Caught an archived addition of On Point today. Fascinating. A discussion of the roots of an American classic, The House of the Rising Sun. Far more to it than I had previously ever thought about. And our old friend, Alan Lomax, plays a major part in the story. It wasn’t just The Animals involved. In fact, far from it. They just made the most famous version in 1964. But so many others covered the tune and it originated, most likely, in the Kentucky hills. Though it’s possible that it goes back even further, well into the 18th century. At least part of the song.
My own writing and reading has slowed a bit as we move to the end of 2008. The holidays have seen me sinking into movies primarily. Nothing of stunning note, though I did enjoy watching the classic, Casablanca, again. My guess is, however, that my own thoughts would not add anything new to the libraries of critical assessments regarding that great story of Rick and Ilsa and the madness in Morocco. . . . Read more. “Again With the Yevgeny”
The scam: the scene in Punch Drunk Love where the heroine is bleeding and Adam Sandler takes a tire iron to the toughs that just wrecked his car and his life.
What I find disturbing is the concept that inevitably someone with issues like Sandler’s must of necessity find true love. I am the age of his character with neurological issues of my own, and I haven’t seen its ananke. A sweet film, but false advertising.
Reading Evgeny Zamyatin’s A Godforsaken Hole (Na kulichkakh, 1914), what is the novel like?
First of all, it is very funny. And familiar. And yet the strange thing is that those other novels and texts that it can remind you of would seem to come after; and it would not be any particular writer or book, but merely the feeling of its being so familiar.
What is funny about this book? Here we feel in Walker Foard’s translation (Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1988) the full effect of its capricious humor. The magic of caprice does in fact lead to something different, some indication of Zamyatin’s genius and personality. . . . Read more. “Robert Mueller: Zamyatin’s Garden”
Reading a very interesting collection of essays, The Genuine Article, by Edmund S. Morgan. It’s an historical look at early American life, taken primarily from his articles for the New York Review of Books.
Lots of food for thought. He tells us (indirectly) that historians of that early period have spent most of their time with New England, not because of bias, but because of available records. We are blessed with a huge amount and variety of journals, letters, public records, and assorted written indications of life for the early settlers in the north, but very little for those in Virginia and south of that colony. . . . Read more. “The Genuine Article”
The Third Policeman finds his way to At Swim-Two-Birds and lives to write about it, writes to live within it. Riding his bloody bike, he feels his molecules changing, becoming something other, something cyclical. Along the way, he meets Saint Augustine and James Joyce, both of whom are really dead, but only one of whom is an apparition.
The other is a bartender who doesn’t know about Finnegans Wake.
Well, actually, that’s only part of the story and the wrong part. The real Dalkey Archiveis nothing like the above. I like the novel, but it’s just not up to the same standard as O’Brien’s (or O’Nolan’s) best two works, The Third Policeman and At Swim-Two-Birds, which just happen to be among the very best novels of the 20th century in English. . . . Read more. “The Dalkey Archive”