inconsistent font choices: the powerpoint
long story short,
- in the event that you do read “lolita”
- read the foreword
- and the afterword
- consider context and intent
- get the annotated version if u want
- and pay attention to the text.
There’s an episode in the first or second season of SVU where Dolores murders HH’s creepy ass. Yes good.
Also read the foreword because it’s where the resolution of the plot actually punches you in the gut.
i don’t tend to read forewords because i don’t want to start a book with someone else’s feelings about a book, but i guess i’ll do that o_o
mind you i’m not 100% confident i actually FINISHED lolita? like the last thing i remember is her being pregnant and humbert being all “she looks too grown up my boner is wilting :(“
i have genuinely used people’s feelings about lolita as a barometer for whether i want to have anything to do with them like:
DO YOU THINK HUMBERT HUMBERT IS A CREEPY PEDO RAPIST AND THAT WHAT HE DID WAS UNJUSTIFIED AND UNJUSTIFIABLE? PLEASE SELECT FROM THE FOLLOWING:
- FUCK YES
- I AM NOT WELCOME IN YOUR HOUSE SO I’M GOING TO AWKWARDLY LEAVE NOW
And now I have to read the book with the foreward.
I don’t usually read forwards because 99% of the time they are really fucking boring and full of information no one gives a shit about in waaay too much detail.
But oh my god at the end of the novel Dolores actually calls it rape.
Not sure how many people in this thread already know this, so sorry if this is unnecessary, but just in case: The foreword is actually part of the novel; John Ray, Jr. is a character invented by Nabokov. Also, yet another intentionally douchey and unreliable narrator.
That’s why The Hunger Games is such a diabolical head fake. Forget about it being entertaining, which I concede it is. It has managed to convince everyone that a passive character whose main strength is that she thinks a lot of thoughts and feels a lot of feelings, but who ultimately lets every decision be made by someone else— that is a female hero, a winner. You wouldn’t allow yourself to like a story where the woman lacks agency, so it’s clothed in a vampire story or a female Running Man so it sounds like she’s making things happen. Or, if you prefer, in order to allow you to like an anti-feminist story, it is necessary to brand it as a vampire story or a female Running Man. Regardless of how you phrase it, the purpose is to get you to like this kind of a story. It wants you to think this is the next step in female protagonists. But it’s a trick: nothing has changed since the royal ball.
What’s Wrong With The Hunger Games Is What No One Noticed
Really interesting read, about how Katniss effectively has no agency throughout the whole of the book. There are some things I disagree with (e.g. she does basically decide to kill Peeta at the end when she aims her bow at him) but overall solid point.
I liked how Katniss fell into a political position, fell into being a rebel … because I’m very political already, I like the idea that someone who thinks they don’t have a rebellious bone in their body finds that revolution is the only right thing to do.
But I think maybe this person needs to read the other 2 books because Katniss def. has agency. I just don’t think I would find as much pleasure in a book series where the main character was already a radical feminist, already a hardened anarchist, filled with virtuous hatred for the Capitol and wanting to be everyone’s saviour. She’s only 16.
I think it’s brilliant BECAUSE she just fell into it. It’s the strength she shows in coping with this forced role that does it for me. That old ‘some have greatness thrust upon them’ maxim…
Regardless, it’s pretty anti-feminist imo to take issue with a character who doesn’t always show political and revolutionary forms of strength but shows a strong family bond and a strong emotional strength.
She doesn’t ‘let’ everyone make decisions for her and it’s an insult to any of us who’ve ever been trapped in situations where others are in control to say so. Sometimes the strength isn’t in fighting an unwinnable battle, it’s in finding the strength within yourself to just survive.
I think it’s shitty to call Katniss passive or say she lacks agency. She’s not passive, she’s incredibly active, but she’s put in a position where she’s being used as a pawn, first by the capitol, then by the rebel group, and to a lesser degree Haymitch through the whole thing. Being used doesn’t make one passive. And she hates it. She tries to fight back against the capitol, against Coin, against Haymitch, even against Peeta, but she’s a 16-year-old girl. There’s only so much she can do.
Katniss is a character who is largely defined by her trauma. She hasn’t been allowed to rest or be a child since her father died. She lives in a place where the only thing she can do to survive is a capital crime. Every year she watches her peers get murdered by her government for something that happened 74 years previous. She knows that if she didn’t know how to hunt, she’d be prostituting herself to take care of her mother and sister. At 16. Is it any surprise that she isn’t breaking down doors to assert her personhood?
It isn’t feminist to take a female character and say she isn’t feminist because she’s not strong enough. She doesn’t have to be invincible to be feminist.
Exactly. I mean, her lack of agency is the entire point of the series; it’s never something that she just accepts. She’s very much aware that the people and systems around her are systematically stripping away every shred of control she has over her own life, and she’s deeply pissed off by the fact that she keeps getting forced and coerced and manipulated into positions and behaviors that she wants nothing to do with. At the beginning of the series, the only life goal she’s managed to formulate is “keep the one or two people I love unconditionally alive and relatively unharmed.” Her goals never really change — she’d like to survive herself, but mostly she really, really wants to make sure that the people she cares about have the freedom (and the food) to live their lives in a reasonably autonomous way. The list of people she cares about keeps getting longer, though, and that’s where her growth as a character happens: she tries harder and harder to have a positive effect on her world because it matters more and more to her that not just her agency but everyone else’s has been stolen by the people in power.
Possessing agency is not the same thing as being strong. Lacking agency is not the same thing as being passive. Lacking agency means that someone more powerful than you is taking it away from you, and Katniss’s entire story is about using whatever weapons she can find to take as much of it as possible back.
I MOST CERTAINLY DO. (haha, i actually do, seeing as i’ve been allergic to a basic food group and not known it for 30 years of my life, so i’ve actually discussed my poop in great detail even to people who are not my doctor for YEARS. lol
but srsly. this all started with me wondering about menstruation. and how it doesn’t make sense that periods were not talked about in *specifically* scifi/fantasy, because so much of that genre depends on terrifying beasts that seem like they *should* be able to sniff down a menstruating person and rip them to shreds. so why isn’t it discussed how people handle their periods in the face of aliens that like to leave their eggs in bloody chest cavities?
but on the general point of just peeing/pooping in general—in scifi/fantasy—I think that there IS the place to at least *mention* how body needs are dealt with in the dystopian or fantasy worlds—that’s the point of these genres, isn’t it? to talk about and imagine and explain how people negotiate needs after the apocolypse has hit? or when they’re on the run?
i mean, when you think about it, why do we need to hear every fucking time that harry stole another egg from a chicken coop or the hobbits ate more lembas (sp?) bread? there’s no reason for that detail, outside of it being a convention of the genre used to make the world and *hobbits* seem more real. like they exist.
so i see your point that no, i don’t really want to know what hobbit poop looks like (or maybe i do???)—i also think that there’s room to address pooping/peeing and if it makes a situation seem *unrealistic* because nobody is peeing—then that “wall” has been broken, and we’re no longer dealing with something that may possibly happen—we’re dealing with a sloppy writer who is too influenced by today’s social stigmas around body functions…
Yes! Bodily functions are actually pretty important parts of our lives; they’re things that can have a major effect on the way we navigate the world. How often every day do you think about having to pee? How much does that need affect your state of mind, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place or in a hurry or something? I mean, I may not want to talk to strangers at the bus stop about how stressed out I am that I have to pee and my bus is late, but it’s not like we’re usually confined to the parts of characters’ lives that they would want to tell total strangers about, either. If we’re told about a character’s emotions, why is it that the ones having to do with bodily functions being censored? Sometimes they’re not relevant to the plot, of course but sometimes they damn well are (as milkeemountainmamma says above).
tl;dr MORE POOPING IN NOVELS PLS
I mean, really.
I am so tired of the “high art” and “low art” mentality when it comes to reading. People are READING. That alone is a victory to me. I mean, I am a PhD student in English and I fucking LOVED the Hunger Games. Yes, I read the classics. Are they relevant? Maybe. Remember Shakespeare was written for the masses and was the equivalence of SOAP OPERAS. Are the classics enjoyable? For some, but not for me. If I can enjoy something and see the influences of the classics, that’s awesome. If it can stand on its own, then more fucking power to it as a piece of literature.
Reblogging for commentary. Honestly. Shakespeare was like 78% dick jokes. And Wilde would think you’re an idiot. The end.
Commentary for the win.
Shakespeare routinely made up his own words and was something for the commoners too. Or did you forget all the weirdly awkward fools interludes that involve codpieces and mammary puns?
Jane Austen was considered romance novels, back in the day.
Oscar Wilde wrote about gay sex. And more gay sex. And more gay sex. And everybody was like, “Oh my god this is such sleazy gay sex.”
I’m pretty sure, 50 years from now, people are going to be comparing The Hunger Games to 1984 and they’re going to put it in a comparative lit class with Roman Lit and mythology.
Harry Potter is already being study in college classes. I know people who have written theses on it.
You want to read something REALLY badly written? Something featuring Long winded, run on sentences about Hell, featuring an emo protagonist who can’t shut up about how evil he is?
…No, not Edward Cullen. Lucifer, from Paradise Lost.
Suck it, elitist bitches.
when did this
become hotter than this
You can get a free download of Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners, one of my favourite short story collections ever, featuring “The Faery Handbag.” If you don’t like short stories, I hate you and you’re tacky.
Why are you reading this instead of Kelly Link right now.
I found this review on The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990 (I have omitted the first paragraph, which bitches about the anthology’s temporal and geographical restrictions, which I don’t consider a valid complaint since those restrictions are explicitly set out in the title):
There is also something fishy going on in the word count. Avowedly feminist -and female- authors put far more words into this volume than the male authors. This, in spite of the fact that most of the SF written today and yesterday is and was written by men. The feminists’ (and I have always considered myself one) strongest and longest stories have been included while the shorter, less substantial stories of men are offered. This is suspiciously ideological.
I realize that LeGuin has a vast reputation, and it is certainly as deserved as anybody’s. Her fiction and her non-fiction both have an important place in my heart and on my bookshelf. But… the publishers and co-editors have let that reputation blind them to the ideological distortions of this book. And I am here to tell you that the emperor has no clothes.
Ooh, burn, am I right? That Ursula LeGuin, her reputation is totally deserved and all, but why does she keep getting anthologized instead of men?!?! OH THE TREACHEROUS FEMINIST IDEOLOGY. This was my first comment:
“Avowedly feminist -and female- authors put far more words into this volume than the male authors. This, in spite of the fact that most of the SF written today and yesterday is and was written by men.”
Yeah, not so much. Most of the SF *that’s canonized and anthologized* is written by men. Not most of the SF that exists. I fail to see how one anthology which attempts to correct that is a problem, given that 99% of other anthologies not explicitly labeled as “feminist” have an overwhelming male bias.
To which someone named “M. Millington” (apparently not the same person as the original reviewer(?), who is just labelled “A Customer”) responded thusly:
You obviously know very little about Science Fiction. The overwhelming majority of SF up until the ’90s was written by men. The overwhelming majority. The female authors who wrote during that period were excellent, and their stories deserve a place among the best in the field, but the blatant bias in this collection directly conflicts with reality.
And here is my pissed-the-fuck-off response, after which I hope I can get myself to shut up and leave it alone:
Well, you really put me in my place. Just don’t tell my Ph.D. committee that I don’t know anything about SF, because studying SF is kind of my job.
No one can say whether one gender *wrote* an “overwhelming majority” of SF, because women have traditionally had a much harder time getting their work published, especially in male-dominated genres like SF. Some women wrote under male pseudonyms to get around this problem (the most famous being Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr.). Some women were able to get published, but their work was marketed in “softer” genres like fantasy or romance, even if it could also have been considered SF. The work of women who managed to get published in the SF genre wasn’t as popular as the men’s work, for sexist reasons, and thus less of their work has survived, and even less of it is considered canonical enough to be anthologized.
I could also point out that the SF by women that’s survived and been canonized is on the whole better than the work by men that’s survived, simply because the standards for judging and preserving SF writing have been so much stricter for women than for men. So it makes sense that women’s SF writing would take up a larger proportion of an anthology than it does of the total (known) SF market.
And, once again: even if you were completely correct (which, in case I’ve been unclear, you are not), why would it be a major problem that women’s writing made up a disproportionate part of this ONE anthology when men’s writing — much of it overtly sexist — so thoroughly dominates almost all anthologies not explicitly labeled as “feminist” or “by women”?
Anyone feel like heading over to Amazon and marking the douchey reviews and comments unhelpful? Right now, 43 of 65 people have found the original review helpful, and that is massively fucked up.
I love these ecstatic female conversations about fictional people. They’re one of my top five life pleasures. Which is why I’m really trying so hard to make the ACTUAL best book, Villette, happen. I want to live in a world where I can say, ‘hey, Hairpin how cute is Dr. John?’ and you be like, ‘SO CUTE.’ And then you say, ‘Pink dress?’ and I say, ‘but only pale pink, and with a black lace collar… buuuut do you think whattsit is dead?’ and we both get really sad for a while, and then you say, ‘I hope she got to keep that nice china, also remember the time she did acid and went to that party and the Sphinx was there?’ (IT HAPPENED.) And the whole time, we’re actually secretly talking about our most dearly held hopes and trying to figure ourselves out and also just being like, hail, fellow lady, well met.
Books That Beat Their Iconic Sister-Books: Jane Eyre vs. Villette (via novazembla)
REBLOG TIMES ONE MILLION HUNDRED THOUSAND BILLION. YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY IMAGINE HOW EXCITED I AM RIGHT NOW. VILLETTE FOREVER.
[W]e all of us, grave or light, get our thoughts entangled in metaphors, and act fatally on the strength of them.
George Eliot, Middlemarch
[Image: a four panel xkcd comic. All people are stick drawings without facial features.
Panel 1: A line drawing of a horse-drawn coach, with Death driving (wearing a hood, carrying a scythe). The caption reads “BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH / HE KINDLY STOPPED FOR ME”
Panel 2: A woman with a bun is yanking death off of the coach. Death is like, “HEY!” The caption says, “THE CARRIAGE HELD BUT JUST OURSEL—”
Panel 3: The woman is driving away on the coach, saying, “HYAH!” Death sits forlornly on the ground, scythe-less.
Panel 4: The woman is standing next to Death’s scythe, with arms folded, looking smug (and how she can look smug without facial features, I don’t know, but she does). Above her there is a drawing of the Grand Theft Auto logo, which says under it, “EMILY DICKINSON EDITION”]
What I like about Bukowski, and what I think isn’t evident to a shallow reader, is how the Self, capital S, is a dominant layer that greases over his work. His work isn’t malevolent because he thinks he’s above anyone, it’s because of the self-loathing. His drunkeness, his interactions, and his sexual exploits are sad, dirty and grotesque because the only common denominator is himself.
To de-snark for a bit: I think the thing I can’t stand about Bukowski is the sense that the self-loathing comes from some pure or admirable place. That he seems to think he knows something that everyone else doesn’t, because he knows he’s worth hating. I don’t mind narcissism in a writer, but when you want to transmit your smugness while hiding behind self-deprecation? Not having it, thanks.
But seriously people, if you love Bukowski I’m happy! Loving poetry is great! Being pointlessly communally snarky is great sometimes too! You do it too I bet! Yayyyy, everyone doing things that are great for them!
This is basically the issue I had with him, too — the smugness. I remember him as one of those Male Writers who is obsessed with his own reeking masculinity. To be fair, it’s been many years since I’ve read any Bukowski. But that’s probably just because after reading a few hundred dudes wax poetic a few thousand times about their soiled undershirts and their whiskey vomit and their genital paroxysms, I began to find that shit pretty fucking tiresome.
The main characters of these books are all the same guy. He spends three hundred pages aggrandizing or belittling himself, but is ultimately the only fit judge of his self-worth and life. He is usually embattled, defending himself against the intrusion of silly, feminine interpretations of his behavior, lest he start making decisions based on the lives and feelings of others rather than his own childish needs. He blames everyone else for his problems, he is able to take women’s measurements on sight with eerie precision, but he’s not very good at sex. The decline of his libido is always a metaphor for death. ALWAYS. You get the picture.
GarlandGrey, Fond Memories of Vagina: Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow
This post: I love it like puppy dogs.
By the time we had gotten to Philip Roth’s The Counterlife, I had pretty much had it and went on a lengthy public rant about how dudes seriously need to get a new metaphor for their writerly prowess. Because, PENIS. WE GOT IT THE FIRST 50,000 TIMES. IT’S BEEN DONE. And then I held the entire class hostage while I read Gilbert and Gubar to them. Ok, that last part isn’t true, but shoulda woulda and all that.
Ah yes. The penis: mightier than the sword.
I’ve had a copy of Sister Carrie on my shelf for a couple of years. Apparently I ought to read it. (Also, three cheers for Gilbert and Gubar!)