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-   -   Hey, can we have a rolling What Are You Reading thread? (http://forums.netphoria.org/showthread.php?t=186757)

Alice 02-14-2021 05:34 PM

Dry September is truly something else. It was awful to read. Made me feel things that I'm not sure writing has ever made me feel before. The real horror of this thing that people did and still do comes across in a way that history books and even photographs can't replicate. And it's all accomplished across the span of so few words. Will barely speaks but it's hard to imagine forgetting the impression his character made on me. If I ever had the chance to defend art from Plato and his stupid ideas about it this is the kind of thing I'd lead with. This feels unlike anything of Faulkner's I've read. I'm not sure what kind of reputation this story enjoys but I'd say it ranks among his best writing for me

Alice 02-14-2021 05:49 PM

https://southinblackandwhite.files.w...-september.pdf

Alice 02-14-2021 05:49 PM

In case my dumb post made you curious, you should read it rather than look up the wiki

Alice 02-14-2021 05:56 PM

"Most of the critical attention given to language in Faulkner’s novels and stories has been devoted to matters of style. Language, however, interested Faulkner as a subject as well as a technique; the theme of the dangers inherent in the misuse of language recurs throughout his fiction. He draws on the traditional belief that the moral and spiritual degeneration of a people is reflected in their language: injustice and hatred weights words with destructive connotations, and irresponsibility promotes the unthinking use of words. Once words become distorted and emotionally charged, they themselves contribute to prejudiced thinking and automatic reactions by the force they carry and by their power to block out individual distinctions. Faulkner’s characters are frequently guilty of using words in careless and destructive ways; more often than not, language is a negative force in his fictional world. But unlike Beckett and Pinter, Faulkner refuses to give up on language; he does not ask us to accept Benjy’s silence as a solution. He argues instead that man has a moral obligation to use his language truthfully and responsibly. Although the picture of man speaking that Faulkner represents is largely pessimistic, he does offer pieces of a model of language rightly used."

Alice 02-14-2021 05:57 PM

What say you of this, Netphorian readers? Have you given up on language or do you hold out hope yet?

Alice 02-14-2021 06:07 PM

Or do you rather reject the premise entirely?

ovary 02-14-2021 07:45 PM

that critic is being pretty classist. what was that written in the 60s or something? of course, faulkner is classist too so whatever

Alice 02-14-2021 08:01 PM

1977. I figured that would come up and I understand why it has. I'm not sure if I see it though, at least in this short excerpt. Is your position that the argument is inherently classist?

Alice 02-14-2021 08:22 PM

Of course there's always the danger of this kind of argument going in that direction. But I wonder if it's possible to suggest that there are destructive and irresponsible ways to use language without favoring the speech patterns of a particular group. I feel like maybe it is? And maybe certain recent changes in what used to be but is no longer considered acceptable use of language would support that idea? But it's certainly a complicated question that I don't feel is fully settled in my mind

Alice 02-14-2021 08:24 PM

All I am saying is give peas a chance

ovary 02-14-2021 09:04 PM

"He draws on the traditional belief that the moral and spiritual degeneration of a people is reflected in their language: injustice and hatred weights words with destructive connotations, and irresponsibility promotes the unthinking use of words."

sounds like "poor people" to me. like faulkner's snopes clan. tho faulkner would also put some slavers in the "destrictive/irresponsible" camp and some poors, like the mccallums, in the "moral and spiritual" camp.

i'm just not comfortable saying some uses of language are good and some bad and let ME tell you which is which. dont think faulkner would be comfotable with that either. he's just a storyteller.

also i feel like its kind of a boring claim. like "good people use good language, and bad people use bad language." like duh, right?

Alice 02-14-2021 10:01 PM

Yeah I get it. Is that necessarily the claim though? "Good" people can use language badly and vice versa. I guess I'd have to read further before I felt comfortable with the idea that the author is saying all that you're suggesting they are.

Either way what interested me most was the bit about Faulkner as as a believer in the possibility of "language rightly used" as compared to Pinter and Beckett and skeptics. I'm not sure I ever really thought about Faulkner that way. But then I see stories like The Tall Men or Shall Not Perish and I wonder what, if any of it, is actually him. He certainly strikes me as significantly more conservative than either Pinter or Beckett. But yeah I would agree that he seems far more interested in storytelling than in ideas. I guess maybe he was just really good at understanding and conveying the inner lives of people in ways that inevitably connect to those ideas, whether they were of interest to him or not

Alice 02-14-2021 10:02 PM

Better get that free JSTOR access and read up

Alice 02-14-2021 10:07 PM

I should read the Snopes trilogy too. Flem seems like a character I wouldn't mind more of

remd3 02-15-2021 06:11 AM

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0932551238...XCRFSZ2VR3MVQA

ovary 02-15-2021 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alice (Post 4574809)
Yeah I get it. Is that necessarily the claim though? "Good" people can use language badly and vice versa. I guess I'd have to read further before I felt comfortable with the idea that the author is saying all that you're suggesting they are.

Either way what interested me most was the bit about Faulkner as as a believer in the possibility of "language rightly used" as compared to Pinter and Beckett and skeptics. I'm not sure I ever really thought about Faulkner that way. But then I see stories like The Tall Men or Shall Not Perish and I wonder what, if any of it, is actually him. He certainly strikes me as significantly more conservative than either Pinter or Beckett. But yeah I would agree that he seems far more interested in storytelling than in ideas. I guess maybe he was just really good at understanding and conveying the inner lives of people in ways that inevitably connect to those ideas, whether they were of interest to him or not

I mean, who gets to determine when language is "rightly used?" I think that is my issue with the argument. One man's good is another man's bad. Faulkner knows better than anyone that language is an expression of perspective, and though he had certain political commitments himself, I don't think he would class his characters as either "using language well" or "misusing it." They're all just using language to express their own contradictory experiences. The excerpt feels dated because it's relying on older school critical apparatus aimed at deliniating "good and bad," rather than the newer school project of articulating how perspectives interact with each other.

Also, like so many literary-critical arguments, when you strip away all the posturing and big words and citations, the claim just isn't that interesting. "language can be used for good, or misused!" wooooaaahhh, no shit dude.

ovary 02-15-2021 11:06 AM

Think about the first chapter of Go Down, Moses, when they're talking about "Tomey's Turl" and you think it's a dog or a donkey or something and then it turns out that he's a fucking human being. And only half-black, and a blood-relation to the whites talking about him, at that. And then, later on, it turns out that Buddy and whatshisname the brother are like, the most progressive plantation owners in the whole damn county.

I just think that the genius of Faulkner is displaying/unraveling those kinds of like, fucked up knots of social interaction in the south. Everyone is so deeply implicated in the evil that it's too reductive to read him and be like "well, some characters use language in degenerate ways, and some use language in good ways."

slunken 04-27-2021 07:24 PM

Can't remember when I posted last. Read a bunch of Philip K Dick and which made me question reality. I felt he was much easier to understand once you can understand his life/biography.

Moved to David Foster Wallace (essays) because of people complaining about him online. I really liked his essay on the cruise ship which is probably what everyone knows him by. His essay on a county fair moved me to tears several times. https://harpers.org/wp-content/uploa...07-0001729.pdf

The stuff about TV and fiction bored me. Gonna try his short stories next.

Started "angels" by Denis Johnson and am glued to it. Early 80s white trash fiction. Is this how I find out I'm dumb?

run2pee 04-27-2021 09:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slunken (Post 4578576)
Can't remember when I posted last. Read a bunch of Philip K Dick and which made me question reality. I felt he was much easier to understand once you can understand his life/biography.

Moved to David Foster Wallace (essays) because of people complaining about him online. I really liked his essay on the cruise ship which is probably what everyone knows him by. His essay on a county fair moved me to tears several times. https://harpers.org/wp-content/uploa...07-0001729.pdf

The stuff about TV and fiction bored me. Gonna try his short stories next.

Started "angels" by Denis Johnson and am glued to it. Early 80s white trash fiction. Is this how I find out I'm dumb?

Denis Johnson and DFW are two of my all time GOATS of all time

Try Gods Son and infinite jest (although feel free to skip anything very dry and technical about, e.g., tennis, since DFW’s obsessive indulgences tend to (for me at least) stall the otherwise thrilling electric darkness, at parts

slunken 04-27-2021 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Run To Me (Post 4578587)
Denis Johnson and DFW are two of my all time GOATS of all time

Try Gods Son and infinite jest (although feel free to skip anything very dry and technical about, e.g., tennis, since DFWs obsessive indulgences tend to (for me at least) stall the otherwise thrilling electric darkness, at parts

Gods son next for denis Johnson yea ? His work seems...spotty

slunken 04-27-2021 09:22 PM

I figured if I liked dfw short stories enough (girl with curious hair) I would tackle broom of the system. No?

slunken 04-27-2021 09:27 PM

Would rather talk about denis Johnson tbh. I can’t figure out this guy.

run2pee 04-27-2021 09:51 PM

Didn’t try broom of the system yet

Denis Johnson reminds me of what i like about flannery o’connor. Grotesque characters getting in way over their head with brutal, inscrutable Old Testament religion. Also just the beauty to be found at the fringes of polite life

run2pee 04-27-2021 09:54 PM

This is a good primer, i agree with most of it:

https://lithub.com/looking-for-god-i...denis-johnson/

reprise85 04-27-2021 09:54 PM

let's see i read the diving bell and the butterfly recently which is very short and extraordinary considering it is written by someone with locked in syndrome communicating through eye blinks

also read into thin air which was super interesting but not particularly well written

um also read In the Name of the Children which is a biography basically of an FBI agent's career catching child predators.

i started reading in cold blood but lost my way shortly after starting.

killtrocity 04-28-2021 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cool As Ice Cream (Post 4573347)
heh, i never noticed before that it's "prostrate" instead of "prostate".


Ram27 04-28-2021 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reprise85 (Post 4578596)
let's see i read the diving bell and the butterfly recently which is very short and extraordinary considering it is written by someone with locked in syndrome communicating through eye blinks

I read Johnny Got His Gun a few years ago, it was enthralling and fucked up and a great read. guy lost all his limbs, sight, hearing, speech in a WWI landmine

slunken 04-28-2021 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Run To Me (Post 4578595)
This is a good primer, i agree with most of it:

https://lithub.com/looking-for-god-i...denis-johnson/

Tight. Thanks.

Fuck you Pasta of Muppets youre a loser.

slunken 04-28-2021 06:08 PM

Pasta of muppets is the type of loser to screencap my cool fun comments and post them online for pussy credits while he goes oh no would you look at this. Basically a classic tattletale.

slunken 04-28-2021 06:11 PM

Please give this child one crumb of pussy before his head explodes. His parents have had it up to here.


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