Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Book and the Ring, a parting word or two from Mr Browning

it is the glory and good of Art,
That Art remains the one way possible
Of speaking truth

Regarding two books I'm reading that I probably won't post about:

Nazarin by Benito Perez Galdos
"He is not mad," said Sancho. "But he is venturesome."

Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
"Things got worse and worse and worse and pretty soon they were too complicated."


  1. Enjoy the Bellow. I did when I read it, but that was a long time ago. I might read it differently now. Perhaps I will pull it from the shelf because I might make a good R&R book. Or maybe not.

    1. The Bellow is frustrating me. The language is amazing and inventive and there are moments of comic irony as good as anyone's, but I'm well past the midpoint and for a while now I've had the annoying feeling that all this inventing wheeling prose is pinned up to, basically, nothing or not much of a thing. The book seems more and more empty the farther along I get. Not that it's somehow becoming empty; it's that I see how it's always been empty and I'm figuring that out.

  2. My memory may be flawed (well, of course it is!), but I recall being entertained by the book. Of course, that means nothing in terms of the book's qualities. It only means that I -- the naïve reader that I have always been -- thought it worthwhile expenditure of my time. But, let me say it again, my memory could be at fault. I do know, though, that I could not be as rapturous about Bellow as others have been -- especially including the late David Myers at A Commonplace Blog. Perhaps my blue-collar Puritan protestant non-pedigree impinges upon my appreciation of Bellow. But I liked Henderson. Go figure.

    1. Well, I still have the last 25% or so of the book to read. Maybe I'll get excited again. That happens. I'll bet that if I'd read this 25 years ago, I'd have thought it was great. I want different things from literature now than I did when I was younger, I guess.

      There are brilliant sections. The first couple of chapters are wonderful.