Friday, January 21, 2011

This is not about love.

The semester has now begun, and that means that some things about the blog are going to be changing. Since my readings now are compressed (a week for one-two novels, roughly speaking), I won't be able to be as thorough as I was with Lady Chatterley's Lover. This means I'll skip a lot of plot summaries and things, but I'll send you links when available of summaries from Sparknotes, Google Books and Amazon, etc., for those of you reading vicariously through the posts.

Our next set of readings includes The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein, and two short stories by Mary Butts, "From Altar to Chimney Piece" and "Brightness Falls." The Autobiography is interesting so far. According to Donald Sutherland's review on the back cover, Stein wrote the autobiography "largely to amuse herself," and that impression is evident. Stein as perceived by Toklas appears to be outside the world, looking in and laughing coyly at what she sees. I'm really reading the novel to get a sense of her, so it's less a subject of study for me; instead, I'll use the background to inform my readings of Mary Butts, who was a contemporary of Stein's.

So until my next update (probably sometime this weekend, on two articles from The Atlantic: "The Hazards of Duke" and "Hard Core," if you'd like to read ahead of time), enjoy one of my favorite Fiona Apple songs, one I'm beginning to think of as a sort of theme song for the blog:

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