Thursday, January 1, 2009

JANUARY (WPA Art Project)



[Poster from the Illinois WPA Art Project, artist unknown. Stamped on the back: January 8, 1941. Via the Library of Congress online exhibit By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943.]

Happy New Year, and good reading to all.

I'm reading Dickens, Bleak House. You?

comments: 11

Geo-B said...

Philip Roth, Everyman

Geo-B said...

Oh, yes, and happy new year.

Slywy said...

Bleak House is the bleakest. I think I had to go on meds after that one.

Am reading What We Believe But Cannot Prove (ed. John Brockman), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (Walter Isaacson), and the Penguin History of the World (I'm kind of stalled; no reflection on the book). I am thinking of reading The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley next.

j said...

Reading Great Expectations and starting One Man's Wilderness An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith from the journals and photographs of Richard Proenneke.

I enjoyed Bleak House 'cept... I'll have more to say when you finish.

It is an incredible masterwork of plot and the characters are unforgettable. Hope you'll blog some of your thoughts. I enjoyed your posts on Mansfield Park.

Tom said...

The Pets, by Bragi Ólafsson
and
Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill

stefan said...

I'm reading my way through Orwell's essays in anticipation of the spring semester, and by a fine coincidence, the one I just finished is his one on Dickens. Orwell labels Dickens "a subversive writer, a radical, one might truthfully say a rebel," but wonders at the following paradox: "In Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Dickens attacked English institutions with a ferocity that has never since been approached. Yet he managed to do it without making himself hated, and more than this, the very people he attacked have swallowed him so completely that he has become a national institution himself... . Before I was ten years old I was having Dickens ladled down my throat by schoolmasters in whom even at that age I could see a strong resemblance to Mr. Creakle, and one knows without needing to be told that lawyers delight in Serjeant Buzfuz... . Dickens seems to have suceeded in attacking everybody and antagonizing nobody." I wonder if there's a bit of professional envy in the observation.

brownstudy said...

Lewis Shiner's Black and White

re Dickens -- I think I read a Robertson Davies essay where he suggested that Dickens' attacks on social institutions came after those institutions were in the process of being reformed, or something like that. Anyway, that's all I can contribute to the conversation!

Michael Leddy said...

That's quite an array of titles. Thanks, everyone, and thanks, Stefan and Mike, for the Dickens info.

I remember looking into questions of social reform re: Hard Times. I have vague recollections that Dickens' work more generally prompted various local changes, but I don't have details at hand (or even within walking distance).

TRH said...

Belated happy new year, Michael!

Current New Year's reading: 'True to life', Lawrence Weschler's brilliant account of David Hockney's explorations into the phenomenology of perception.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, and same to you, Timothy. I remember Weschler's New Yorker piece on Hockney — I didn't know about this book.

Macon D said...

Louis Begley's Matters of Honor. Very absorbing. I'm almost finished, and it's dawning on me that it may be end up being more subversive than it seems.