Some sort of introduction or explanation is, probably, in order. The short variety is that I am a literature student who needs somewhere to clear her head. I read a lot, and think far too much.
Part of the of the purpose of this blog, is to articulate my reading. Why do I dislike formalism? Why do I think ‘theme’ is a useless construction? How do I read? Why is it fruitless to call a narrator ‘unreliable’?
I study English literature, and that is really what I’m best at. Modern English literature – primarily literary fiction –, some current Norwegian and the occasional classic. I like the Russians for their emotions. And read mostly that elusive genre, literary fiction. And I like to read exhaustively, exploring an author’s ouevre. Bolaño, McEwan, Nabokov, DeLillo.
As for critical theory, or school, I dislike structuralism, and all the branches that stem from it. Am fascinated by modernism, postmodernism, decadence and fin de siècle, intertextuality, experiments.
I have something of an intuitive approach to literature. I enjoy complex sentences, long words and difficult novels. I am fond of narratology, if anything. But gave up reading books for their plots long ago. I appreciate beautiful writing.
There are, however, at least to varieties of imagination in the reader’s case. […] First, there is the comparatively lowly kind which turns for support to the simple emotions and is of a definitely personal nature. […] Or, and this is the worst thing a reader can do, he identifies himself with the character in the book. This lowly variety is not the kind of imagination I would like readers to use. (From Vladimir Nabokov’s essay “Good Readers and Good Writers”, in Lectures on Literature)
I largely agree with Nabokov’s views on literature. In particular that good readers do not read to identify with the characters, but to appreciate them. I do not read to like, or fall in love with, the characters, but to be fascinated by them.
This is what I set out to do, I look forward to seeing what it turns into.