Paradise Lost

 

Part 1 – An Introduction

Part II – Satan

Part III – John Milton and T. S. Eliot

Part IV – The Garden of Eden and the Fall of Woman and Man

 

 

 

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bruce H. on November 5, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    All of these are good, although I’m not a huge fan of Nabokov’s. I would also include a title or two by Jack Kerouac (“On The Road”), who wrote and who wrote about writing as well as anyone ever has; Charles Bukowski (“Women”), who brilliantly described the inner and outer life of a struggling writer; Stephen King (“The Shining”), who has written about struggling and succeeding as a writer even better than he’s written about vampires and haunted hotels; Saul Bellow (“Herzog”); William S. Burroughs (“Queer”); John Irving (“The World According To Garp”); and finally Louis-Ferdinand Celine (“Castle,” “North,” and “Rigadoon”), who wrote a trilogy of novels that deal equally with his terrifying, hilarious World War 2 experiences and his epic battles with his publishers.

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    • Hello Bruce H.
      Here is my take on Jack Kerouac
      https://anokatony.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/on-the-road-by-jack-kerouac/
      I haven’t read any of his other work besides ‘On the Road’ and did not know he had written anything about writers or writing.
      Here is my take on Charles Bukowski.
      https://anokatony.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/%E2%80%9Cwomen%E2%80%9D-by-charles-bukowski/
      I was awfully rough on Bukowski and his novel ‘Women’. I probably wouldn’t be so rough today. He is another wild man writer, and he does have a lot of insight into an average guy living a literary life. I just thought that a lot of ‘Women’ was just him bragging. I got in a bit of trouble with the Bukowski admirers on the Internet with that one.

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      • Posted by Bruce H. on November 7, 2013 at 6:53 AM

        Wow, that David Fink guy was kind of a jerk, wasn’t he? I don’t know why lit lovers are so often rude snobs. Anyway, while I disagree with your take on Bukowski and “Women” I certainly don’t think that you (and others who aren’t into him) are WRONG. Art isn’t math, there are no right or wrong answers. Having said that, and believing it, I think that Bukowski (and Kerouac, for that matter) are often misunderstood because they wrote so close to the bone, basing so much of their work on their own lives. I think many of those who like him misunderstand him, too. They SEEM to be saying how cool they are, how free and uninhibited and wild they are, primarily because they’re talking exclusively about themselves, but I’ve always thought that was a dangerous assumption to make. I think that was only a starting point for them, a place they could filter their ideas about the human race and what’s wrong with it.

        Upon close reading it becomes clear that both Bukowski and Kerouac were extraordinarily sensitive, self-ostracized, brooding people who admired those that grabbed life by the collar and throttled it, like Dean Moriarty in “On The Road” did, even though by the end of the book Moriarty emerges as something of an uncaring jerk. Kerouac’s writing was a search for meaning in postwar American life, and he died without finding (or providing) a lot of answers. The “beat” in Beat Generation was about being beaten down, exhausted, too tired to fight anymore and open to anything that might provide a haven for a lost soul. Hitting the road only made Kerouac old before his time, it didn’t liberate him, which the hippies and others who emulated him (like me, in my twenties) didn’t understand.

        Bukowski, on the other hand, rather than emulating and mythologizing another person, tried to create this kind of character in HIMSELF, creating a myth about “Henry Chinaski” as a sardonic womanizer who sees the world as a waste of his precious time. He wasn’t like that in real life, he was too good a writer and too close an observer to be so blunted, but it served his purpose to make people think he was like that, and I believe in the end he became somewhat trapped by that myth, not unlike Hemingway or Fitzgerald or Mailer or etc. etc. etc. His Chinaski character was a wall, a remove from the horrifying world around him, a convenience that let people accept his reluctance to engage with them. I mentioned “Women” before because it probably says the most that he has to say about writing, but his best book, his funniest and his most relaxed, open writing, is “Hollywood,” about the making of the movie “Barfly,” which you mentioned in your article. If you ever try him again, try that one.

        Back to my original point, though, both Kerouac and Bukowski were writers who wrote much about writing just in the text of their books. Kerouac did create a philosophy of writing called “Spontaneous Prose,” and wrote pieces about how a writer’s first thought is his best thought and he should never edit (read: second-guess) himself, but frankly his best writing was his most edited, so I never put too much stock in that idea.

        That’s about it. Sure like your website. Keep it up.
        Bruce

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        • Hello Bruce H.,
          That is an interesting thought that if Charles Bukowski really were Henry Chinaski, he wouldn’t have been able to produce the work he did.
          Bukowski’s non-fiction book ‘Hollywood’ about the making of Barfly sounds fascinating.
          I’m not sure about Spontaneous Prose either, but I do believe there is such a thing as over-editing.

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