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Archive for the ‘book suggestions’ Category

First entry of randomly sought, seemingly relevant thoughts: “One of the uses of reading is to prepare ourselves for change”….fusing “Bacon, Johnson and Emerson into a formula of how to read: find what comes near to you that can be put to the use of weighing and considering, and that addresses you as though you share the one nature, free of time’s tyranny. Pragmatically that means, first find Shakespeare, and let him find you. If King Lear is to fully find you, then weigh and consider the nature it shares with you; its closeness to yourself.”….”Shakespeare, more than Sophocles, is the inescapable authority upon intergenerational conflict, and more than anyone else, upon the differences between women and men.” (from Harold Bloom’s “How to Read and Why” Scribner, New York, 2000. p. 22)

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A few weeks ago at McLallen House we had a guest, a history of religion professor, who specializes in Buddhism. We had interesting conversation at the breakfast table.  On a whim, I asked him,”Where does one go after reading Joseph Campbell?”  He suggested Wendy Doniger’s book, The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was (Myths of Self-Imitation).  Doniger specializes in Hindu and cross-cultural mythology, focussing on illusion, animals, gender, etc. This is the third book in a trilogy.  She explains through examples of mythology, Shakespeare and motion pictures, how intertextuality chronologically informs modern and post-modern storytelling.

Intertextuality allows us to “eavesdrop on the conversations between storytellers centuries and continents apart”….and to “observe the workings of the narrator’s art…in the transition from one genre to another”… for example “we encounter a different concept of the person, on the one hand, in myths and folk-tales, which tend to elaborate on generic types who learn but never change, and on the other hand, modern novels, which tend to dwell more on idiosyncratic individuals, who do change.”

This book is a good next step after Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

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