Monday, March 27, 2006

The problems facing newspapers ...

... are clearly not peculiar to the U.S., as this post at Petrona demonstrates: Feminism at work and in the newspapers.

Maxine Clarke is on a roll this morning (it's morning here anyway). Check out:

Randomness as book plot

One-book authors

Fraud in science (Judson's book actually has much to recommend it. The chapters on Cyril Burt and Freud seemed to me especially worthwhile. I agree with Maxine that preventing fraud is well-nigh impossible. Moreover, trying to would probably itself cause problems.)


  1. How about one-book authors who DID stop after one book, and perhaps shouldn't have? Ross Lockridge ("Raintree County") and Thomas Heggen ("Mister Roberts"), both suicides (and the subjects of a dual biography, "Ross and Tom," by John Leggett). Harper Lee ("To Kill a Mockingbird"). Mac Hyman ("No Time for Sergeants"). To name but four of varying styles, types, and quality (?).

  2. Thank you for the kind words, Frank --- I do appreciate it.
    You have been posting some fascinating links and comments recently too, but then Books, Inq. is always like that.

    I agree with you Melville about "To Kill a Mockingbird". I haven't read any of the others you mention. What about "Gone with the Wind"?
    I am not sure if "Wuthering Heights" counts -- so far as I recall it was Emily Bronte's only novel, but I imagine, being a Bronte sister, she wrote a lot of other things. If it is her only novel, I wish she had written more.

  3. I'm probably in a minority among Americans in not liking "Gone With the Wind." I think it not only a bad novel, but a bad -- as in offensive -- book. To me, "Raintree County" is superior. You could even view “Raintree County” as a sort-of anti-“GWTW.” Where Margaret Mitchell bathes the deah ol’ South in a nostalgic glow, Ross Lockridge exposes it for all its fraud and misery. Where Mitchell sees the Civil War as a fight for a Cause, Lockridge sees it as a struggle for a Nation. Where Mitchell, whatever her intentions might have been, wrote a romance, Lockridge wrote a novel. But, as usual, I digress.

  4. I'm probably the only American who sees no romance whatsoever in the Civil War. The image that encapsulates it for me is of the cartload of limbs Whitman mentions in one of his prose pieces from the war. Bear in mind that one of Whitman's tasks as a nurse was to hold the young soldiers down as they had those limbs amputated.

  5. I was 13 when I read Gone with the Wind. I read it becuase I was reading a series of books called "The Chalet School", and in one of them, a girl got expelled for reading it, and the author approved!!! So naturally I had to read the book. I quite liked it, and at least it had the good effect of making me realise "The Chalet School" had its ideas out of kilter.
    However, I don't hold any particular torch for GWTW -- I just know it as a very famous "one book author" book.

    I agree with you both about the lack of romance of the civil war (or any war). I really enjoyed that very sad book "Cold Mountain" (the book by Charles Fraser; the movie was OK but I think did romanticise and simplify it too much, eg the relationship between the two main characters, which barely existed in the book). I particularly liked the detailed appreciation of nature by Iman on his long journey home.
    That book definitely did not romanticise the conflict.

  6. Somehow this thread seems to have wandered off into the Civil War. Perhaps I pulled it there. But since it has, I'll trump with my own candidate for the best Civil War novel ever, and that is MacKinlay Kantor's "Andersonville." There is not an ounce of romanticism in it, though there are a few dollops of sentimentality. Upon publication in 1955 it immediately and easily outclassed “Gone With the Wind” and it continues to surpass challengers as they come along, like Michael Shaara’s “The Killer Angels” and Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain,” if for no other reasons than its immense scope and superior evocation of the times.

  7. Bull's Eye, Melville! Andersonville is without doubt the best Civil War novel and just a good all-round novel, period. Kantor deserves to be remembered better than he has been. The Voice of Bugle Ann ain't bad, either.

  8. Dang right, and "Long Remember." LKF (Little Known Fact): Kantor's novella/short story "Glory for Me" was the basis for the great WWII movie "The Best Years of Our Lives." I love it when these threads go all over the place. Next we'll be hearing from Kevin Bacon.

  9. ok, i have put andersonville in mt amazon basket (one-handed typing)