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 What are you reading currently? 
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I am now reading "Before the Deluge" by Evelyn Farr. Good insight as to what was taking place in Paris during Louis XVI's reign.


Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:12 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Very much enjoying "Lady Chatterley's lover" (Lawrence) then should move to Louis XIV (Cronin).

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Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:49 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Ha ha ha ! Lady Chaterley triggered my first teenage thrills : I had come by this book and I focused only on the sex scenes, thumbing through the rest of the book. :lol: I used read it by night, hiding from my parents. Now I think there is nothing to marvel at, really ! :lol:

In fact this is an interesting read, and was a scandal at the time, not so much for the explicit or not so explicit sex scenes it included, but because it was socially unacceptable.
I am reading another book by this author : Women in love -but I am a little bogged down given that I always read 5 or 6 books at the same time. :lol:

About Cronin, I think he tends to be very sentimental and not focused on facts. I would advise Petitfils.

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Last edited by Ludy on Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:59 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Ah yes, I read Women in love a few years ago on a recommend...

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Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:54 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Marija Vera wrote:
Ah yes, I read Women in love a few years ago on a recommend...


Well I am reading in French and I find something weird about the author's style, I don't know if it struck you too. I mean there is something slightly unnatural and a bit "heavy" about his writing.

It may stem from the translation, but then I guess you had the original English version so you might have enjoyed it thouroughly. I am not so much into novels about love, though I admit most of the poems and novels are about love. Somehow I think this is a most overrated feeling, which does not matter much in fact.

There is a quote by La Rochefoucauld I love "genuine love is like the holy ghost : everybody talks about it, but nobody has ever seen it !" :lol:

I prefer realist writers such as Zola, who tackles the issues I feel concerned with -social problems and social relations, domination,financial problems, money, glory...

So Lawrence does not really please my taste. But then maybe you have different views.

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Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:34 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I must say I cannot imagine reading Lawrence in French, much of it being written in pithy Northern dialect. I would go so far as to say that it is difficult to understand where Lawrence "comes from" at all without having had some personal experience of the North of England, and some knowledge of its' social and cultural background.

To reduce Lawrence's novels, which I studied in depth at university, to novels 'about love' is to reduce them to their barest and simplest form, and to totally misunderstand his message. Birkin (in a sense Lawrence's mouthpiece) himself states in "Women in Love" "that the word "love" should be tabooed, prescribed from utterance until we find a new better idea...." but maybe you didn't get that far in the book yet?)

Lawrence, as a miner's son, was perhaps even better placed than Zola to describe social issues and the decline in the old parochial mining system in favour of new inhumane systems of mass production. These are extensively described in many of his books, as are the implications of new technology in modern warfare, a theme which comes over quite clearly in "Lady Chatterly's lover". which is far more than just a novel about sex, but a clear endictment of post war 1st WW society and this very social and structural breakdown enables this forbidden relationship between a gamekeeper and the Lady of the Manor to happen.

Lawrence, for me one of the greatest novelists the world has seen, in fact goes much further than discussions about love and sex in his novels. His main quest is to find the divine in man, and to question man's rôle on this earth...his novels are intensely religious and yet he questions God and some of his characters deny his very existence. So love does enter into what is an intensely deep "whole", discussed on many layers, and human relationships are laid bare, laid naked and vulnerable, all of this portrayed against the vivid, poignant and intensely alert and vibrant backdrop of a changing social environment, where generations succeed with new challenges to face but insome reassuring sense always the same preoccupations, to make sense of this life and their emotions towards others on this earth. I recommend you to read afresh "Lady Chatterley's lover" as well as Sons and Lovers" and the "Rainbow".

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Last edited by baron de batz on Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:43 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
And of course in English:))

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Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:43 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I never said Lady Chatterley boiled down to sex. I did read the book till the end.

The social background is crucial. At least, the cause of the scandal Lady Chatterley's lover sparked off was social. He thouroughly describes the social context, the mines and all that.

What I really loved was the description of the aftermath of the WWI in England. I reminded me of the Sun also rises, a novel by Hemingway, that was screened in 1957 by Larry King, with the beautiful Ava Gardner in the main role. The story is somewhat similar, though more passionate.

Slightly similarly, I also enjoy Devil in the flesh, which is a traditional love story, very reminiscent of the Romantic love stories, such as Adolphe or Les confessions d'un enfant du siècle, or simply the Confessions : the common motive of a young man falling for a more mature woman, though there, the girl is only mentally more mature than him.


Now about the other book, Women in love I do agree that I should read it in English. I think it's always better to read the original version anyway.

Honestly I barely read a few chapters.

And about Zola, well, it does not make much sense to compare him with Lawrence.

I look up to the authors that tackle such subjects that are, at first sight, not very alluring, which Zola did. He was a very influential writer, and I think he really managed to depict the working class in a very vivid way, without any kind sentimentalism, but at the same time, without any scorn whatsoever -and it is not always easy not to overstep the mark.

About who is "better placed" to write about the lowest classes. I do not think that being priviledged precludes one from fathoming out the predicament of the lower classes. On the other hand, those who, from rags to riches, climbed up the social ladder, are not always given to sympathizing with the underprivileged ones.

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Last edited by Ludy on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:27 am, edited 23 times in total.



Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:49 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
And I also tend to disagree with the very common argument that goes like "oh you have never been there so you can't undersand really".

This is, to my mind, is a narrow way to look at things and is not the most efficient and positive way to promote one's country and one's culture.

Most of the literary movements are international. All Europeans were affected by massive industrialization and the WWI. And the social problems Lawrence dealt with were similar to what happened in the industrialized part of Europe.

So yes, of course the cultural context should be allowed for, but literature and art are universal.

Therefore I do not think it is necessary to undertake an in depth exploration of Northern England to understand Women in Love.

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" Perfection is not achieved when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.


Last edited by Ludy on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:22 am, edited 6 times in total.



Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:39 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
...

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Last edited by Ludy on Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:49 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
When I read some favorite classics, or books by authors that I like - usually with troubled female characters - I read them very passionately and later I am unable to give critical opinion as I got too into them feeling I am a part of them. So then I read more about the book and critics just to compare them to some of my thoughts but the problem is that I cannot keep that objectiveness throughout reading and keep that distance which would enable me to judge about it's value on the whole. So I usually judge books by the effect they had on me, how much I was taken by them and what thoughts they inspired. So I am quite a simple reader. I am not too interested in politics or social problems whilst I like books about people, and love, as long as they are realistic and show the things how they are. Love would be dull and overrated topic if people managed to discover all its secrets and overcome all the problems it carries, but it seems that love will be the eternal topic as well as religion as there are not final answers. As much as global influences, philosophy and modern science would try to convince me that there are answers to everything I think it is such a complex issue that was and always will be a problem of people's lives - so people have written and will write books about it, as an eternal inspiration - love and sex. I judge by the experiences of so many people around me, different motives, different ideas, different behavior in love... God if only it would be so easy to put it in two sentences.

As for genuine love, that is such a good quote! And I would agree if I hadn't watched one extremely banal show where they put people on lie detectors and ask intimate questions... (I have no idea whether you have it in the West or we invented it!!!!) After 25 years of marriage a man said that he still loved his wife (proved right), romantically, passionately, even if he had 3 mistress... I really thought love was a bit simpler. At least that you stop loving someone after 7 years and that such genuine things were impossible... Many people do... Banal, stupid but I thought I had some understanding about human behavior - and then some banal examples should prove me wrong?

Now to go back to intellectual topics. Women in love I read in English so it was just harder for me as I didn't understand many words in descriptions etc. but I loved his study of people's characters. When I started reading Lady Chatterley's lover I couldn't believe it was the same writer as he had so much freedom in his descriptions. What I liked, beside the sex scenes :lol: , are descriptions of England and English people in 1920's. That really got me interested in exploring a bit more more about it. I never thought that much about England and English mentality, I more focused on French. Now would be interested to read more from these typically English writers.

And - got the idea to employ someone to take care of my forest at my country estate!!!
(Please don't think about Valmont's metaphors :lol: )

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Last edited by Marija Vera on Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:15 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
In Lady Chatterley's lover I also recognized that theme about a man rejoined with nature, some elements reminded me on a book written by Nobel praise winner Knut Hamsun in 1894. What I like about character of Oliver Mellors, apart from being so sarcastic and skeptical towards life, is how spontaneous he was in his actions. From all those hot descriptions I prefer the way he became her lover in the first place - he saw her in that emotional moment, took her by the arm, put the blanket he found on the ground in the cottage - that much of courtship! I found it so simple and so brilliant! How much time people waste on detecting and interpreting simple signals! Being so easy to confuse I would fall for that trick in no time. :lol: His attitude towards children would also very much reflect my own. So I sided very much with him while Connie I found a bit dull (Like the other sister in Women in love (not Gudrun) - simple and not too intelligent).

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:07 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Intersting reactions to a books and a writer that formed my thinking in so many ways. :) I cannot really think about Lawrence's all encompassing work without feeling quite emotional.

I don't really agree that you don't have to know about the wartime and post war North Midlands to understand Lawrence....one can skim the surface or try to put it in context but its' like watching a football match on TV, same sport but not the same atmosphere.

We agree on much in fact Ludy, the social context was vital to Lawrence, but that does seem to somewhat contradict what you said about "novels about love" in an earlier post. :wink:

Remember one vital thing about the reactions of Lawrence's characters, both women and men. They often as not embrace love despite themselves, as a necessity, unavoidable as the day that follows night but not strictly desirable! Look how Mellors moans about Connie disturbing his peace, his man of the woods rough male solitude. In she comes and busts up his life, makes him awake to true sensations, but bringing pain and suffering too. And look at Birkin who resists Ursula at first...or the two Brangwen sisters in "Women in love" discussing the wedding they saw, and saying "Marriage is impossible...the man makes it impossible!" Birkin always harps on about "singleness of being"...when Hermoine hits him over the head with the paperweight, he escapes off semi conscious to to the grounds of the stately home and the woods and undresses, walking naked through the ferns like the first man, blissfully in tune and in love with Nature, far from mankind and pure for the first time.

And the last ominous words of Ursula and Birkin in "Women in Love" when she says that a true friendship, a true love between two men, such as Birkin had hoped for with Gerald, is a perversity", Birkin replies 'I don't believe that"....and the book ends on a note of discord. Our professor said that the "Rainbow" is destructive consummating and "Women in Love" purely destructive. Indeed the two books should be read one afgter the other, to follow the sisters and also to follow the vital role of generations following each other with same pangs of love and death.

These are books for women too, written by a man! How often does a male writer put himself inside the mind of a woman? The scene in the "Rainbow" when Will Brangwen's wife dances heavily pregnant, her swollen tummy thrust towards the moonlight in her room, is a scene only a woman can truly understand and leaves her husband, and in some ways, the male reader shut out, excluded from her strange female essence. There is no sharing in that scene, only estrangement.

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Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:16 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
But beyond this is this search for the divine in man....there is no sex in Lawrence withour intense love, so sex is indeed sanctified and almost like in that strange sect that Rasputin belonged to, it is raised up to almost transcendent levels, as a means of getting closer to God. (I suppose you have to be a bit good at it too in that case...that helps! :lol: )

But talking seriously, Lawrence in so many ways reconciled me with my faith, he brought me closer to God, not through preaching, but through the wonderful recurring presence of divinely simple issues like love, childbirth, death, mourning, courting, fighting one's way through this life as best one can, with always that reassuring solid stone backdrop of the old English parish church with its' covered stone porch that has seen so many weddings and those same couples pass back under it in their coffins....and then their children and their's....eternal rolling forward, the beating heartbeat of life...rythmic life and death...."the pulse of the blood of the teats of the cows beat into the pulse of the hands of the men...." And of course Will Brangwen's and his wife's house gives on to that old church with its' sprawling tombstones all around it and its daffodils in spring that his father had in turn gathered when he was courting, and their days shaped by the regular striking of the churchtower bells...

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Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:05 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I posted that three times! Can someone help me there? :)

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Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:47 pm
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