Gibbon, Montaigne, W. B. Yeats, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron (for 'Don Juan' and the letters), Nietzsche, P. G. Wodehouse, John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Chekhov, George Eliot, Basho, Li Po, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Marilynne Robinson, Samuel Beckett, the authors of the Bible, especially Ecclesiastes, the Psalms and the prophets, Chaucer, Turgenev, Lewis Carroll, Kipling, Tolstoy, John Banville, R. S. Thomas - I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

    2/ Who were your favourite writers when you were a teenager? Which of them do you still like?
    Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Philip K. Dick, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling and Mervyn Peake. I still like 'The Hobbit', Terry Pratchett, Stevenson, Kipling and Mervyn Peake. By my late teens, I liked Virginia Woolf, Richard Brautigan, Allen Ginsberg, Ezra Pound, Anthony Burgess. Still like Anthony Burgess and Ezra Pound.

    3/ Which writers have most influenced you?
    Depends a little on what is meant by influence! Mervyn Peake, Samuel Beckett, Geoffrey Hill, Ezra Pound, Guy Davenport, Anthony Burgess. The philosophers Raymond Tallis, Edward Feser and William F. Vallicella have had great influence on my views on certain philosophical issues. And a fair number of critical books written by writers whom I don't admire as writers - Mark Cousin's 'The Story of Film', for example, led me to a lot of great cinema I wouldn't have found otherwise, but he's not a good writer.

    4/ Which writers do you wish had not influenced you?
    I don't really understand the question. I don't regret anything I've read.

    5/ Which writers are you embarrassed you used to like?
    None, I generally had tastes that reflected my age and then I grew up and grew out of writers like Ginsberg, as is proper.

    6/ Which writers did you expect not to like, but did?
    I'm not sure I'd bother to read any literature I'd expect not to like. I have been surprised by some authors who were much better than I expected - Raymond Chandler, for example. I am more likely to read non-fiction, philosophy particularly, I expect not to agree with, that being partly the nature of the thing. I was surprised that Jung turned out to be a largely cogent and perceptive thinker (not a great writer though).

    7/ Which writers do you think you will still read, and like, for the rest of your life?
    See answer to first question and I hope the list will grow.

    8/ Who are your favourite prose stylists? Or your favourite writers on the sentence level?
    James Joyce, Nabokov, Jane Austen, Sir Thomas Browne, P. G. Wodehouse, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Beckett. The King James Bible is the greatest work of English prose.

    9/ Who are your favourite writers of characters?
    Shakespeare and Wodehouse.

    10/ Which writers, alive or dead, would you invite to dinner?
    Elizabeth David, as long as she did the cooking.

    11/ Which writers, alive or dead, would you like to know personally? And think you could be friends with?
    I really have no idea. I read books not authors.

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    1. "I'm not sure I'd bother to read any literature I'd expect not to like."
      If I thought so, I wouldn't have read more Jane Austen and wouldn't have read Cao Xueqin.

      Your list of favourite writers is, er, very long. Narrow down to 5.

      Delete
  3. 12/ Do you personally know any published author?
    Yes, a few. 'Know' is a bit of a stretch in one or two cases.

    13/ Which writers do you like/ admire but generally avoid, for some reason?
    Why would avoid a writer I liked? If I avoided him I don't think I could be said to like him.

    14/ Which writers do you like as critics/ essayists but not as novelists?
    Well, I admire T. S. Eliot, Addison, Francis Bacon, David Hume, Ezra Pound, Montaigne and Sir Geoffrey Hill as critics or essayists and they weren't novelists.

    15/ Which writers have changed you as a reader?
    I first realised what art could do from seeing 'Waiting for Godot' on television as a child; I first noticed style reading Mervyn Peake's 'Titus Groan'; I first twigged poetry listening to Leonard Cohen; I first learned what a civilised person is from reading Anthony Burgess's criticism. Many philosophers and thinkers, too many to list.

    16/ Who do you think are overrated?
    This list is potentially a very, very long one! Joyce Carol Oates - one of the worst writers on the planet; Virginia Woolf; most of Ted Hughes (he did write some good stuff, just not much of it); Mary Shelley; most of P. B. Shelley; Paul Auster (I do like 'The Book of Illusions' though); Don DeLillo; Neil Gaiman, Bob Dylan qua poet; Gertude Stein; Ernest Hemingway; Maya Angelou; Simon Armitage; Carol Ann Duffy; Philip K. Dick; John Ashbery; Toni Morrison; Chuck Palahniuk; Charles Bukowski; Hunter S. Thompson; Jean Rhys; Lawrence Durrell (as a novelist); Ian McEwan; Kazuo Ishiguro; Salman Rushdie; Martin Amis; John Steinbeck; Richard Dawkins; Sigmund Freud; Susan Sontag; Jack Kerouac; Allen Ginsberg; William S. Burroughs; Isaac Asimov; Frank Herbert; Michel Foucault; Jacques Derrida; Terry Eagleton; Noam Chomsky; Judith Butler.... Let's leave it at that.

    17/ Who do you think are underrated and should be more widely read?
    Geoffrey Hill, R. S. Thomas, Guy Davenport, James Merrill; Robertson Davies, Patrick White, Johannes Scotus Eriugena, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dietrich von Hildebrand, T. H. White, Wyndham Lewis, Nicolas Gomez Davila, Richard Wilbur, Carl Gustav Jung, Auberon Waugh, Gene Wolfe (for his novels 'Peace' and 'The Fifth Head of Cerberus' - not the more famous science fiction), C. R. Hallpike, Gerrit Achterberg, Anthony Daniels, Hugh MacDiarmid, Iain Crichton Smith, Jacques Ellul, Raymond Tallis. These days as so few people seem to read, the list could be almost infinitely extended.

    18/ Who do you think are the best living writers?
    Marilynne Robinson, Anthony Daniels, Raymond Tallis, Thomas Pynchon, A. S. Byatt.

    19/ Which writers do you go to for comfort?
    Terry Pratchett and P. G. Wodehouse. Auberon Waugh, as I find vicious satire oddly comforting. St. John the Evangelist. Nicolas Gomez Davila. Patrick Kurp, Nigel Andrew, Bill Vallicella, Edward Feser - bloggers who cheer me up - that intelligence still exists in the world is comforting.

    20/ Which writers do you go to for amusement?
    Well, I don't read to be bored, so most writers I read for 'amusement'. But if specifically for humour, Auberon Waugh, P. G. Wodehouse. I find 'The Frank Muir Book' and John Julius Norwich's 'Christmas Crackers' very amusing too. If in the sense of mindless entertainment, I usually watch films instead.

    21/ Who are the greatest writers that you don't personally like/ that you just don't warm to?
    A lot of people I admire rate Hemingway but except for a few early short stories, I do not. I find D. H. Lawrence often hard to like, though I like some of his work. A lot of Blake is dull and unreadable. Virginia Woolf strikes me now as very overrated - overwritten and laboured. A good deal of Shelley is quite bad. Never saw what the fuss was about with George Orwell. I've never found much to enjoy in 'The Koran', but I'm told it's a whole other thing if you read Arabic, which I don't.

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    1. 13/ Well, I love Madame Bovary, which I've read twice and think a lot about, and which is in my top 10. I very much enjoyed Sentimental Education, more than many people, and also liked 3 Tales. But for some reason, I always hesitate to pick up his other books, especially Bouvard and Pecuchet.

      16/ When you name Toni Morrison as overrated, I assume you don't necessarily think she's bad, just not as good as people say? Elaborate.

      18/ Why A. S. Byatt? The only thing I've read from her is Possession and I wasn't a fan. It didn't make me want to read more.

      20/ If I thought so, I wouldn't have read 3 George Eliot novels lol.

      21/ I mean writers whom you rate highly but don't warm to.

      Delete
  4. 22/ Which writers do you strongly dislike?
    Joyce Carol Oates, Dan Brown, Deepak Chopra and other pedlars of New Age rubbish, Khalil Gibran, Richard Bach, Paul Coelho, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Richard Dawkins, Joyce Carol Oates, Judith Butler, Daniel Dennett, Owen Jones, Lenin, Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek, Peter Singer, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pierre Bourdieu, Joyce Carol Oates. Did I mention Joyce Carol Oates?

    23/ Which writers are you prejudiced against?
    In the sense of 'negatively prejudging', I really doubt I would find any pleasure in reading any more works by those listed in my answer to 22. Plus most writing by Marxists, psychoanalysts, talentless journalists with ideological axes to grind, Guardian opinion piece hacks, New Age lunatics, doctrinaire Neo-Darwinists, philosophically illiterate reductionist scientists, radical feminists, transgender ideologues, Nazis, and racists of all kinds. In short, writing poisoned by its author's intolerant or moronic ideology. Politicians' autobiographies.

    In the sense of having any positive or negative prior suppositions about an author due to their identity - on the negative side, anything by Dan Brown or any other hack novelist, sociologists, economists, 'graphic novelists', archaeologists (it always turns out to be about pots), contemporary poets, pop music journalists, celebrity memoirists, books of poetry by rock musicians (except Leonard Cohen), military memoirs, anything with a blurb that seems more intent on the author's identity than their work; on the positive, anything sufficiently old and esteemed, anything Japanese (not manga though).

    And absolutely anything about any sport, especially football, I would consign to the fire with barely a glance.

    24/ Which writers do you feel you should have read by now?
    'By now'? None. Plenty of great literature I haven't read yet but I'm planning on living a long life.

    25/ Which writers from your country would you recommend to a foreigner?
    My country being England, where would I even begin?

    26/ Which writers do you recommend to everyone? Every serious reader?
    I don't often recommend books and certainly not to 'everyone'. To any serious reader, I'd impress upon them the need to read Geoffrey Hill, Guy Davenport, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Gene Wolfe, and a specific book I am often recommending to people is 'At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig' by John Gimlette - a travel book about Paraguay, the oddest country on earth.

    27/ Which writers do you wish you could write like?
    I don't want to imitate other writers.

    28/ What is your favourite language to read in?
    I can only comfortably read English.

    29/ Which foreign-language writers make you wish to learn their language in order to read them in the original?
    That's another very long list, too long. I wish I could read all of the world's major languages, both living and classical.

    30/ Who is the best writer you've discovered recently?
    I'll assume recently to mean in the last three months or so. Nigel Andrew - his book 'The Mother of Beauty' is wonderful and he has an excellent blog - nigeness.blogspot.com; J. R. Ackerley's 'My Dog Tulip' is a brilliantly written and bizarre memoir; it turns out Werner Herzog is a good writer - his 'Of Walking in Ice' is very good; the great neurologist A. R. Luria's case history 'The Mind of Mnemonist' is extraordinary. Shirley Robin Letwin's 'The Anatomy of Thatcherism' is an excellent and readable analysis of a remarkable epoch in British history. J. G. Merquior's 'Foucault' is a model of its kind. Johannes Scotus Eriugena's 'Periphyseon' is a neglected masterpiece of early medieval philosophy which I'm currently working through. I'm also enjoying Peter Gay's 'Freud: A Life for Our Time', even though it is heavily biased in favour of the Viennese quack - it's just so well-written!

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  5. This will be brief for three reasons. I read many of these classic books 40-50+ years ago. I have not had much education in literature and don't know how to answer questions such as "favorite prose stylist". And for some,I just don't have an opinion.

    1/Favorite writers
    Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Willa Cather, E.M Forster, Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)

    7/ Which writers do you think you will still read, and like, for the rest of your life?
    Jane Austen, Harper Lee - overrated yes, but "Mockingbird" moves me for many reasons and is a quick re-read

    9/ Who are your favorite writers of characters?
    Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Larry McMurtry ("Lonesome Dove")

    11/ Which writers, alive or dead, would you like to know personally? And think you could be friends with?
    Jane Austen (and Emily Dickinson - if poets are included she'd be at the top of many of my lists)

    13/ Which writers do you like/ admire but generally avoid, for some reason?
    Henry James, Dostoyesky, Melville



    16/ Who do you think are overrated?
    Dare I say it - Hemingway

    18/ Who do you think are the best living writers?
    Maybe not the best, but I'll just throw these out here, Donna Tartt ("The Little Friend"), Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)

    19/ Which writers do you go to for comfort?
    Harper Lee

    20/ Which writers do you go to for amusement?
    Calvin Trillin, "A Guinea Pig Pride and Prejudice", Jane Austen

    23/ Which writers are you prejudiced against?
    Hemmingway, Ayn Rand



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  6. My name is Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy,
      Looks like we have a few likes and dislikes in common.
      I'd like to read more Willa Cather. So far I've only read 3 short stories, which I enjoyed, but have to read more. Will be some time till I get back to her though.
      What do you think about Henry James?

      Delete
  7. 1st - I think "Death Comes to the Archbishop" is considered Cather's best, but I haven't read it.

    Also I want to add Faulkner to authors I admire but avoid. I know he's considered a great author, but is also very hard to read, like the others in this category.

    I read the novella, "The Beast in the Jungle" by Hardy for a class. It was very hard to get through but was satisfying when explained by my teacher. Same goes for Melville & Dostoyevsky.
    In an aside about "Moby Dick", there is a non-fiction book, "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick, that tells the story of the real event that inspired "Moby Dick'. It was very interesting.
    I read "The Turn of the Screw" by Hardy for a book group and it was excruciating.

    I'd like to comment on Hemingway if I may. I read "Old Man and the Sea" many years ago and I thought it was just boring. For starters, I'm not remotely interested in fishing. Some years later I read "The Sun Also Rises". I thought, "OK. Was that actually about anything? What was the point?" Later still I read "The Garden of Eden" and just recently "A Farewell to Arms."
    All I can figure is it's his revolutionary , reportorial style that made waves. There doesn't seem to be anything below the surface. I've also read some biographical stuff about him and he wasn't a very nice man. Of course, he was burdened with psychiatric problems, and I guess you ought to separate the man/woman from their art.

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    1. Why did you not like The Turn of the Screw? Is it because of James's sentences or because of his subtlety? You should watch Jack Clayton's The Innocents (from the 60s), which is a great adaptation of James's novella.
      I haven't read The Beast of the Jungle. I haven't warmed to James myself, but perhaps one day I will. Washington Square is very good.

      Thanks for your comment on Hemingway, though there isn't much for me to say as I haven't read him. I'm just prejudiced against him because of his whole macho persona, but that may be unfair.

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  8. Note: I haven't tried reading any of the four "difficult" authors since I was young.

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  9. On James, definitely the long, complicated sentences. I didn't see any subtlety because I had too much trouble with the sentences to even get to the point of understanding. Ditto Faulkner & complicated sentences. My niece is an English teacher & she loves Faulkner. I think he uses "stream of consciousness".

    Makes me sound like a dummy, but there it is.

    On Hemingway, the macho thing was indeed a persona. I don't know how many of his contemporaries saw through it. And he was self-centered, etc. etc.

    Frequently a novel will send me off on tangents, usually biographical.

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    1. Haha, try watching The Innocents if you can get hold of it. It's a great film.
      I've only read 2 novels by Faulkner and loved them both, but somehow haven't read anything else by him (apart from a short story I read in university).

      Delete

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