Monday, June 22, 2009

Hard questions ...

... `Reflection, Speech, and Writing'.

I have a hard time with lists like this. I can think, off the top of my head, of two volumes I would have to have: Wallace Stevens and Cavafy. Probably Le grand Meaulnes, to remind me of who I was when I was young. I can't imagine living without Keats. Or Chaucer.
And that's as far as I'll go just now.

But, speaking of Le grand Meaulnes, I happened upon this.

I would suggest that the key to the book lies in working one's way back from the last couple of sentences: "Admirtal Meaulnes had left me one joy; I felt that he had come to take it back from me. And already I could imagine him at night, wrapping his daughter in his cloak and setting out with her for new adventures."
The book isn't about Meaulnes. It is about Francois, the narrator - and, by extension, the reader.

1 comment:

  1. I personally find it difficult to determine the extent to which most books have "influenced" me in the sense of having a clearcut long-term effect on my thinking and interests. Two that I know had that kind of effect on me are books I read in childhood:

    Stars by Herbert Zim (a remarkably well-written and -illustrated introduction to astronomy for 10 -14 year old readers which, after 50+ years, has recently been reissued in an updated version.)

    A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (swords, radium pistols, airships, 8-legged thoats galloping over dead sea bottoms under the twin moons, green barbarians, a red princess, and John Carter of Virginia -- need I say more?)