All posts by TD

British influence

“But he didn’t mind the cold very much, suffering it willingly because he could sacrifice a good many comforts for the sake of what he called “fashun”, by which he understood the art of wearing trousers, breeches, coat, puttees, boots, etc.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin, 1935. Print.

Notes: play with the word “fashion”, regular occurence of the British influence on the Indian way of life

Woolf setting the atmosphere

“Times without number Clarissa had visited Evelyn Whitbread in a nursing home. Was Evelyn ill again? Evelyn was a good deal out of sorts, said Hugh, intimating by a kind of pout swell of his very well-covered, manly, extremely handsome, perfectly upholstered body (he was almost too well-dressed always, but presumably had to be, with his little job at Court) that his wife had some internal ailment, nothing serious, which, as an old friend, Clarissa Dalloway would quite understand without requiring him to specify. Ah yes, she did of course; what a nuisance; and felt very sisterly and oddly conscious at the same time of her hat. Not the right hat for the early morning, was that it?” (6)
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt, 1925. Print.

Notes: I found this passage interesting because it reflects perfectly the atmosphere/style set by Woolf along this particular work, with a subtle shift in narratives (giving the reader a direct insight in the character’s mind: “Ah yes, she did of course”), and with peculiar hints sparking the reader’s curiosity (long description of Hugh’s body: what for?)

Important evidences

I feel like, even if the interchapters are meant to be bits of stories from the war, and therefore wrote in quite an emotionless and destabilizing style for the reader, the writer still drops realistic evidences about how he felt about the scene.
For example, in the first interchapter, the author finishes with “That was when I was a kitchen corporal.” as if he just remembered this detail and decided to add it at the last minute.
In the second one, he finishes with “It rained all through the evacuation.”. It seems that for the speaker, the weather striking detail about this memory.
In the third one, the last sentence is “They all came just like that.”, it shows that the speaker expresses surprise about how easily people came and maybe implying that there is a fine line between life and death with the previous comment “We shot them.”.
My idea is that the style displayed for the interchapters in Hemingway’s In Our Time is actually very realistic in the sense that it gives the reader the feeling that he his witnessing every memories, exactly how they are remembered in the mind of the speaker.

Captivating hobby

‘”And that’s really all?”
“Really all. Except for one very trifling circumstance.”
“I love trifling circumstances,” said Lord Peter, with childish delight; “so many men have been hanged by trifling circumstances. What was it?”‘

Sayers, Dorothy. (2009). Whose Body? New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Notes: From the beginning, we understand that the main character is thrilled to have another mystery to investigate. Here, I found the expression “childish delight” relevant because it confirms the idea that this death to investigate is a veritable game for Lord Peter, and he is not at all disturbed by the dramatic atmosphere brought by the discovery of the body. The witty tone of this conversation also confirms this idea.

A vivid memory

“The bell rang and the classes began to file out of the rooms and along the corridors towards the refectory. He sat looking at the two prints of butter on his plate but could not eat the damp bread. The tablecloth was damp and limp. But he drank off the hot weak tea which the clumsy scullion, girt with a white apron, poured into his cup. He wondered whether the scullion’s apron was damp too or whether all white things were cold and damp. Nasty Roche and Saurin drank cocoa that their people sent them in tins. They said they could not drink the tea; that it was hogwash. Their fathers were magistrates, the fellows said”

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press In., 2000. Print.

Notes: I chose a passage which seemed to embody the style of Joyce in this particular work, a lot of attention is given to the details, details noticed by human senses (sight: white, hearing: bell rang, taste: weak, and most of all touch: hot/cold/damp). This gives an idea that the scene described is very vivid in the character’s mind, this type of writing also gives the reader the feeling that he is really following the character’s thought process.

A change of perspective

“One day James Herbert came to where his wife and daughter lived, and he was furious.
“Where’s that Melanctha girl of yours,” he said fiercely, “if she is to the Bishops’ stables again, with that man John, I swear I kill her. Why don’t you see to that girl better you, you’re her mother”” 51

“The next day he came to where his wife and daughter lived and was furious.
“Where’s that Malanchta, of yours?” he said to his wife, when he saw her. “If she is to the Bishops’ stables now with that yellow John, I swear I kill her. A nice way she is going for a decent daughter. Why don’t you see to that girl better you, ain’t you her mother?”” 53

I decided to use these very similar extracts because I thought it was interesting that given what the reader knows, an identical excerpt can hold a different meaning. In the first one, the author doesn’t elaborate on the event. We sense a conversation full of tension (“furious”, “fiercely”) but the actual subject isn’t unveiled. In the second extract, the same exchange is told, but by now the reader knows about the fight between John and James. Therefore, Stein adds details to the story (e.g. “A nice way she is going for a decent daughter.”). Both passages have the same style though, imitating the dialect of this “James Herbet” who is granted by a lot of description throughout the beginning of the story.

Meaning of classic in literature

“The modern work is condemned to become dated unless, by achieving the status of a classic, it manages to free itself from the fluctuations of taste and critical opinion. (“We pass our time arguing over tastes and colors,” Valéry observed. “It is the same at the stock exchange, on countless juries, in the Academies, and it cannot be otherwise”). Literarily speaking, a classic, is a work that rises above competition and so escapes the bidding of time. Only in this way can a modern work be rescued from aging, by being declared timeless and immortal. The classic incarnates literary legitimacy itself which is to say what is recognized as Literature; what, in serving as a unite of measure supplies the basis for determining of that which is considered to be literary.”

Notes: Casanova’s take on how modernity can achieve continuity.

Casanova, P. (2004). The world republic of letters. (p. 92). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.