Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A genius confined to an office chair must either die or go mad.*

Some of what I love:
  • Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (love love love)
  • Flaubert, Sentimental Education
  • Maugham, Of Human Bondage
  • Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time
  • Isak Dinesen
  • A.S. Byatt
  • Nabokov
  • Proust
  • Rilke
and
  • My husband's hazelnut ice cream, just served in a small brown dish.**

You look at my reading list and think that I went into the wrong field.

And yet I'm in the right place. Hi-ho, European Lit Seminar, Spring 2010! Hurrah for Brit Lit/European Generalist jobs! I never thought I'd like you, but I do. (And why am I thinking about next semester's courses now? What possessed me to order my books this afternoon? Lest you think I'm on the ball: I'm not, otherwise.)

These novels, they make me weep. I am in love with them. Deeply. Reading them is like reading back into my younger self, my 20-year-old wild poet self, my self of desires and resistance, my buzz-cut braless barefoot savage self--o God, how am I going to teach these books [some of them; not all: Proust and Mann are too long; Byatt, Maugham, and Eliot too English; I'd have them read Nabokov's Ada but it's too too] if my students fail to love them as deeply as I do?

*The quote's from Lermontov. The sentiment is universal.

**Also married to the right man. Yum.

5 comments:

Sisyphus said...

Fun! And, uh, good luck --- sometimes teaching what you love to students who never come to like it is not all that it's cracked up to be. (and why do I suddenly feel so underread, looking at your list of big fat books I have not cracked? Oh yeah, yeah?... but ... uh, have you read any Morrison lately? Neener neener!)

PS your husband _made_ ice cream??? Damn. You (butter-churning, bread-making, novel-writing maniac) certainly did find the right man!

undine said...

Nice! And I didn't know anyone, anyone else who loved Of Human Bondage!

heu mihi said...

When I first read *Of Human Bondage*, back when I was all of 21, I remember just intensely wishing that it was the novel I had written.

I read it a couple of years ago: still good.

heu mihi said...

Oh, and my ex-boyfriend loves it, too. (I made him read it. And also *The Magic Mountain* and *Ada*, both of which he also loved. Not a bad type, that ex-boyfriend.)

criag said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Thanks,
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