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 What are you reading currently? 
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
baron de batz wrote:
I posted that three times! Can someone help me there? :)


No until you help yourself :lol:

Just delete 2 posts, you have that option, I think it is in the right corner of your post?

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Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:59 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I took care of it......there is an x in the bottom right hand corner that allows you to delete your post.


Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:00 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I don't see it. I think only moderators have it.

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:10 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
:|

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Last edited by Ludy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:26 am, edited 3 times in total.



Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:27 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
baron de batz wrote:

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.




The historical events Lawrence witnessed were mainly international (massive industrialization, WWI), which were also the literary and artistic movements. .


I do agree that cultural differences do remain. I just feel that it is sufficient and more crucial in fact to be acquainted with the general artistic and literary background in Europe and in the World at that time, than having ever visited Northern England...

Or else you mean that any maverick from the Midlands is more capable of understanding Women in Love than a professor of European literature from, let us say, Heidelberg, that is extremely well versed in XX century literature but has never been to the Midlands ?


What do I precisely need to know about Northern in England to understand the book ?

Do I first need to watch a football match, drink some local beer in a local pub and learn the local slang ? I would probably be a lot of fun, but I am not sure I'll be in the right state of mind to read Lawrence afterwards. And once I took to it, are you sure you will still enjoy my company ?

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Last edited by Ludy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:39 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
No I don't think that you need to have been there to understand the book , but there are aspects of it which are helped by some knowledge of what Northern life and Northerners are like. It's a bit like Pagnol and Provence. I mean that even if Lawrence appeals to universal emotions, some of his writing is strongly rooted in a regional culture and images conjured up in an English mind (precisely the old stone Northern church with its' sprawling graveyard) will not be conjured up in a foreign mind that knows nothing of England, and yet somehow they are, like the drab miners' cottages all in a row, quintessential to his work. Just like a play needs a good setting, a carefully managed staging. So no I don't really think you can "Europeanize" Lawrence's work, and indeed when I read his books I am back in England and back in character, almost homesick. That's not nationalistic, but there's no point trying to be right or wrong about this, as I cannot prove it.

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:36 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Agreed.

More importantly I think it is crucial to acquire certain knowledge of the social and political history of the given country, and I would agree that everything cannot be Europeanized. But this can be achieved more adequately through reading - being a native does not mean that one has such an insight.

For instance, as you are the one mentioning Pagnol, I think one gets a better understanding of his writing with the help of some background knowledge of a certain type of French conservatism - but i will not expand of that theme.

I do not see what in Lawrence is so particular to Northern England, other than what is explainable by the European context. But since I don't know anything about the subject, it is up to a resident of this region to tell me if there is something concrete I should know.

Now, if we are talking about emotions, I certainly agree that reading Lawrence may convey a feeling of familiarity or nostalagia to those who are acquainted with this part of England. I do suppose that you get a better "insight" of what the author is describing, whether or not this has an impact on the global understanding, which I doubt- and that you feel things in a different way. But the story itself remains universal, I think.

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:17 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Yes universal in a regional context of that time.

In the novel there is a polish woman who arrives in the town, a widow with a little girl. Brangwen ends up courting and marrying her, some strange foreign plant that fascinates and attracts him...her reaction to that which surrounds her is absolute proof of what I say. She shies away from these people like a wild animal at first. But that is in "The Rainbow" and you would have to read it. She is the universal, the European you speak of, made flesh and transported into this Lawrence world.

Ludy wrote:

I do not see what in Lawrence is so particular to Northern England, other than what is explainable by the European context.

It is frustrating for me to go in circles.....how about a leap of faith, and just believe me? Or read the novels and go to Derbyshire, and see what's left of this North, now the mines have gone. You can visit his little house I think, where he grew up. It is still a million miles from all you have ever known....and the people, well you must see for yourself, and you would then see the books fall into context, a different and non European, non universal context, it would be clear what I'm saying. In some ways Lawrence describes "English" emotions.....of a region and its' culture and way of living and loving...and dying.

It is true , so true that I would never presume to understand Pagnol's novels without having seen Provence for myself...

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:03 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I enjoyed Lady Chatterley's Lover. I do not think I was shocked by the love or sex depicted in it or the class interaction. I think it would of been more shocking in its time. Some of the descriptions are a little clunky, of Connie's feelings when making love, but it still is an engaging book. There was a good French version of this film.

I am currently reading 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' by Dave Eggers.

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:34 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I think that when one says something as presumptuous as "you must visit the country to understand", he/she should be able to back it up with concrete examples. And if you feel frustrated by the discussions, it may be because you lack those examples indeed. But please do not feel compelled to take part in any discussion with me at all. I do believe in free will !

The role of literature is to be universal and to convey emotions, precisely. Like Marie-Antoinette read novels about travels when imprisoned, the aim it to stimulate the imagination. In USSR when people were denied the possibility to travel abroad, literature was meant to make them travel mentally, it was an open window on the West. So I am sorry, but sincerly I think this is absurd. It is like denying the very point, the very "raison d'être" of literature and of art by and large.

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Last edited by Ludy on Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:48 am, edited 3 times in total.



Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:47 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
baron de batz wrote:
Yes universal in a regional context of that time.

In the novel there is a polish woman who arrives in the town, a widow with a little girl. Brangwen ends up courting and marrying her, some strange foreign plant that fascinates and attracts him...her reaction to that which surrounds her is absolute proof of what I say. She shies away from these people like a wild animal at first. But that is in "The Rainbow" and you would have to read it. She is the universal, the European you speak of, made flesh and transported into this Lawrence world.

Ludy wrote:

I do not see what in Lawrence is so particular to Northern England, other than what is explainable by the European context.

It is frustrating for me to go in circles.....how about a leap of faith, and just believe me? Or read the novels and go to Derbyshire, and see what's left of this North, now the mines have gone. You can visit his little house I think, where he grew up. It is still a million miles from all you have ever known....and the people, well you must see for yourself, and you would then see the books fall into context, a different and non European, non universal context, it would be clear what I'm saying. In some ways Lawrence describes "English" emotions.....of a region and its' culture and way of living and loving...and dying.

It is true , so true that I would never presume to understand Pagnol's novels without having seen Provence for myself...


Because there were no mines in France and Germany ? What concretely makes the English mines so peculiar ? What in the social context of the time sets it apart from the rest of Europe ?

And why should I believe you given that you did not provide me with any concrete explanation at all ?

As I said, you should have a certain knowledge of French conservatism to understand Pagnol's books. Because if you do not put them back into their context, it is true that you miss something : you simply won't understand why on earth he wrote those books. But, to my mind, it seems absurd to say that you should have to go to Provence to understand them : the French grasshoppers are the same as the English ones.


So I admit that I may not understand Lawrence because there is something I do not know about England's cultural and historical context : for instance, a given law that was enacted, the way the unions worked, or which party was in power at that time etc. But I have not read anything concrete in your post.

It is always easy to rave about "emotions" and "go there and you'll see". These are no arguments to me.

And if you have the infuriating feeling that you cannot spell out your thought clearly and give me a concrete understanding of it, maybe it is because it is not that clear for you in the first place : "Ce qui ce conçoit bien s'énonce clairement, et les mots pour le dire nous viennent aisément." said one of your ancestries !

If anything to me, your opinion is the perfect illustration of the difference between patriotism and nationalism, which is why it is so much bandied about in Russia or other Eastern Europeans countries. Nationalism is always a kind of exclusion of others "you have never been to my ant-hill, so you cannot understand, because my ant-hill is so different to the other ant-hills.It's like that. I can't justify it. But it's a fact. Just believe me.". Genuine patriotism aims at enticing people and encouraging them to get interested in your culture, it aims at exporting one's culture.

So as a result, I can forget about English literature, given that I won't be able to go to the English countryside in the near future ? That is fine by me ! I have plently of other books to read.

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Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:52 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
:lol: :lol:

It's a good start of the day!

P.S. - Hope there won't be much editing as I am so eager to see the reply to this! :wink:

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Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:54 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
But I will be bold enough in saying that some novels by acknowledged Serbian writer Borisav Stankovic you could never understand (English, French mind) without knowing Serbian tradition, social context of that time, Serbian mentality, what "southern sadness" refers to, what "merak", "domacin" is etc. etc. Without "knowing" all these things from our tradition, in our mentality, one can hardly understand the book.

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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


Last edited by Marija Vera on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:06 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Marija Vera wrote:
But I will be bold enough in saying that some novels by acknowledged Serbian writer Borisav Stankovic you could never understand (English, French mind) without knowing Serbian tradition, social context of that time, Serbian mentality, what "eastern sadness" refers to, what "merak", "domacin" is etc. etc. Without "knowing" all these things from our tradition, in our mentality, one can hardly understand the book.


Ok I'm climbing down a bit, you are right , but it's a matter of culture, not a matter of origins or travels ! I would certainly not understand it now, given that I do not know much about the Serbian culture. But what if I read a lot about Serbia, its culture, history, traditions ?

I do not make much of cultural differences and mentalities -but that is only my opinion. I think most of the differences are social. What I don't understand is how you can say that I would not understand this author just because I am French,as if it was the fate. You can be a native of a given country (for instance : Serbia), and not know anything about it all the same. We have plently of ignoramuses in France, believe me, and I am sure that you, being Serbian, know much more about France than A LOT of my fellow citizens, simply because you have read more literature than them. So ok, they were born in France, they have lived there all their life. So what ?

I had the most enthralling discussions about France with a Russian boy that had never been there, did not speak the language, but knew everything about the country's history. It was amazing.

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Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:15 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
True, one thing that I would mention as a cultural difference is how astonishing for me was a French, English way of inviting someone to your birthday in a restaurant having in mind that he will pay his lunch and you just the drink. In Serbia it couldn't happen in million years, regardless the social background, standard etc. It is just unbelievable and such a culture shock. You being raised differently may not be able to see why it is a big deal for me, yes I can explain to you our tradition, mentality, understanding but still you won't be able to feel it the way I do. But I would still tend to agree with your opinion, as after all I am reading French books written in the 18th century not thinking that I am incompetent to understand them because I was not born then and there.

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Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:29 pm
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