Jordan's hay bales

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Emma Pease

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Jul 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/10/97
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>On 8 Jul 1997 15:56:29 -0700, lar...@teleport.com (Larry Caldwell)
>wrote:

>>Two Rivers is supposed to have fierce blizzards, but in over a year and
>>a half of action it hasn't even rained once.

So what would you call the storm in the Two Rivers in The Shadow
Rising? I think Mat and Rand also ran out into a storm at Four Kings
in the first book.

Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.

Emma

followups set to r.a.sf.w.robert-jordan where this discussion properly
belongs.
--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ em...@csli.stanford.edu Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Magnus Itland

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Jul 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/13/97
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em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:

>Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
>you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.

If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?
Shakespeare, Ibsen and the rest of that gang who had no idea
that a modern society would ever come to exist?

--
itl...@sn.no Yes! The one and only Magnus Itland.
Fitting together is for jigsaw puzzles.


Don HARLOW

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Jul 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/13/97
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On 10 Jul 1997 13:57:54 -0700, em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease)
wrote:

>
>>On 8 Jul 1997 15:56:29 -0700, lar...@teleport.com (Larry Caldwell)
>>wrote:
>
>>>Two Rivers is supposed to have fierce blizzards, but in over a year and
>>>a half of action it hasn't even rained once.
>
>So what would you call the storm in the Two Rivers in The Shadow
>Rising? I think Mat and Rand also ran out into a storm at Four Kings
>in the first book.
>

Thanks for pointing these out. I had completely forgotten them, when I
mentioned (in a posting in this same thread) the rainstorm on Almoth
Plain in _The Great Hunt_ as proof that Jordan has nothing against
rain.

>Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
>you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.
>

We have as much right to say that Jordan is or isn't "great
literature" as anyone else. But the final decision (well, at least
temporarily final) will be made by another generation.

Don HARLOW
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/
(English version available at http://www.webcom.com/~donh/dona.html)

Emma Pease

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Jul 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/14/97
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In <5qa6p6$h...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:

>em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:

>>Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
>>you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.

>If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?


>Shakespeare, Ibsen and the rest of that gang who had no idea
>that a modern society would ever come to exist?

I doubt Jordan knows what our future society will be like either.

I should have said "in my opinion"; however, I define 'great
literature' as something considered worth reading by later
generations. Jordan is pleasant reading, and, we certainly have fun
trying to figure out where he is taking us, but, I don't think he will
be widely read in a 100 years time. I even predict that a sizable
percentage of this group will consider the ending that Jordan puts on
this series a travesty.

Emma
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
(.5pt)

This season's Daffodil
She never hears
What change, what chance, what chill,
Cut down last year's;
But with bold countenance,
And knowledge small,
Esteems her seven days' continuance
To be perpetual.
(1pt)

Matthew Belcher

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Jul 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/14/97
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Emma Pease <em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> wrote in article
<emma.86...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU>...


> In <5qa6p6$h...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:
>
> >em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:
>
> >>Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
> >>you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.
>
> >If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?
> >Shakespeare, Ibsen and the rest of that gang who had no idea
> >that a modern society would ever come to exist?
>
> I doubt Jordan knows what our future society will be like either.
>
> I should have said "in my opinion"; however, I define 'great
> literature' as something considered worth reading by later
> generations. Jordan is pleasant reading, and, we certainly have fun
> trying to figure out where he is taking us, but, I don't think he will
> be widely read in a 100 years time. I even predict that a sizable
> percentage of this group will consider the ending that Jordan puts on
> this series a travesty.
>

In addition to this definition, Literature must contain truths about the
human condition. It has to say something about humanity and the world. I'm
not sure Jordan does this, and if he does, definately not well. What could
be the message? That sometiimes it pays to be a wool-headed sheepherder?

--
Matt
http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Lights/8502/

Richard M. Boye'

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Jul 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/14/97
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Emma Pease wrote:

> "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
> Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
> Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
> Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
> The lone and level sands stretch far away.
> (.5pt)

Why even give any fraction of a point for this. The title is in the
poem.

--
Richard M. Boye'
* wa...@webspan.net
* http://www.webspan.net/~waldo
"I like having low self-esteem. It makes me feel special."

Emma Pease

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Jul 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/14/97
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In <33CA96...@webspan.net> "Richard M. Boye'" <wa...@webspan.net> writes:

>Emma Pease wrote:

>> "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
>> Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
>> Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
>> Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
>> The lone and level sands stretch far away.
>> (.5pt)

>Why even give any fraction of a point for this. The title is in the
>poem.

The author isn't. However I hope all readers of this newsgroup who
went through an English speaking school system can recognize the poem
and the poet.

Emma

Flavio J. Carrillo

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
to

In <emma.86...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma

Pease) writes:
>
>In <33CA96...@webspan.net> "Richard M. Boye'" <wa...@webspan.net>
writes:
>
>>Emma Pease wrote:
>
>>> "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
>>> Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
>>> Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
>>> Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
>>> The lone and level sands stretch far away.
>>> (.5pt)
>
>>Why even give any fraction of a point for this. The title is in the
>>poem.
>
>The author isn't. However I hope all readers of this newsgroup who
>went through an English speaking school system can recognize the poem
>and the poet.

Percy Shelley. One of my favorite poems.

Flavio Carrillo

"Treason doth never prosper; what's the reason?
If it prospers, none dare call it treason."


Jonathan Vaught

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
to

My newsreader informs me that, in article <5qenp1$a23@dfw-

ixnews10.ix.netcom.com>, Flavio J. Carrillo said:
> In <emma.86...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma
> Pease) writes:
> >
> >In <33CA96...@webspan.net> "Richard M. Boye'" <wa...@webspan.net>
> writes:
> >
> >>Emma Pease wrote:
> >
> >>> "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
> >>> Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
> >>> Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
> >>> Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
> >>> The lone and level sands stretch far away.
> >>> (.5pt)
> >
> >>Why even give any fraction of a point for this. The title is in the
> >>poem.
> >
> >The author isn't. However I hope all readers of this newsgroup who
> >went through an English speaking school system can recognize the poem
> >and the poet.
>
> Percy Shelley. One of my favorite poems.
>

I love that poem too.. but I thought it was Keats, or Byron. Drat. I
get them all mixed up.

-Jonathan.

To reply, remove... well, you know the drill.

Magnus Itland

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
to

em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:
>In <5qa6p6$h...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:

>>If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?
>>Shakespeare, Ibsen and the rest of that gang who had no idea
>>that a modern society would ever come to exist?

>I doubt Jordan knows what our future society will be like either.

>I should have said "in my opinion"; however, I define 'great
>literature' as something considered worth reading by later
>generations. Jordan is pleasant reading, and, we certainly have fun
>trying to figure out where he is taking us, but, I don't think he will
>be widely read in a 100 years time. I even predict that a sizable
>percentage of this group will consider the ending that Jordan puts on
>this series a travesty.

What are your predictions for J.R.R. Tolkien?

My point being that people seem to think "fantasy ain't REAL
literature". Time will show, and is already starting to show,
I think.

A S

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
to


Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote in article <5qgq6q$a...@news1.sol.no>...


> em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:
> >In <5qa6p6$h...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:
>
> >>If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?

> >I doubt Jordan knows what our future society will be like either.

>
> >I should have said "in my opinion"; however, I define 'great
> >literature' as something considered worth reading by later
> >generations.

> What are your predictions for J.R.R. Tolkien?


>
> My point being that people seem to think "fantasy ain't REAL
> literature". Time will show, and is already starting to show,
> I think.
>

Fantasy is definitely becoming more and more "mainstream". I still haven't
figured out if this is a good thing or not.
However, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Look at H.P. Lovecraft.
He is actually becoming a household name. What about all those original
Conan Books?
C.S. Lewis, even Aleister Crowley (though I hesitate to classify him as a
"fantasy" author).
--
Adam Swanner
Not speaking for Intergraph corp. or Intergraph Express Inc.
"Credo, quia impossibile est"-- Tertullian

Steph

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
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In message <5qgq6p$a...@news1.sol.no>
itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:

> That sometimes a man has to do what he has to do?
> That with great power comes great ... uh, obligations?
> That power corrupt, and absolute power even more so?
> That gifted youngsters have to protect a world that hates
> and fears them?

> Actually, if the message could be summed up easily, it would
> been sort of wasteful to squeeze out ten big fat books to make
> the point.

> But the WoT certainly is about the human condition, and
> especially the condition of the extraordinarily gifted.
> Which explains the following it has got, as seen on this group.

I've got to agree with what this man says. I don't know what can be
classed as great literature but if Jane Austin (who's writting seems
to be mainly about people becoming romantically involed) can be
classed as great literature then I don't see why tWoT series can't.
The nature of loyalty, obligation, evil and many other things are
disscussed through both metaphoically and straight forwardly more
than in many other books that are universally regarded as great literature.
I don't believe that Si-fi should be dismissed out of hand just
because it is not set in the real world. RJ atempts to say something
about the human condition just as many writters have in the past.
Personally I think that most pieces of writting are seen as
something more than they are. For example Chaucer is see as
literature despite the fact that all he talks about is people
apperances. Writter seem to include messages uncontiously because of
who they are and what they believe rather than because they set out
to write something deep and meaningful.
Steph

Magnus Itland

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
to

"Matthew Belcher" <ma...@sunweb.com> wrote:
>Emma Pease <em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> wrote in article
><emma.86...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU>...
>> In <5qa6p6$h...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:
>>
>> >em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:
>>
>> >>Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
>> >>you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.
>>
>> >If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?
>> >Shakespeare, Ibsen and the rest of that gang who had no idea
>> >that a modern society would ever come to exist?
>>
>> I doubt Jordan knows what our future society will be like either.
>>
>> I should have said "in my opinion"; however, I define 'great
>> literature' as something considered worth reading by later
>> generations. Jordan is pleasant reading, and, we certainly have fun
>> trying to figure out where he is taking us, but, I don't think he will
>> be widely read in a 100 years time. I even predict that a sizable
>> percentage of this group will consider the ending that Jordan puts on
>> this series a travesty.
>>
>In addition to this definition, Literature must contain truths about the
>human condition. It has to say something about humanity and the world. I'm
>not sure Jordan does this, and if he does, definately not well. What could
>be the message? That sometiimes it pays to be a wool-headed sheepherder?

That sometimes a man has to do what he has to do?

That with great power comes great ... uh, obligations?
That power corrupt, and absolute power even more so?
That gifted youngsters have to protect a world that hates
and fears them?

Actually, if the message could be summed up easily, it would
been sort of wasteful to squeeze out ten big fat books to make
the point.

But the WoT certainly is about the human condition, and
especially the condition of the extraordinarily gifted.

Which explains the following it has got, as seen on this froup.

Emma Pease

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Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97
to

In <5qgq6q$a...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:

>What are your predictions for J.R.R. Tolkien?

I think Tolkien may make it as great literature.

>My point being that people seem to think "fantasy ain't REAL
>literature". Time will show, and is already starting to show,
>I think.

I have nothing against fantasy, and, fantasy certainly may be great
literature. But only a handful of authors across all genres per
decade (and this is in a good decade) will ever be classified as
writers of great literature. Jordan is not one of the top five in
this decade. I for one would certainly rank some of the writings of
Kay, McKillip, Brust, and Bujold above any book so far in the WoT and
this is just in SF (and I don't lay odds on any of them surviving
either).

I wonder if much of what we read will suffer the fate of Don Quixote's
romances. Of the books the good Don liked to read (most of them
epics) none are widely read nowadays and only a couple could perhaps
be found in a reasonably good library.

Emma
She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
(while looking for another poem, I came across this and felt it
might fit Lanfear, or possibly not)

Martin DeMello

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Jul 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/16/97
to

On Tue, 15 Jul 1997 21:31:27 GMT, itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) wrote:

>
>That sometimes a man has to do what he has to do?
>That with great power comes great ... uh, obligations?

Actually, much as I love the series, I've always felt that Jordan
never actually managed to convey this. Sure, he *referred* to it a
lot, but the feeling of 'cost' never came through.

Martin DeMello

- Remove the sep_field from my email address to reply -

Jon Travaglia

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Jul 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/16/97
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On 14 Jul 1997 18:28:37 -0700, em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease),
claimed the aliens told her :

> However I hope all readers of this newsgroup who
>went through an English speaking school system can recognize the poem
>and the poet.

Pffft, no one learns poems in school any more, all we learn is how to
express ourselves properly.

Yurk, I'd prefer the poetry.

Jon Travaglia

"Oblivious to the season or the weather or the signs that said 'Keep Out',
Dick limped across the uplands and the downs, scattering flocks of
sheep before him and putting the fear of God into the corn circle makers."

Seth

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Jul 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/16/97
to

Emma Pease wrote:
> I have nothing against fantasy, and, fantasy certainly may be great
> literature. But only a handful of authors across all genres per
> decade (and this is in a good decade) will ever be classified as
> writers of great literature. Jordan is not one of the top five in
> this decade. I for one would certainly rank some of the writings of
> Kay, McKillip, Brust, and Bujold above any book so far in the WoT and
> this is just in SF (and I don't lay odds on any of them surviving
> either).

First of all, you can't measure the Wheel of Time book by book. The
beauty of this epic lies in the size, scope and intricacy of plot,
character and world. Is this perhaps the largest story ever recorded?
I for one might agree with you in that as singular works of "literary"
fiction, Kay, Brust and Mckillip are of a higher stock; but I think many
will agree that reading the Wheel of Time is an immersive experience
comparable only to Tolkien in length and depth. and hey, we have our
own newsgroup, unlike any of the afforementioned authors. The man is
doing something right.
I guess this issue may only be resolved when Jordan delivers the
concluding volume to his hordes of avid(rabid?) fans. Until then.....I
for one, will keep devoting too much time to this particular escape.

Seth

Michael Kozlowski

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Jul 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/16/97
to

In article <33cb12dc...@NEWS.WAVE.CO.NZ>,
Jon Travaglia <tra...@wave.thisremove.co.nz> wrote:

>Pffft, no one learns poems in school any more, all we learn is how to
>express ourselves properly.

And apparently, they can't even teach that much.

-Mike "Exhibit A: Usenet" K.

--
Michael Kozlowski
m...@cs.wisc.edu
http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~mlk

Matthew Belcher

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Jul 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/16/97
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Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote in article <5qgq6p$a...@news1.sol.no>...


> "Matthew Belcher" <ma...@sunweb.com> wrote:
> >Emma Pease <em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> wrote in article
> ><emma.86...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU>...
> >> In <5qa6p6$h...@news1.sol.no> itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) writes:
> >>
> >> >em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:
> >>
> >> >>Jordan isn't great literature, but, some of the supporting evidence
> >> >>you've given for your criticisms seems wrong.
> >>
> >> >If Jordan isn't great literature, what is great literature?
> >> >Shakespeare, Ibsen and the rest of that gang who had no idea
> >> >that a modern society would ever come to exist?
> >>
> >> I doubt Jordan knows what our future society will be like either.
> >>
> >> I should have said "in my opinion"; however, I define 'great
> >> literature' as something considered worth reading by later
> >> generations. Jordan is pleasant reading, and, we certainly have fun
> >> trying to figure out where he is taking us, but, I don't think he will
> >> be widely read in a 100 years time. I even predict that a sizable
> >> percentage of this group will consider the ending that Jordan puts on
> >> this series a travesty.
> >>
> >In addition to this definition, Literature must contain truths about the
> >human condition. It has to say something about humanity and the world.
I'm
> >not sure Jordan does this, and if he does, definately not well. What
could
> >be the message? That sometiimes it pays to be a wool-headed sheepherder?

>

> That sometimes a man has to do what he has to do?
> That with great power comes great ... uh, obligations?

> That power corrupt, and absolute power even more so?
> That gifted youngsters have to protect a world that hates
> and fears them?
>

<snip conclusion>

Good point. Those themes permeate modern literature to such a great extent,
that I completely missed them in the WoT.

--
Matt
http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Lights/8502/

Magnus Itland

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Jul 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/17/97
to

em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:

>I have nothing against fantasy, and, fantasy certainly may be great
>literature. But only a handful of authors across all genres per
>decade (and this is in a good decade) will ever be classified as
>writers of great literature. Jordan is not one of the top five in
>this decade. I for one would certainly rank some of the writings of
>Kay, McKillip, Brust, and Bujold above any book so far in the WoT and
>this is just in SF (and I don't lay odds on any of them surviving
>either).

Me neither. Whether Jordan will, depends heavily on the ending of
the series (if any). I have this bleak vision sometimes that the
man will try to make the most of it and before he manages to put
the cap on, his old heart gives out. At the present unfinished
state, he is not destined for glory. But I do think we could see
an ending on a par with the Lord of the Rings, a stunning and maybe
surprising conclusion that casts an eerie glow over the whole
series...
Well, I guess I have to keep dreaming for quite a while.

BTW, how about the original Covenant Chronicles by Donaldson?
They did hardly have a conclusion at all, but people keep thinking
that there must be some deep meaning in them. I got that feeling
too when I read the trilogy.
They're not of this decade, though. Just a stray thought.

>I wonder if much of what we read will suffer the fate of Don Quixote's
>romances. Of the books the good Don liked to read (most of them
>epics) none are widely read nowadays and only a couple could perhaps
>be found in a reasonably good library.

I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have
not been revised since. People don't read it by their own free will,
they are assigned the old books during their more or less obligatory
education. Then, those who have read the most books go on to occupy
positions of power in the metaverse of education. And like some kind
of virus, the books force them to assign new generation to the slave
labor of pointless studying.

If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
masters.

I say Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" is great literature, Jostein
Gaarders "Sophie's World" is great literature. People read it of
their own free will and they feel a little bit different after.
Getting some academic degree by reading books just isn't the same.
And paying for books doesn't count if it just shores up our
current stereotypes without challenging our ethical mind.

Emma Pease

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Jul 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/17/97
to

In <Q0Pzz0O5...@teleport.com> lar...@teleport.com (Larry Caldwell) writes:

>In article <slrn5s8a3...@voyager.cris.com>,
>J...@voyager.cris.com (John S. Novak) wrote:

>> Hence, travelling merchants. Who do, in fact, bring material goods in
>> exchange for tabac.

>I suppose the miners could be growing their own food.

Or merchants probably bring food to the miners.

The Two Rivers region is off the beaten track and all evidence points
to the mines not being directly adjacent to that region and there is a
good size river between. Why go all the way to the Two Rivers region
when you can find plenty of farms [and farms are mentioned] and food
around Baerlon (not to mention better entertainment) without having to
travel all the way to Two Rivers (some 4 days journey to the south of
Baerlon, the mines seem to be to the west and north-west of Baerlon).
Nor is the Two Rivers described as a place with a major food surplus.
They seem to grow enough food for their own needs and grow tobacco and
sheep (for the wool) for the export trade (both normally more
profitable than growing food for the export trade).

>No, it hasn't rained, but there's not much sign of a drought. I suppose
>it's too much to expect that an urban readership would have any concept
>of what a drought is like.

You keep insisting it hasn't rained since the beginning of the books.
This is despite Rand and Mat having to take shelter from the rain
several times between Whitebridge and Caemlyn in the first book. This
is despite other times it has rained such as on Tolman Head. Rain was
first noted as being scarce during the course of The Fires of Heaven
(it rained in the Two Rivers during the previous book while Perrin was
rescuing some people from the Whitecloaks and there was no mention of
a drought then) and through the next two books (a total of about
150-180 days or about 5-6 months).

>Two months of drought and it would be the only topic of conversation in
>Randland. Three months of drought and mobs would be storming anybody with
>super powers demanding that they fix the problem. Six months of drought
>and livestock would be dying from lack of forage, city water supplies would
>be failing, and entire populations would be on the move trying to find
>somewhere to survive, and mostly failing.

Hmm, sounds about right. Fires of Heaven is when the two months mark
was reached and people did start discussing the drought. Lord of
Chaos, three months of drought and Elayne considers it important
enough that she postpones claiming the throne of Andor in order to
find a solution. Five months of drought, we have populations on the
move, people are desperate.

As far as rivers, the sources of most are a fair distance from the
lands the books are set in; it is possible that those mountains are
not suffering from a drought (hence the rivers would still have a fair
bit of water). Handwaving I admit but not impossible handwaving.

There are many problems with the books, but, you obscure your case
when you insist on holding to facts (such as it hasn't rained at all
during the books) that are outright wrong. People have a tendency to
pounce on errors and discount possibly valid arguments because of
those errors.

Emma

>I don't have so much trouble with Aiel as good fighters as I do with
>Aiel not eating. There are tens of thousands of the suckers, quartered
>on a population undergoing an epic famine. The starvation victims
>should be piled up like cordwood, and Rand agonizes over a few dead
>maidens? Give me a break. He should be more concerned with 10,000
>dead infants each month.

This is a valid complaint and one discussed in r.a.sf.r-j. We don't
have an answer save that perhaps the food imported from Tear is
sufficient (Tear using irrigation is not as dependent on local rain
and less likely to suffer from drought until the river runs dry; it
also has a grain surplus from the previous year). It is noted in the
books that this will not suffice if the drought continues much longer.

>Where is the
>farmer who joins the army because his livestock and children starved
>to death, his wife was killed by raiders looking for a meal, who follows
>Rand because it's the only thing left in life that has meaning?

Well we had Pevin though admittedly it was civil war (and the famine
caused by that) that killed his family and cast him adrift and he is
now dead himself.

Hairball

unread,
Jul 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/18/97
to

On Wed, 16 Jul 1997 06:22:00 GMT, tra...@wave.thisremove.co.nz (Jon
Travaglia) wrote:

>On 14 Jul 1997 18:28:37 -0700, em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease),
>claimed the aliens told her :
>
>> However I hope all readers of this newsgroup who
>>went through an English speaking school system can recognize the poem
>>and the poet.
>

>Pffft, no one learns poems in school any more, all we learn is how to
>express ourselves properly.
>

> Yurk, I'd prefer the poetry.

I would say that most people don't even learn how to express
themselves properly anymore. How can someone get a 4.0 GPA and still
not know the difference between "to", "two" and "too"? How can
someone get into their senior year in high school and not know what a
verb is?

I will be the first to admit that my English is far from perfect, but
at least I *try* to do things right. :)


Michael Kozlowski

unread,
Jul 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/18/97
to

In article <5qm4vu$k...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:

>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have
>not been revised since.

Nope. "Classics" go in and out of favor all the time. It wasn't too long
ago, for instance, that James Fenimore Cooper was routinely taught in
every school. These days, the only way you'll read him is if you watch
the excellent movie version of _The Last of the Mohicans_ and make
the mistake of thinking the book might have even a smidgen of merit.

>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
>masters.

Nope again. Sure, a lot of people don't like reading the classics in
their high school English classes -- but then, a lot of those people
wouldn't like reading _anything_. And besides, a lot of people do like
to read The Great Works of Literature. Granted that not everyone likes
every work, but there's still a decent chunk o' poeple out there who will
like any particular work. (To my amazement, I could even find defenders
of _The Scarlet Letter_. Heaven help us.)

TV

unread,
Jul 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/18/97
to

On 18 Jul 1997 14:06:01 GMT, m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu (Michael
Kozlowski) probably wrote this:

>Nope. "Classics" go in and out of favor all the time. It wasn't too long
>ago, for instance, that James Fenimore Cooper was routinely taught in
>every school. These days, the only way you'll read him is if you watch
>the excellent movie version of _The Last of the Mohicans_ and make
>the mistake of thinking the book might have even a smidgen of merit.

I seem to remember that I liked it when I read it, but I was around
12-13 or maybe somewhat younger then.

>Nope again. Sure, a lot of people don't like reading the classics in
>their high school English classes -- but then, a lot of those people
>wouldn't like reading _anything_.

I have found that there are wery few people who actually read books. I
have friends who routinely take forever (over 6 months) to finish a
book. How fast I read depends on whether I like the book or not. If I
really like it then I will do almost nothing else but read and finish
it in a few days at most depending on what else I am doing at the
time.
- TV
Remove antispam to reply via e-mail

TV

unread,
Jul 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/18/97
to

On Thu, 17 Jul 1997 22:05:35 GMT, itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland)
probably wrote this:

>But I don't think the sheer size is a bonus.

For me size counts :)
When I really like characters I always hate it when a long story ends,
it makes me feel empty inside. When a story is good increased length
makes it better, as long as the quality is maintained. If anyone
informs of any series of comparable length with WoT AND with the same
quality then I will promptly hustle my carcass to the nearest bookshop
and beg on my knees that they get it NOW.

>There are long
>series of pocket books that clearly exceed the WoT (yet). Such
>series are popular at least here in Norway, and a fast writer
>can earn a comfortable living. (European readers may know one
>of our favorites, Margit Sandemo, who managed to churn out 47
>books in one magic/romance series alone. Plus other series.)
>I don't think those will ever become considered for "great
>literature", though "big literature" is another matter ...

I read two of these "books" a couple of years ago and found them to be
barely readable. The two I read might have been atypical, but I think
you can safely classify them occultism/soft porn. If there had been
any kind of justice in the world then all copies of "Sagaen om
isfolket" would have spontaneously combusted and her horde of faithful
readers would discover real (or what I consider real at any rate)
literature.

>The end of the series will decide its
>future.

Yep, but I just find it very hard to imagine what it will be like when
it finally ends. Lets make an estimate of when the final book will be
out : book 8 out spring '98 + probably two more books @ 1.5 years
apiece = spring - summer 2001 if we are lucky

!Peeve == The house to myself for a few days and plenty of beer in the
fridge, ahhh.

Chad R Orzel

unread,
Jul 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/18/97
to

In article <5qm4vu$k...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:
>em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:

{Musings on the nature of Great Litrachure deleted}
{Musings about the end of the WoT books deleted}


>BTW, how about the original Covenant Chronicles by Donaldson?
>They did hardly have a conclusion at all, but people keep thinking
>that there must be some deep meaning in them. I got that feeling
>too when I read the trilogy.

Huh?
I actually thought the first trilogy ended quite well, and was a bit
surprised to see a second trilogy at all.

Sure, he doesn't kill Lord Foul, but I thought it was made clear that
this was a very deliberate choice- he had legitimate reasons for handling
the situation as he did. And I rather liked the little chat with the
creator that serves as a coda to the bits in the Land.

It's been a long time since I read the books, granted, but given the time
when I read them (I was in junior high), I would've thought I'd remember
if they ended weakly...

>>I wonder if much of what we read will suffer the fate of Don Quixote's
>>romances. Of the books the good Don liked to read (most of them
>>epics) none are widely read nowadays and only a couple could perhaps
>>be found in a reasonably good library.
>

>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have

>not been revised since. People don't read it by their own free will,
>they are assigned the old books during their more or less obligatory
>education. Then, those who have read the most books go on to occupy
>positions of power in the metaverse of education. And like some kind
>of virus, the books force them to assign new generation to the slave
>labor of pointless studying.

The flaw in this argument is the assumption that new literature is
completely independent of what has gone before. Tedious though
Shakespeare or Milton may seem to modern readers, they can't be ignored
simply because so many more recent authors draw on those old giants.
Hell, just scanning the _titles_ of SF books will turn up dozens of
references to Shakespeare, and a handful of Milton. And despite the
explicit references to it in the text, much of the worth of the
_Hyperion_ books would be lost without some knowledge of Chaucer's
_Canterbury Tales_...

Likewise Homer, Vergil, Dante, various Romantic poets, Melville (OK, it
isn't _all_ bad...), the Bible...

The books in question are not considered "Great" solely because of their
content- they further justify their ranking through the profound
influence they have had on our present culture.

>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
>masters.

And <poof> goes much of the depth and richness of current literature,
and, indeed, of our (already shallow and impoverished) culture as a
whole...

Later,
OilCan

Chad R Orzel

unread,
Jul 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/19/97
to

Michael Kozlowski <m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>In article <5qm4vu$k...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:
>
>>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
>>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have
>>not been revised since.
>
>Nope. "Classics" go in and out of favor all the time. It wasn't too long
>ago, for instance, that James Fenimore Cooper was routinely taught in
>every school. These days, the only way you'll read him is if you watch
>the excellent movie version of _The Last of the Mohicans_ and make
>the mistake of thinking the book might have even a smidgen of merit.

Cooper was taught more because of a dearth of American authors worth a
damn than any innate value he might have had. Well, that, and the fact
that the books tie in reasonably well with a certain type of American
history class...

!Peeve: Twain's essay on Cooper.

>>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
>>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
>>masters.
>

>Nope again. Sure, a lot of people don't like reading the classics in
>their high school English classes -- but then, a lot of those people
>wouldn't like reading _anything_.

OBHousemateStory: The huge pile of read hardbacks in my room finally
overflowed the allotted storage space, so I shelved them in with the
other hardcovers in the living room. One of my housemates noticed me
taking things off the shelves (I'm anal enough to shelve books
alphabetically...) to make room for the new items, and remarked: "So,
you're finally getting rid of some of those old books, huh?"

Peeve: The reshelving ate up the last of the free shelf space, which
means that in about six months, I'm going to have to buy more shelves...

And besides, a lot of people do like
>to read The Great Works of Literature. Granted that not everyone likes
>every work, but there's still a decent chunk o' poeple out there who will
>like any particular work. (To my amazement, I could even find defenders
>of _The Scarlet Letter_. Heaven help us.)

Oh, it serves a certain purpose, keeping eleventh grade English students
in their place...

Now, if you find anybody who likes the Demi Moore movie version, shoot
them. It'll be more merciful.

Later,
OilCan

Emma Pease

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Jul 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/19/97
to

In <5qnun3$f...@excalibur.gooroos.com> gra...@gooroos.com (Graydon) writes:

I wrote
>>traders are more likely to be doing this and from Baerlon not the Two
>>Rivers.

>What usually happened, historically, is that there was no development
>past what the immediate region could support, and if the region was
>desolate, efforts were made to install a farming community to support the
>specialists. If this wasn't done, if the miners are up in the mountains
>somewhere and this _can't_ be done, you just didn't get a mine.

I think I'm in agreement with you on this point. The farming and
mining region around Baerlon must be closely connected. However
carters (whether the actual farmers or specialists) are still needed
to transport the food from the farms to the mines (I very much doubt
the miners are walking out of their mines and into a farm yard).

>Sure, but the problem with saying 'miners' is that what that meant in
>medieval period is mine-process-refine, and that took an astonishing
>quantity of charcoal and water all by itself.

Well mountains usually have water (and the east side of these
mountains doesn't seem to be dry [during normal times]). Whether
there are enough trees for charcoal is another matter and perhaps
depends on how long and how extensive mining has been going on in this
area.

>Guy named Agricola wrote a book on all this stuff that Herbert Hoover
>translated; it's highly recommended as a source for anyone who wants to
>talk about mining or metal refining or metalurgical subjects in
>medievaloid fiction.

It is already on my to read list. BTW Lou Henry Hoover is a
co-translator.

Emma

ps. I assume you read Spirit Ring by Bujold; she cites De re
metallica?

followups set to rasfwr-j

Magnus Itland

unread,
Jul 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/20/97
to

tro...@online.no.antispam (TV) wrote:

>On Thu, 17 Jul 1997 22:05:35 GMT, itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland)
>probably wrote this:

>>But I don't think the sheer size is a bonus.

>For me size counts :)
>When I really like characters I always hate it when a long story ends,
>it makes me feel empty inside. When a story is good increased length
>makes it better, as long as the quality is maintained. If anyone
>informs of any series of comparable length with WoT AND with the same
>quality then I will promptly hustle my carcass to the nearest bookshop
>and beg on my knees that they get it NOW.

The quality thing sort of spoilt this one. In my humble opinion,
the WoT series is fairly high quality. Long series seldom are.

>>(European readers may know one
>>of our favorites, Margit Sandemo, who managed to churn out 47
>>books in one magic/romance series alone. Plus other series.)
>>I don't think those will ever become considered for "great
>>literature", though "big literature" is another matter ...

>I read two of these "books" a couple of years ago and found them to be
>barely readable. The two I read might have been atypical, but I think
>you can safely classify them occultism/soft porn.

That's what I said: magic/romance...
Erotic literature is pornography written for women.

>If there had been
>any kind of justice in the world then all copies of "Sagaen om
>isfolket" would have spontaneously combusted and her horde of faithful
>readers would discover real (or what I consider real at any rate)
>literature.

She is regarded as an arch-enemy by the church too. Incidentally.
Though her magic system is very crude and little if any of it will
work at the kitchen table. Now her next large series, "Heksemesteren"
(the witch master) is quite another matter with regard to research.
It actually has pieces of north European magick in it. I regard the
start of that series as the height of her writing career.

Magnus Itland

unread,
Jul 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/20/97
to

oil...@wam.umd.edu (Chad R Orzel) wrote:
>In article <5qm4vu$k...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:

>>BTW, how about the original Covenant Chronicles by Donaldson?
>>They did hardly have a conclusion at all, but people keep thinking
>>that there must be some deep meaning in them. I got that feeling
>>too when I read the trilogy.

>Huh?
>I actually thought the first trilogy ended quite well, and was a bit
>surprised to see a second trilogy at all.

So was I.

>Sure, he doesn't kill Lord Foul, but I thought it was made clear that
>this was a very deliberate choice- he had legitimate reasons for handling
>the situation as he did. And I rather liked the little chat with the
>creator that serves as a coda to the bits in the Land.

>It's been a long time since I read the books, granted, but given the time
>when I read them (I was in junior high), I would've thought I'd remember
>if they ended weakly...

Depends on the meaning of "weakly". I would not say the ending was
bad - rather, it was very open ended. And deliberately so. Not
open ended like a Piers Anthony series, where the laws of supply and
demand adjust the lenght. Open ended as in "nothing really ends".
Which is one reason why I much prefer the first trilogy to the second.
But I can't say there was some kind of punch line or anything like
that. The large questions was laid out to the reader fairly early
in the series and (deliberately) never wholly answered.

>>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
>>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have

>>not been revised since. People don't read it by their own free will,
>>they are assigned the old books during their more or less obligatory
>>education. Then, those who have read the most books go on to occupy
>>positions of power in the metaverse of education. And like some kind
>>of virus, the books force them to assign new generation to the slave
>>labor of pointless studying.

>The flaw in this argument is the assumption that new literature is
>completely independent of what has gone before. Tedious though
>Shakespeare or Milton may seem to modern readers, they can't be ignored
>simply because so many more recent authors draw on those old giants.
>Hell, just scanning the _titles_ of SF books will turn up dozens of
>references to Shakespeare, and a handful of Milton. And despite the
>explicit references to it in the text, much of the worth of the
>_Hyperion_ books would be lost without some knowledge of Chaucer's
>_Canterbury Tales_...

>Likewise Homer, Vergil, Dante, various Romantic poets, Melville (OK, it
>isn't _all_ bad...), the Bible...

That's the virus effect again. If people didn't get them crammed
down their throats like French geese in the fattening season,
would those books still influence contemporary writing so much?
The Bible perhaps since lots of people seem to think they do God
a favor by reading his book (God probably thinks it's the other
way around...) but Shakespeare?? Even native English speakers have
trouble getting the gist of them.

>The books in question are not considered "Great" solely because of their
>content- they further justify their ranking through the profound
>influence they have had on our present culture.

Which is one reason why the WoT might fall into this category.
Look at the people who read these books. Not only are they
popular, but look at the devotion they inspire in intelligent
young people.

>>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
>>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
>>masters.

>And <poof> goes much of the depth and richness of current literature,


>and, indeed, of our (already shallow and impoverished) culture as a
>whole...

Forcefeeding our youngsters with old, hardly legible literature
will do nothing to enrich our culture. When they get home, they
will lock all hardcover books safely away and vegetate in front
of the blue-glow box.

Look, I hate to disagree with a fellow like you, but this is
the way I see it. I think people should learn to read, but they
should be given the choice of what to read as soon as possible.
If they go for Milton and Ibsen, fine by me! More power to them!

(The terrible truth is, when I was a tiny kid, my brothers and
me used to cite dialogues from Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" to each other
and were hardly to be stopped ... but then we were not exactly
typical of our little farming community either.)

Evan Bullock

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Jul 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/20/97
to

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997 20:10:48 GMT, itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) wrote:
>oil...@wam.umd.edu (Chad R Orzel) wrote:
[snip]

>
>>>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
>>>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have
>>>not been revised since. People don't read it by their own free will,
>>>they are assigned the old books during their more or less obligatory
>>>education. Then, those who have read the most books go on to occupy
>>>positions of power in the metaverse of education. And like some kind
>>>of virus, the books force them to assign new generation to the slave
>>>labor of pointless studying.
>
>>The flaw in this argument is the assumption that new literature is
>>completely independent of what has gone before. Tedious though
>>Shakespeare or Milton may seem to modern readers, they can't be ignored
>>simply because so many more recent authors draw on those old giants.
>>Hell, just scanning the _titles_ of SF books will turn up dozens of
>>references to Shakespeare, and a handful of Milton. And despite the
>>explicit references to it in the text, much of the worth of the
>>_Hyperion_ books would be lost without some knowledge of Chaucer's
>>_Canterbury Tales_...
>
>>Likewise Homer, Vergil, Dante, various Romantic poets, Melville (OK, it
>>isn't _all_ bad...), the Bible...
>
>That's the virus effect again. If people didn't get them crammed
>down their throats like French geese in the fattening season,
>would those books still influence contemporary writing so much?
>The Bible perhaps since lots of people seem to think they do God
>a favor by reading his book (God probably thinks it's the other

Iff God exists...

>way around...) but Shakespeare?? Even native English speakers have
>trouble getting the gist of them.
>

No native English speaker I know has had trouble getting the gist of
Shakespeare's plays, _when_ seeing them as plays. That was how they
were intended. Even reading them, the style just needs a little
getting used to. The same was true of RJ, at least for me. Certain
things, such as his use of italics took some getting used to. I could
certainly imagine people not liking the switching point of view at
first.

>>The books in question are not considered "Great" solely because of their
>>content- they further justify their ranking through the profound
>>influence they have had on our present culture.
>
>Which is one reason why the WoT might fall into this category.
>Look at the people who read these books. Not only are they
>popular, but look at the devotion they inspire in intelligent
>young people.
>
>>>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
>>>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>>>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
>>>masters.
>
>>And <poof> goes much of the depth and richness of current literature,
>>and, indeed, of our (already shallow and impoverished) culture as a
>>whole...

Exactly. There have been many books which I have read, and in the
end liked a lot, but which at first I did not want to read and did not
like.

>
>Forcefeeding our youngsters with old, hardly legible literature
>will do nothing to enrich our culture. When they get home, they
>will lock all hardcover books safely away and vegetate in front
>of the blue-glow box.
>

What is your point? If they didn't have to read the old, "hardly
legible" literature, they would just spend even more time in front of
the TV. Some youngsters, though, actually like the old, "hardly
legible" literature, prefering it over the blue-glow box, but many
would not be able to discover their like for "hardly legible"
literature if it were not "forcefeeded" to them.

>Look, I hate to disagree with a fellow like you, but this is
>the way I see it. I think people should learn to read, but they
>should be given the choice of what to read as soon as possible.
>If they go for Milton and Ibsen, fine by me! More power to them!
>

Hey, I have another great idea! Lets also force children to choose
their careers for life before the age of eight and greatly discourage
them to change their minds! That way they can be sure that they will
make the right decision...
--
Evan Bullock (Remove the extra t to reply) http://www.concentric.net/~Merlock/

Brian D. Ritchie

unread,
Jul 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/21/97
to

Michael Kozlowski <m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>In article <5qm4vu$k...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:

>>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems that
>>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and have
>>not been revised since.

>Nope. "Classics" go in and out of favor all the time. It wasn't too long


>ago, for instance, that James Fenimore Cooper was routinely taught in
>every school. These days, the only way you'll read him is if you watch
>the excellent movie version of _The Last of the Mohicans_ and make
>the mistake of thinking the book might have even a smidgen of merit.

You're way off here. I first read TLotM back around 1984, long before the
movie came out. It is one of my favorite books, and the story is much
better than the storyline of the movie. I really like the movie, but I
prefer the book. JFC's style is certainly different from modern writing,
but it doesn't bother me. The other Leatherstocking books are not as
good, but the Deerslayer is also enjoyable IMO. I don't think JFC is
worse than his contemporaries that are taught now. Perhaps he would be
read more if he had been more PC.

[snip]

>(To my amazement, I could even find defenders
>of _The Scarlet Letter_. Heaven help us.)

It wasn't my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't mind
reading it much. I liked Moby Dick, too.
--
Brian Ritchie
br...@prism.gatech.edu

Jon Travaglia

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Jul 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/21/97
to

Lord Zlarg, on Thu, 17 Jul 1997 22:05:36 GMT the puny earth creature
known as itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) dared to say:

> Jostein
>Gaarders "Sophie's World" is great literature.

I found it quite boring to read toward the end though. I thought The
Solitare Mystery was better, although it made a lot more sense after I
read Sophies World.

--
Jon Travaglia

"There will be no further misuse of this channel. You
are disturbing others who are using it to serious
purpose. Access will be restored when you understand
what it is for. Goodbye."

Martin DeMello

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Jul 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/21/97
to

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997 20:10:46 GMT, itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland) wrote:

>tro...@online.no.antispam (TV) wrote:
>
>>On Thu, 17 Jul 1997 22:05:35 GMT, itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland)
>>probably wrote this:
>
>>>But I don't think the sheer size is a bonus.
>
>>For me size counts :)
>>When I really like characters I always hate it when a long story ends,
>>it makes me feel empty inside. When a story is good increased length
>>makes it better, as long as the quality is maintained. If anyone
>>informs of any series of comparable length with WoT AND with the same
>>quality then I will promptly hustle my carcass to the nearest bookshop
>>and beg on my knees that they get it NOW.
>

Not exactly a series, but there are a *lot* of Discworld novels, and
they are roughly chronological and accretive, and they are all IMHO
brilliant.

Emma Pease

unread,
Jul 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/21/97
to

In <19970722010...@ladder02.news.aol.com> pigwa...@aol.com (Pigwalk666) writes:

>In article <33d35f0a...@news.emirates.net.ae>,
>vicky@sep_field.emirates.net.ae (Martin DeMello) writes:

>>
>>Not exactly a series, but there are a *lot* of Discworld novels, and
>>they are roughly chronological and accretive, and they are all IMHO
>>brilliant.

>Aren't discworld novels like a parody of the fantasy genre? I remember
>playing a Discworld demo once a while a ago and it was damn funny too!!

Yes and no. He also pokes a great deal at modern life.

If you are serious minded, start with "Small Gods".

Emma

ps. Others would recommend "Good Omens" which is not a Discworld book.

Pigwalk666

unread,
Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

>
>Not exactly a series, but there are a *lot* of Discworld novels, and
>they are roughly chronological and accretive, and they are all IMHO
>brilliant.

Aren't discworld novels like a parody of the fantasy genre? I remember
playing a Discworld demo once a while a ago and it was damn funny too!!

Pigwalk666

John S. Novak

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997 20:10:46 GMT, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:

>Though her magic system is very crude and little if any of it will
>work at the kitchen table.

Will yours?

>Now her next large series, "Heksemesteren"
>(the witch master) is quite another matter with regard to research.
>It actually has pieces of north European magick in it. I regard the
>start of that series as the height of her writing career.

What's the difference between magic, and magic-with-a-fucking-k?

--
John S. Novak, III j...@cris.com
The Humblest Man on the Net

John S. Novak

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

On 22 Jul 1997 00:11:29 GMT, Saq66 <sa...@aol.com> wrote:

>Personally, I wonder at this Western fixation with Shakespeare. People
>say that many have copied Shakespeare's works. What they fail to realize
>is that Shakespeare's works themselves were based on other, older
>works/themes/stories. Nothing Shakespeare did was original. Nothing
>anybody does, really, is original, after a half dozen millenia of human
>history; it is all a matter of how you present it.

I love it when they answer their own questions.

>And while Shakespeare
>presented it well for his time, I think it would make much more sense to
>teach something more relevant to modern times. Though his themes are
>considered universal they are not easy to grasp for the modern young
>reader, especially considering the archaic language used to present them.

I weep for the "modern young reader."
I never had any problem with them, except for a brief puzzlement over
just exactly when the hell Romeo and Juliet ever _sleep_!

I think they killed themselves more out of drug-related depression
than typical teen-age angst, myself.

>The language was contemporary language during Shakespear's time, and
>peasants had no trouble understanding it. The plays Shakespeare wrote
>were for ordinary peasants as well as much as nobility, if not moreso,
>though he did write some plays especially for Elizabeth. Nowadays, only
>intellectuals can understand the archaic grammar and vocabulary used by
>Shakespeare.

Okay, I weep for _you_ if you consider something I grasped easily as a
freshman in high school as accessible only by intellectuals. That's
just pathetic.

This makes no sense to me. Great literature, in order for
>it to be great, must be understandable, and it must make a point.
>Literature that few understand, through no fault of their own, cannot
>make much of a point.

Unless the fault be blunt stupidity.

Saq66

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

itl...@sn.no (Magnus Itland)

>>>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems >that
>>>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers >and have
>>>not been revised since. People don't read it by their own free >will,
>>>they are assigned the old books during their more or less >obligatory
>>>education. Then, those who have read the most books go on >to occupy
>>>positions of power in the metaverse of education. And like >some kind
>>>of virus, the books force them to assign new generation to the >slave
>>>labor of pointless studying.
>
>>The flaw in this argument is the assumption that new literature is
>>completely independent of what has gone before. Tedious >though
>>Shakespeare or Milton may seem to modern readers, they can't >be ignored
>>simply because so many more recent authors draw on those old >giants.
>>Hell, just scanning the _titles_ of SF books will turn up dozens of
>>references to Shakespeare, and a handful of Milton. And >despite the
>>explicit references to it in the text, much of the worth of the
>>_Hyperion_ books would be lost without some knowledge of >Chaucer's
>>_Canterbury Tales_...
>
>>Likewise Homer, Vergil, Dante, various Romantic poets, >>Melville (OK,
it
>>isn't _all_ bad...), the Bible...
>
>That's the virus effect again. If people didn't get them crammed
>down their throats like French geese in the fattening season,
>would those books still influence contemporary writing so much?
>The Bible perhaps since lots of people seem to think they do >God
>a favor by reading his book (God probably thinks it's the other
>way around...) but Shakespeare?? Even native English speakers >have
>trouble getting the gist of them.

Personally, I wonder at this Western fixation with Shakespeare. People


say that many have copied Shakespeare's works. What they fail to realize
is that Shakespeare's works themselves were based on other, older
works/themes/stories. Nothing Shakespeare did was original. Nothing
anybody does, really, is original, after a half dozen millenia of human

history; it is all a matter of how you present it. And while Shakespeare


presented it well for his time, I think it would make much more sense to
teach something more relevant to modern times. Though his themes are
considered universal they are not easy to grasp for the modern young
reader, especially considering the archaic language used to present them.

The language was contemporary language during Shakespear's time, and
peasants had no trouble understanding it. The plays Shakespeare wrote
were for ordinary peasants as well as much as nobility, if not moreso,
though he did write some plays especially for Elizabeth. Nowadays, only
intellectuals can understand the archaic grammar and vocabulary used by

Shakespeare. This makes no sense to me. Great literature, in order for


it to be great, must be understandable, and it must make a point.
Literature that few understand, through no fault of their own, cannot
make much of a point.

--
"Brad Majors. This is my fiance, Janet Vice."
"Weiss."

Aaron Bergman

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

In article <slrn5t83q...@viking.cris.com>, J...@viking.cris.com (John
S. Novak) wrote:

:On 22 Jul 1997 00:11:29 GMT, Saq66 <sa...@aol.com> wrote:
:
:>Personally, I wonder at this Western fixation with Shakespeare. People


:>say that many have copied Shakespeare's works. What they fail to realize
:>is that Shakespeare's works themselves were based on other, older
:>works/themes/stories. Nothing Shakespeare did was original. Nothing
:>anybody does, really, is original, after a half dozen millenia of human
:>history; it is all a matter of how you present it.

:
:I love it when they answer their own questions.

Still, Shakespeare did cop a large percentage of his plots directly from
Greek and Roman dramas (among some others, probably.) This is a bit
different than the old "there are only (n) different plots" game.

Not that it makes all that much of a difference in terms, however. Lack of
originality does not diminish the other aspects of Shakespeare's writings.

Aaron
--
Aaron Bergman -- aber...@minerva.cis.yale.edu
<http://pantheon.yale.edu/~abergman/>
Smoke a cigarette. Slit your throat. Same concept.

Nighteyes

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to Chad R Orzel

Chad R Orzel wrote:

> Michael Kozlowski <m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
> >In article <5qm4vu$k...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no>
> wrote:
> >

> >>I myself wonder at the selection of "great literature". It seems
> that
> >>so much of it was considered great by our great-grandfathers and
> have
> >>not been revised since.

> Part of the reason that the lists of literature taught in schools
> hasn't changed since the time of your "great grandfathers" (don't you
> have great grandmothers too? ;-)) is because education has changed
> greatly in the last 50-60 years, and the literature taught is just now
> starting to catch up. However, great literature will always be great
> literature regardless of whether average Joe likes to read it or not
> because of the messages contained with in it and the talent with which
> is was written, AND these lists do have modern works added to them,
> although the test of time is still a consideration for determining
> great literature.

> >Nope. "Classics" go in and out of favor all the time. It wasn't too
> long
> >ago, for instance, that James Fenimore Cooper was routinely taught in
>
> >every school. These days, the only way you'll read him is if you
> watch
> >the excellent movie version of _The Last of the Mohicans_ and make
> >the mistake of thinking the book might have even a smidgen of merit.
>

> Cooper was taught more because of a dearth of American authors worth a
>
> damn than any innate value he might have had. Well, that, and the fact
>
> that the books tie in reasonably well with a certain type of American
> history class...
>
> !Peeve: Twain's essay on Cooper.
>

> >>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work
> that
> >>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>
> >>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
> >>masters.
> >

> >Nope again. Sure, a lot of people don't like reading the classics in
>
> >their high school English classes -- but then, a lot of those people
> >wouldn't like reading _anything_.
>

> <a little snippity-snip here>


>
> And besides, a lot of people do like
> >to read The Great Works of Literature. Granted that not everyone
> likes
> >every work, but there's still a decent chunk o' poeple out there who
> will

> >like any particular work. (To my amazement, I could even find


> defenders
> >of _The Scarlet Letter_. Heaven help us.)
>

> Oh, it serves a certain purpose, keeping eleventh grade English
> students
> in their place...
>
> Now, if you find anybody who likes the Demi Moore movie version, shoot
>
> them. It'll be more merciful.
>
> Later,
> OilCan

Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter_( and i
have *no* intention of watching Demi's breasts play Hester Prynne).
Hawthorne is wonderful, especially his short stories. As a high school
English teacher, I firmly believe that students will have a positive
attitude going into written material if it is presented to the with the
right attitude (this seems fairly obvious, but...). I have had classes
of 9th graders fighting over who reads what part in _Romeo and Juliet_.
I don't think you can "disqualify" from classes any book that people
don't like reading, because a) there are always going to be people who
don't want to read anything, b) people need to read the classics to see
that not so much has changed from the times in which those books were
written ( I live in the Bible belt, and the message about adultery in
_The Scarlet Letter_ most certainly applies here!), and c) as my old
English teacher used to say, "Do you want to be the *only* person you
know who hasn't read that?" Not a great reason to read, but a great
motivation for teenagers :-)!

Anyway, there's my 1.98 cents worth!
Have a wonderful day!
Michelle R.


Chad R Orzel

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

In article <5qtr91$s...@news1.sol.no>, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:
>oil...@wam.umd.edu (Chad R Orzel) wrote:

{The first Covenant series by Donaldson}


>>It's been a long time since I read the books, granted, but given the time
>>when I read them (I was in junior high), I would've thought I'd remember
>>if they ended weakly...
>
>Depends on the meaning of "weakly". I would not say the ending was
>bad - rather, it was very open ended. And deliberately so. Not
>open ended like a Piers Anthony series, where the laws of supply and
>demand adjust the lenght. Open ended as in "nothing really ends".

Which is like life...

>Which is one reason why I much prefer the first trilogy to the second.
>But I can't say there was some kind of punch line or anything like
>that. The large questions was laid out to the reader fairly early
>in the series and (deliberately) never wholly answered.

What's not answered?
Sure, he doesn't tell you whether or not the Land is real, but doing so
would destroy the very careful job he did of hedging on that issue.
You're not _supposed_ to know...

As I recall, though, he even presents the reader with an answer to "why
is there suffering?" namely "because the Creator _can't_ reach into his
creation and fix things without destroying the whole thing." I'm not sure
there's a bigger question than that out there.

{"Throw out anything that people don't want to read."}


>>The flaw in this argument is the assumption that new literature is
>>completely independent of what has gone before. Tedious though
>>Shakespeare or Milton may seem to modern readers, they can't be ignored
>>simply because so many more recent authors draw on those old giants.
>>Hell, just scanning the _titles_ of SF books will turn up dozens of
>>references to Shakespeare, and a handful of Milton. And despite the
>>explicit references to it in the text, much of the worth of the
>>_Hyperion_ books would be lost without some knowledge of Chaucer's
>>_Canterbury Tales_...
>
>>Likewise Homer, Vergil, Dante, various Romantic poets, Melville (OK, it
>>isn't _all_ bad...), the Bible...
>
>That's the virus effect again. If people didn't get them crammed
>down their throats like French geese in the fattening season,
>would those books still influence contemporary writing so much?

One can only hope.
Archaic though the language is, the "St. Crispin's Day" speech from
_Henry V_ is still as good a motivational speech as has ever been written
in English. Antony's speech to the crowd at Caesar's funeral ("I come to
bury Caesar, not to praise him," and so on) is as slick a piece of
rabble-rousing as you'll find, and Macbeth's "Sound and fury" speech is a
peerless rant at an uncaring universe. Archaic or not, Shakespeare's
speeches have real power (especially when seen as drama), and some things
just can't be done much better.

And the ability to concisely refer to past works is a great tool in the
hands of an accomplished author. Even simple phrases ("The fault, dear
Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves"), or book titles (_The
Sound and the Fury_) call to mind a whole host of meanings, and shades of
meaning for those who have read the earlier works in question. This
effect is wasted on those who have no knowledge of literary history.

(It's worth noting that, while they are primary sources themselves these
days, Shakespeare's plays are full of this sort of thing. He cribs fromw
well-known history, and includes many references to past writers or common
stories in his plays- it's just that many of the sources he uses are lost
to us...)

Take a look down the SF shelf, even. Brust's _To Reign in Hell_ has a
catchy title, but it has vastly more meaning to one who has read Satan's
speeches in _Paradise Lost_ than to one who has never seen that work. He
hedges a bit by providing the quote for the reader, but those two lines
taken out of context aren't half as impressive as the entire speech.
There are also throwaway lines ("Get thee behind me, master." --
Beelzebub to Satan) that are largely meaningless without some sense of
literature as a whole, but hilarious (or at least mildly amusing) to
those who have read the works in question.

>The Bible perhaps since lots of people seem to think they do God
>a favor by reading his book (God probably thinks it's the other
>way around...) but Shakespeare?? Even native English speakers have
>trouble getting the gist of them.

That's more a matter of context than anything else. They're _plays,_ and
should be taught as such. Reading them as you would prose (unless you've
reada lot of drama) loses the flow and effect of the language. And put in
proper context, the point comes through, archaic words or no, to all but
the most terminally dim-witted...

>>The books in question are not considered "Great" solely because of their
>>content- they further justify their ranking through the profound
>>influence they have had on our present culture.
>
>Which is one reason why the WoT might fall into this category.
>Look at the people who read these books. Not only are they
>popular, but look at the devotion they inspire in intelligent
>young people.

There's devotion, and then there's devotion.
Jordan's books are fun, and I enjoy discussing them (when there's
material to discuss), but Great Literature they ain't. "Kneel, Aes
Sedai, or you will be knelt" is a cool line, but doesn't have half the
resonance and power of "For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be
my brother. Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition. And
men in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not
here, and hold their manhood cheap while any speaks who fought with us
upon St. Crispin's Day." (Slightly paraphrased due to imperfect memory).

>>>If I had any say, I'd disqualify from "great literature" any work that
>>>people don't want to read of their own free will, or that they don't
>>>want to continue reading when they've started. Poof go the old
>>>masters.
>

>>And <poof> goes much of the depth and richness of current literature,
>>and, indeed, of our (already shallow and impoverished) culture as a
>>whole...
>

>Forcefeeding our youngsters with old, hardly legible literature
>will do nothing to enrich our culture. When they get home, they
>will lock all hardcover books safely away and vegetate in front
>of the blue-glow box.

They'll do that _anyway._
Hell, _I_ do that all winter long.

Even a medium as debased as television, though, occasionally has a good
moment, and it's worth the trouble if just once you have that flash of
something deeper, recognizing "cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war"
as more than just a catchphrase waiting to happen.

Later,
OilCan

("Those who parrot phrases like 'dead white male' might reflect that, in
writing, death is relative: Lord Rochester is as dead as Sappho, though
by no means as moribund as Brett Easton Ellis or Andrea Dworkin.")


Michael Kozlowski

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

In article <33D4B179...@fullnet.net>,
Nighteyes <ryan...@fullnet.net> wrote:

> Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter

>As a high school English teacher, I [...]

I strongly suspect that these two sentences must be paired together in our
world. (The set of those who like TSL coincides perfectly with the set of
high school English teachers...)

>right attitude (this seems fairly obvious, but...). I have had classes
>of 9th graders fighting over who reads what part in _Romeo and Juliet_.

Well, that's because _R&J_ is good. Whereas _The Scarlet Letter_, is the
opposite of good (that is to say, bad).

Jonathan Vaught

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

My newsreader informs me that, in article <5r2fen$r...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>,
Michael Kozlowski said:
> In article <33D4B179...@fullnet.net>,
> Nighteyes <ryan...@fullnet.net> wrote:
>
> > Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter
> >As a high school English teacher, I [...]
>
> I strongly suspect that these two sentences must be paired together in our
> world. (The set of those who like TSL coincides perfectly with the set of
> high school English teachers...)
>

I'm not an English teacher, and I like Hawthorne. His stuff is
wonderfully dark. I agree that the short stories are better than the
long stuff though -- check out "The Minister's Black Veil" or "Young
Goodman Brown" for some serious creepiness. I'm surprised he isn't more
popular today, what with all his talk about witchcraft and such.
--
-Jonathan.

To reply, remove... well, you know the drill.

Sam Bassett

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

Jonathan Vaught wrote:
[monster snip of *great literature* debate]

For those interested in the current survival of the old greats, the Arts
section (p2) of the New York Times of July 22, 1997 contains a review of
a theatrical performance of about 1/4 of "Beowulf." Performed in Old
English. The audience (and reviewer) *loved* it. It was done with one
human voice (Benjamin Bagby) and lyre, recreating in a lot of ways the
heroic poetry performances of yore, on back to Homer.

Kinda reminds me of... bards and gleemen? So much for segments of
literature being dead.
performance of yore

Devin L. Ganger

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

In our last episode, John S. Novak <J...@viking.cris.com> wrote:

: What's the difference between magic, and magic-with-a-fucking-k?

Brace yourself, John.

You just opened up another religion thread...

--
Devin L. Ganger, a.k.a. The Most Arrogant Fictional Dead Man On The Net
http://www.teleport.com/~lewst/ -- The G-Files and other assorted stuff
http://www.teleport.com/~lewst/grue.html -- Join the fight against spam
All unsolicited commercial email will be billed for a $500 handling fee

Martin DeMello

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Jul 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/22/97
to

On 21 Jul 1997 18:24:37 -0700, em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease)
wrote:

>Yes and no. He also pokes a great deal at modern life.
>

Not only modern life - he has, in various books, taken off on Macbeth,
The Phantom of the Opera, countries ranging from China to Australia,
religion, etc., etc., etc. (Wonder if he'll ever do a WoT book - that
would be worth seeing).

>If you are serious minded, start with "Small Gods".

And if you are a fantasy-addict, try 'Lords and Ladies', IMHO his
best-written, though far from funniest, novel. Though if you can, the
nicest option would be to proceed through the series in serial order.

>
>Emma
>
>ps. Others would recommend "Good Omens" which is not a Discworld book.

The only non-discworld I've read was 'Strata', which was disappointing
in comparison to his Discworld lot.

BTW, talking about fantasy take-offs, has anyone else read (and loved)
Dan McGirt's Jason Cosmo novels?

John S. Novak

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Jul 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/23/97
to

On Tue, 22 Jul 1997 12:11:47 -0800, Aaron Bergman
<aber...@pantheon.yale.edu> wrote:

>:I love it when they answer their own questions.
>
>Still, Shakespeare did cop a large percentage of his plots directly from
>Greek and Roman dramas (among some others, probably.) This is a bit
>different than the old "there are only (n) different plots" game.

When did I claim for a moment that Shakespeare didn't take his basic
plots from other sources? Never. I simply remarked that the persno
had essentially answered his own complaint-- Shakespeare is revered
because of his presentation.

Aaron Bergman

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Jul 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/23/97
to

In article <5r2fen$r...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>, m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu (Michael
Kozlowski) wrote:

:In article <33D4B179...@fullnet.net>,


:Nighteyes <ryan...@fullnet.net> wrote:
:
:> Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter
:>As a high school English teacher, I [...]
:
:I strongly suspect that these two sentences must be paired together in our
:world. (The set of those who like TSL coincides perfectly with the set of
:high school English teachers...)

:
:>right attitude (this seems fairly obvious, but...). I have had classes


:>of 9th graders fighting over who reads what part in _Romeo and Juliet_.
:
:Well, that's because _R&J_ is good. Whereas _The Scarlet Letter_, is the
:opposite of good (that is to say, bad).

You misspelled "absolutely godawful painful-to-read heavyhanded crap". HTH!

Kris Samaras

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Jul 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/23/97
to

Pigwalk666 wrote:
>
> In article <33d35f0a...@news.emirates.net.ae>,
> vicky@sep_field.emirates.net.ae (Martin DeMello) writes:
>
> >
> >Not exactly a series, but there are a *lot* of Discworld novels, and
> >they are roughly chronological and accretive, and they are all IMHO
> >brilliant.
>
> Aren't discworld novels like a parody of the fantasy genre? I remember
> playing a Discworld demo once a while a ago and it was damn funny too!!
>
> Pigwalk666

I recentl attended a book signing session of Terry Pratchett's (he
writes the Discworld books) and he said that people seemed unsure about
what his books are. He said people call the "A parody. Not of anything
in particular, but just a general parody." The first two books of the
Discworld cannon are particularly like this, the others have more
specific themes, but they are all hilarious.

Steve Monahan

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Jul 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/23/97
to

On Wed, 23 Jul 1997 11:36:56 -0800, aber...@pantheon.yale.edu (Aaron
Bergman) wrote:

>In article <5r2fen$r...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>, m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu (Michael
>Kozlowski) wrote:
>
>:In article <33D4B179...@fullnet.net>,
>:Nighteyes <ryan...@fullnet.net> wrote:
>:
>:> Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter
>:>As a high school English teacher, I [...]
>:
>:I strongly suspect that these two sentences must be paired together in our
>:world. (The set of those who like TSL coincides perfectly with the set of
>:high school English teachers...)
>:
>:>right attitude (this seems fairly obvious, but...). I have had classes
>:>of 9th graders fighting over who reads what part in _Romeo and Juliet_.
>:
>:Well, that's because _R&J_ is good. Whereas _The Scarlet Letter_, is the
>:opposite of good (that is to say, bad).
>
>You misspelled "absolutely godawful painful-to-read heavyhanded crap". HTH!

hmmm...

That looks like an excellent opener for replies to a lot of the herd
of clueless gits that seem to be invading right now.

"Your recent poorly punctuated, ungrammatical post was absolutely
godawful painful-to-read heavyhanded crap..."

A good starting point, anyway.


---
Steve (Remove NOSPAM to reply)

"I mean, I'm a nice guy, but if you ever run afoul of darkelf, you could
find yourself knee-deep in lime Jello wearing a French maid outfit over a
wetsuit before you could add "And as long as it's legal in Utah!" to
that statement..." [The "Can"]

B. David Wren-Hardin

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Jul 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/23/97
to

In article <5r2fen$r...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>,

Michael Kozlowski <m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>In article <33D4B179...@fullnet.net>,
>Nighteyes <ryan...@fullnet.net> wrote:
>
>> Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter
>>As a high school English teacher, I [...]
>
>I strongly suspect that these two sentences must be paired together in our
>world. (The set of those who like TSL coincides perfectly with the set of
>high school English teachers...)

Nope. I'm not a HS teacher, and I liked the Scarlet Letter. It was my
favorite book in Sophomore Lit. My English teacher loved me until I
also stated the heresy that Huck Finn was boring with a sell-out ending.


--
David Wren-Hardin | Support Darwinian evolution --
dwre...@u.washington.edu | Squash a weakling today.
http://weber.u.washington.edu/~dwrenhar/

St Erroneous

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Jul 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/23/97
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Saq66 <sa...@aol.com> seems to have written:

>Personally, I wonder at this Western fixation with Shakespeare. People
>say that many have copied Shakespeare's works. What they fail to realize
>is that Shakespeare's works themselves were based on other, older
>works/themes/stories. Nothing Shakespeare did was original.

Read any decent copy of Shakespeare's works and you'll find each play
begins with a long and detailed monograph on the history behind the
play, the sources on which it draws, the previous plays to which it
alludes, and so on.

>[...] I think it would make much more sense to teach something more


>relevant to modern times. Though his themes are considered universal
>they are not easy to grasp for the modern young reader, especially
>considering the archaic language used to present them.

Did you bother to go to see the recent Romeo and Juliet film? They may
have hacked out chunks of dialogue (hardly unusual, so I'm told), but
the central themes remained just as "relevant".

>Nowadays, only intellectuals can understand the archaic grammar and
>vocabulary used by Shakespeare.

Huh? I can't quite see this.

I didn't read any Shakespeare at school - we did war poetry instead, such
joy - but decided to educate myself a little and read Hamlet and R&J
before going to see the relevant films.

While, to be sure, reading the plays required concentration, I had no
problems with the language - it's quite obvious, if only from context,
what the characters are talking about. The problem's with the _form_.

I'm not used to reading plays. Plays rely on dialogue, and most books
I read don't. I'm used to a third-person-past omniscient narrator, not
first-person-present conversation.

But then they are _plays_. They weren't meant to be read. As plays
(rather: on the screen, I've never seen any at the theatre *blush*) they
work beautifully.

>This makes no sense to me. Great literature, in order for it to be
>great, must be understandable, and it must make a point. Literature
>that few understand, through no fault of their own, cannot make much
>of a point.

Getting the most out of Shakespeare requires a modicum of concentration.
Excuse me if my heart doesn't bleed for the Mtv generation who seemingly
can't pay attention for long enough to get the point.

-michael (mainly) E
--
-St michael (mainly) Erroneous
"Keep your eyes fixed firmly on the gutter."
http://goliath.mersinet.co.uk/~ishamael/

Matthew Belcher

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Jul 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/24/97
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Saq66 <sa...@aol.com> wrote in article

<snip discussion of great literature>

> Personally, I wonder at this Western fixation with Shakespeare. People
> say that many have copied Shakespeare's works. What they fail to realize
> is that Shakespeare's works themselves were based on other, older

> works/themes/stories. Nothing Shakespeare did was original. Nothing
> anybody does, really, is original, after a half dozen millenia of human

> history; it is all a matter of how you present it. And while Shakespeare

> presented it well for his time, I think it would make much more sense to


> teach something more relevant to modern times.

Of course nothing was original. Do you remember your English teachers
discussion about how everybody already knew the ending, but just wanted to
see how Shakespeare would get there? The greatness of Shakespeare is in the
presentation. The rhythmic flow of iambic pentameter. The perfect blend of
form and content. The ability to convey volumes of wisdom in 3 hours.

> Though his themes are
> considered universal they are not easy to grasp for the modern young
> reader, especially considering the archaic language used to present them.

> The language was contemporary language during Shakespear's time, and


> peasants had no trouble understanding it. The plays Shakespeare wrote
> were for ordinary peasants as well as much as nobility, if not moreso,

> though he did write some plays especially for Elizabeth. Nowadays, only


> intellectuals can understand the archaic grammar and vocabulary used by
> Shakespeare.

I'm no English scholar, but I have no problem understanding Shakespeare. It
just takes practice and the will to understand it. My 15 year old sister
easily understood _Hamlet_ and _Romeo_and_Juliet_, including the deeper
themes. Its even easier if you see them in the context they were written
for: as a play.

> This makes no sense to me. Great literature, in order for
> it to be great, must be understandable, and it must make a point.
> Literature that few understand, through no fault of their own, cannot
> make much of a point.

If someone doesn't understand Shakespeare, it is through fault of his/her
own. That person is lazy. The same person would probably say the same of
Toni Morrison's _Beloved_ or other such modern literature, even though it
is written in the modern style.

--
Matt
http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Lights/8502/

P.S. Is anybody else getting sick of this argument. It's like screaming
into a brick wall.


TV

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Jul 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/24/97
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On Tue, 22 Jul 1997 23:48:40 GMT, vicky@sep_field.emirates.net.ae
(Martin DeMello) probably wrote this:

>On 21 Jul 1997 18:24:37 -0700, em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease)
>wrote:

>>ps. Others would recommend "Good Omens" which is not a Discworld book.


>
>The only non-discworld I've read was 'Strata', which was disappointing
>in comparison to his Discworld lot.

If I were you (I'm not) I would definitely give Good Omens a shot. It
is absolutely hilarious.

- TV
Remove antispam to reply via e-mail

Lotus

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Jul 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/24/97
to

> Saq66 <sa...@aol.com> wrote:
> >[...] I think it would make much more sense to teach something more
> >relevant to modern times. Though his themes are considered universal


> >they are not easy to grasp for the modern young reader, especially
> >considering the archaic language used to present them.

Arrrg... the English Shakespeare uses only seems archaic to a
beginning reader/listener. The more you hear, and read, the easier it
is to understand. If you are intrested, and want to take the time to read
his works, and others of the time, you will realize that it is not an
archaic
form of the English language, one that should be dismissed. It should be
celebrated because it was the closest English ever came to the beautiful
Romance languages of Europe.

> >Nowadays, only intellectuals can understand the archaic grammar and
> >vocabulary used by Shakespeare.

>> St Erroneous <Xish...@goliath.mersinet.co.ukX also replied:


> Huh? I can't quite see this.

I cant, either. I had read Romeo and Juliet my freshman year
in highschool honors English, and we took almost an entire quarter
to do it. In college, I decided it would be fun to take Shakespeare 202--
without anyother prior Lit. classes. It was the _best_ class I have ever
taken.

True, it was difficult at first. We had to read the 12th Night by
the next class.(two days) And THAT was difficult. But soon,
I realized the real challenge in reading Shakespeare, is not
the language, but UNDERSTANDING the historical allusions he
makes--His private jokes for the public.

I cannot thank my prof. enough for also requiring us to read some
historical background on Elizabethan England. It did worlds of good
to understand what Shakespeare means when he writes, "The rest is
silence." at the end of Hamlet. And he didnt mean all the dead people!

St Erroneous also wrote:
> While, to be sure, reading the plays required concentration, I had no
> problems with the language - it's quite obvious, if only from context,
> what the characters are talking about. The problem's with the _form_.

> I'm not used to reading plays. [I cut a bit.. just to get to the point.
sorry.]

> But then they are _plays_. They weren't meant to be read.

They can, and should be read. Keeping track of char. and what they
say is no more difficult that in a regular fiction book--easier, in fact.
Because you can SEE who is saying what. Reading them out loud,
and seeing them performed only brings out his poetry and rhythm.

> Saq66 <sa...@aol.com>continued:

.... Great literature, in order for it to be


> >great, must be understandable, and it must make a point. Literature
> >that few understand, through no fault of their own, cannot make much
> >of a point.

Great literature makes all the point it needs to by infusing itself so
completely into our Western culture, when it is forced down our
throats we STILL refuse to recognize it as part of our daily lives.
The more classic literature you read, and understand, the more
you will understand about what goes on in media today.

Reading Classic literature, and understanding it is like
being let in on the greatest private joke in the world.

Sincerely, Robin M. Gray
Sorry, I ranted a bit. I just feel really
strongly about reading the Classics.
Well, just reading in general.

Magnus Itland

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Jul 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/26/97
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J...@viking.cris.com (John S. Novak) wrote:
>On Sun, 20 Jul 1997 20:10:46 GMT, Magnus Itland <itl...@sn.no> wrote:

>>Though her magic system is very crude and little if any of it will
>>work at the kitchen table.

>Will yours?

My religion forbids me to use witchcraft.

>>Now her next large series, "Heksemesteren"
>>(the witch master) is quite another matter with regard to research.
>>It actually has pieces of north European magick in it. I regard the
>>start of that series as the height of her writing career.

>What's the difference between magic, and magic-with-a-fucking-k?

Practitioners of magick prefer to write it with the ending k
to separate it from sleight-of-hand and trickery, which they
call "magic" without the k.

--
itl...@online.no Yes! The one and only Magnus Itland.
Fitting together is for jigsaw puzzles.


Magnus Itland

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Jul 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/26/97
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"Devin L. Ganger" <le...@linda.teleport.com> wrote:
>In our last episode, John S. Novak <J...@viking.cris.com> wrote:

>: What's the difference between magic, and magic-with-a-fucking-k?

>Brace yourself, John.

>You just opened up another religion thread...

I simply cannot think there will be much interest in this one,
and especially not in the US.
But in the post-christian countries of northern Europe,
magick, witchcraft and even satanism is fairly common.

Magnus Itland

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Jul 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/26/97
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aber...@pantheon.yale.edu (Aaron Bergman) wrote:
>In article <slrn5t83q...@viking.cris.com>, J...@viking.cris.com (John

>S. Novak) wrote:
>:On 22 Jul 1997 00:11:29 GMT, Saq66 <sa...@aol.com> wrote:
>:
>:>Personally, I wonder at this Western fixation with Shakespeare. People

>:>say that many have copied Shakespeare's works. What they fail to realize
>:>is that Shakespeare's works themselves were based on other, older
>:>works/themes/stories. Nothing Shakespeare did was original. Nothing
>:>anybody does, really, is original, after a half dozen millenia of human
>:>history; it is all a matter of how you present it.
>:
>:I love it when they answer their own questions.

>Still, Shakespeare did cop a large percentage of his plots directly from
>Greek and Roman dramas (among some others, probably.) This is a bit
>different than the old "there are only (n) different plots" game.

>Not that it makes all that much of a difference in terms, however. Lack of


>originality does not diminish the other aspects of Shakespeare's writings.

I think the same generosity should be applied to Robert Jordan.
So his ideas are not new - in fact, many of them are older than
written history. So what? His work makes them live again for
"contemporary readers". And this holds true even when some other
people have embroidered some of these themes in the recent past.

Magnus Itland

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Jul 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/26/97
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m...@vega23.cs.wisc.edu (Michael Kozlowski) wrote:
>In article <33D4B179...@fullnet.net>,
>Nighteyes <ryan...@fullnet.net> wrote:

>> Ok, I have to jump in here...I *love* _The Scarlet Letter
>>As a high school English teacher, I [...]

>I strongly suspect that these two sentences must be paired together in our
>world. (The set of those who like TSL coincides perfectly with the set of
>high school English teachers...)

That's more or less what I tried to say. When you're a teacher,
you have successfully completed your own brainwashing and can start
on the next generation.
That's not inherently evil, mind you, just a waste of human capital.

Magnus Itland

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Jul 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/26/97