A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I'm Reading

I've never read Edith Wharton. Not even that bane of high school English students, Ethan Frome. I saw and admired Martin Scorsese's version of The Age of Innocence, but that's about the extent of my Whartonizing. So I took down the old volume of The House of Mirth that's been yellowing on my shelves lo these many years. (Don't know where or when I got it. Maybe in graduate school, when I figured I needed to read something by her.)

Lately, I've been "doing" American lit. Twain, as you know, if you've been following these posts. And before that Henry James's The American -- one of those early James novels that true Jamesians regard almost as juvenilia. (I've never been much of a Jamesian. I foundered in my attempt to get through The Wings of the Dove.)

One reason for my current immersion in Am Lit is my lately heightened awareness of the ongoing oddness of America's relationship with the rest of the world, as well as the current squealing on the right about the loss of "the America I knew," as some of the participants in the town halls have put it. No profound insights into that as yet.

1 comment:

deelby said...

I've found James' short pieces -- Washington Square, Spoils of Poynton, and so on -- much more accessible, not to say readable. And speaking of odd couples: Henry and Edith. Well, buddies, anyway, if not exactly a couple.