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Masterpieces

Essays on Art and Literature
by Henk van Kampen

La plage

Posted by on 18 Feb 2008 in Literature, Masterpieces | 0 comments

La plage

Author Alain Robbe-Grillet Title La plage Year 1962 Alain Robbe Grillet (1922-2008) was a French author, one of the leading figures in the nouveau roman literary movement, and since 2004 member of the Académie française. His best-known novels are Le Voyeur and La Jalousie. Robbe-Grillet also wrote short stories and screenplays, including L’Année dernière à Marienbad (Last year at Marienbad). He passed away today at the age of 85. La plage (The beach) is a story from the collection Instantanés, published in 1962. I’m not aware of...

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Crime and punishment

Posted by on 26 Dec 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 1 comment

Crime and punishment

Author Fyodor Dostoevsky Title Crime and punishment Year 1866 Original title Преступление и наказание Translation Crime and punishment, English translation by Constance Garnett Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1861) was a Russian novelist. His novels depict life in 19th century urban Russia. His characters are often poor, working class people (unlike Tolstoy’s characters, who are usually aristocrats). Dostoevsky is especially strong in character analysis. In Crime and punishment, Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in...

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For whom the bell tolls

Posted by on 1 Oct 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 3 comments

For whom the bell tolls

Author Ernest Hemingway Title For whom the bell tolls Year 1940 Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was an American journalist, short story author and novelist. In the 1920s he became part of the American expatriate literary community in Paris (sometimes known as The lost generation). In the 1930s, he became war correspondent in Europe, first during the civil war in Spain (he actively supported the Republicans), and later the second world war. Hemingway was one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. He was awarded the Pulitzer prize in...

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As I lay dying

Posted by on 1 Sep 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 5 comments

As I lay dying

Author William Faulkner Title As I lay dying Year 1930 William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American novelist and poet. He is probably the second-most influential Southern author (after Twain). His experimental use of literary devices – in particular stream of consciousness – makes his work often difficult to understand. He won the 1949 Nobel prize for literature. As I lay dying is the story of the death and final journey of Addie Bundren. After her death her husband and children decide to honor her last wish and bring her to...

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Southern reading challenge

Posted by on 1 Sep 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 3 comments

Southern reading challenge

August was for me the month of the Southern reading challenge: With a bottle of Southern Comfort, a large box of Southern pecans and three books I enjoyed a month of Southern literature. The masterpieces I read: The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. This novel has been on my to-be-read list ever since high school (and I can assure you that is quite a while ago). To kill a mockingbird, by Harper Lee. By far the most enjoyable read of the three, a true masterpiece. As I lay dying, by William Faulkner. Less accessible than the other...

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To kill a mockingbird

Posted by on 29 Aug 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 3 comments

To kill a mockingbird

Author Harper Lee Title To kill a mockingbird Year 1960 Harper Lee (b. 1926) is the first living artist to make an appearance on Masterpieces. She wrote just one novel, To kill a mockingbird. The novel was an instant bestseller and won her the 1961 Pulitzer prize. It was voted “Best novel of the century” by readers of the library journal. The story is set in Maycomb, a small (fictional) town in Alabama, in the 1930s – some 80 or 90 years after Huckleberry Finn. The black slaves from Huck’s time are now black servants,...

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Posted by on 22 Aug 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 1 comment

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Author Mark Twain Title Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Year 1884 Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910). With his novels The adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain became one of the best-known American authors. Huckleberry Finn starts with a rather severe warning: Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.By order of the author I usually...

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A midsummer night’s dream

Posted by on 21 Jun 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 0 comments

A midsummer night’s dream

All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream. E.A. Poe Author William Shakespeare Title A midsummer night’s dream Year c.1596 With the reading of Shakespeare’s Midsummer night’s dream, I completed the 2007 Once upon a time challenge. You don’t read (or watch) Shakespeare for the plots, and you certainly do not read A midsummer night’s dream for the plot. If you do you will be as disappointed as Samuel Pepys: To the King’s Theatre, where we saw “Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”,...

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A clod of clay

Posted by on 18 Jun 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 2 comments

A clod of clay

Author William Blake Title The clod and the pebble Year 1794 The year 1789 is engraved on the second plate of The book of Thel (discussed yesterday). This is the same year the Songs of innocence were published. The motto and the conclusion of The book of Thel seem to be from a later date. Apparently Blake changed the ending (and added a motto) while he was working on the Songs of experience (published in 1794). The unselfish, self-sacrificing love of the clod of clay, who offers herself up to be “the food of worms“, is a key...

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Thel

Posted by on 17 Jun 2007 in Literature, Masterpieces | 2 comments

Thel

Author William Blake Title The book of Thel Year 1789 Thel’s motto: Does the eagle know what is in the pit, or wilt thou go ask the mole? Can wisdom be put in a silver rod, or love in a golden bowl? William Blake William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, engraver, and painter. He illustrated, engraved, printed and hand-coloured his own poems. Blake is best known for his earlier shorter poems, especially the collections Songs of innocence and Songs of experience. Later, he created longer narrative poems, often visionary, prophetic,...

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