Archive for literary

…a look at love

Posted in Writers with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2017 by Mj Rains

A look at Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, in which the narrator tries to remember everyone he has ever known and things he has done or not done. He takes a look at love, the waiting, the celebration of moments and small pleasures.

Diane Ackerman writes in A Natural History of Love: As an adult, the narrator falls in love with a certain Albertine, a dark-haired, unremarkable-looking girl of the lower middle class (“let us leave pretty women to men devoid of imagination”) whom he adores, and who ultimately decides to leave him. She is fickle and runs off to carouse with both male and female lovers. He tries to entice her back by offering to buy her a Rolls-Royce and a yacht. She agrees, only to be thrown by a horse and killed before she has a chance to return. In much of Remembrance, the narrator obsesses about Albertine with a fascination as disquieting and automatic as a hacking cough. She is the central planet in an unknown solar system. Every object she touches offers a glimpse of a bright new world. 

I am both…

Posted in "Wit"icisms" with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2014 by Mj Rains


I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how could that be. ~ The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2011 by Mj Rains

Nonsense may be mainly known as, well, just plain gibberish, or you may say “That’s utter nonsense,” meaning you disagree with what was said, whether it be hard to understand or not.

Strange thing, but in the Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, nonsense is defined quite dramatically and it draws me in with fascination. Basically there are two kinds of nonsense: the unintentional, and the intentional. The former is common speech and the latter actually has its own minor genre in literature, if you can believe it. But I suppose I can. I’ve read a lot of nonsense that sells itself as literature, like all the gibber gook tink floo doth now more and less fly east via west you find in any Nora Roberts cookie cutter novel. Sorry if you’re a fan. What more fascinates me is the idea of this intentional nonsense (Nora need not apply) that historically has gone down as poetic and literary…such as the example that follows.

One of the classic nonsense poems of Samuel Foote (1720-77), The Great Panjandrum:

So she went into the garden
to cut a cabbage leaf
to make an apple-pie;
and at the same time
a great she-bear, coming down the street,
pops its head into the shop.
What! no soap?
So he died,
and she very imprudently married the Barber:
and there were present
the Picninnies,
and the Joblillies
and the Garyulies,
and the great Panjandrum himself,
with the little round button at top;
and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can,
till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.

I think I am familiar with the Garyulies…they are a sorry lot.
If you give a floo, or a shit, or a damn….let me know.

Writing Bliss…

Posted in Writers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2010 by Mj Rains

I’ve been writing hard, and hopefully getting somewhere and in the mean time
reading many short stories for inspiration, among other things. Katherine Mansfield’s stories have always been my favorites, though, I must confess to having not read all of them, but alas, I’ve found a website that seems to have quite of bit, if not all, of her literary geniuses stuffed on to its pages. Here’s a short bio and a link to my favorite story by Katherine called Bliss.

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) was born in Wellington, New Zealand. She persuaded her father, a banker and industrialist, to send her to London in 1903 to study the cello.  With a small allowance from her family, she decided to become a writer instead of a musician after meeting such literary people as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.  Her first book of short stories, In a German Pension, was published in 1911.  In the same year she met the literary critic and journalist John Middleton Murry, who became her husband in 1918.

She became stricken with tuberculosis in 1918 and she found it difficult to continue her work. In her posthumously published Journal (1927) she writes: “Look at the stories that wait just at the threshold. Why don’t I let them in? And their place would be taken by others who are lurking beyond just there—waiting for the chance.”  She sought a cure for her illness at the Gurdjieff Institute in France, an establishment run by the mystic Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, whose methods of combined spiritual and physical healing.  Katherine died there a few months later after her thirty-fourth birthday.

So sad, to die so young.  88 of her stories have been published and they have had a great influence on the development of the literary form. She simplified plot to intensify the emotional impact, dramatized small events to reveal the larger significance in the lives of people.  Katherine developed her own technique of prose narration. She presented a psychological moment when a character’s life is illuminated in an unforgettable manner. “Bliss“, in which she depicts the secret and passionate lives of individuals flowing treacherously beneath the seemingly smooth and harmonious surface of a marriage, shows the purity of her style.

Text source: The Story and Its Writer by Ann Charters

The Wings of the Dove deeply flutter….

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by Mj Rains

No mistake, a great literary achievement, though many find this one a “hard” read.  I have to agree, and used a nice printable summary of the story by Michael McGoodwin online that helped tremendously with pure understanding.  That said, once you read a few chapters, you get James’ feel in the writing, even with all his detached reminiscences, added toppings, and sometimes obscure references all attached to one simple sentence.  I found myself starting to simplify the wordage myself, while still absorbing the story and his fine literary line.  If you read this one, do print out that summary. I found myself writing my own outline and thoughts on the chapters, which perhaps I’ll type out into a page sometime.  I have to say, I love Milly, “the world’s richest orphan”, and her dramatic will to live life.

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