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13384Re-reading Redux

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  • Mike Foster
    Dec 11, 2004
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      I recently re-read That Hideous Strength, in a new pb edition, to
      refresh myself with it in order to teach it in college after at least
      seven years unread wholly.

      Short verdict: I admire it more & liked it less.

      The dualities of plot and character and setting are exquisitely
      drawn--Grace Ironwood vs. Fairy Hardcastle, for one. Lewis has some
      wonderful symbolic vignettes, like the shattering of the window at
      Bragdon. The Objective Room is Orwellian before Orwell.

      But this Ransom [d]evolution into a Mini-Williams gave me the willies
      even more this time through, probably my fourth complete review--a
      perfectly good character spoiled by apotheosis of sorts. If there is
      such a thing as pompous humility, here 'tis. The bit with encouraging
      Bultitude's conjugality with that nice lady bear he'd picked up at
      Belbury forced a disbelieving embarrassed out-loud laugh.

      So there it is. When we go back to the readings of truly great
      books--and I can think of four for starters--we are dazzled by something
      new never noticed before--a gem in the grass, as it were.

      Other times, we notice a toad that hadn't really bothered us before.
      Wait a minute...two toads.

      Cheers,
      Mike

      dianejoy@... wrote:

      >Great to hear from you. Are you working on a new book? ---djb
      >
      >Original Message:
      >-----------------
      >From: Pauline J. Alama PJAlama@...
      >Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 21:57:14 -0000
      >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Re-reading
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >I'm kind of at the other end of the spectrum from Wendell on
      >re-reading. I am pretty choosy about what I read, and often find I
      >would rather re-read an "old friend" than read something new
      >that fails to capture my imagination strongly.
      >
      >I'm one of those who like multi-layered books that reward
      >re-reading, though some might be surprised at what I include in
      >that category (such as the Harry Potter books). I also enjoy
      >re-reading a book with a twisty plot and noticing how different it
      >all seems when I know where the turns are taking me.
      >
      >I think I re-read favorite books as a way of incorporating them into
      >myself. As someone said, the more you re-read, the more you
      >memorize. The books I re-read most avidly in childhood (Alice in
      >Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Grimm's Fairy Tales,
      >the Prydain Chronicles, and the Phantom Tollbooth probably top
      >the list) shaped my vocabulary -- both my literal vocabulary of
      >words and a figurative vocabulary of imaginative symbols. The
      >books I've re-read obsessively as an adult (Robertson Davies'
      >Deptford Trilogy, Patricia A. McKillip's Riddle-Master Trilogy, and
      >the Brothers Karamazov -- a pretty odd assortment, I admit) each
      >feel like a door to some deeply buried part of my mind that I need
      >to revisit now and then.
      >
      >Pauline
      >Pauline J. Alama
      >www.geocities.com/paulinejalama/paulinealama.html
      >
      >--- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "dianejoy@e..."
      ><dianejoy@e...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >>I re-read some books (most notably Tolkien, CSL and Dorothy
      >>
      >>
      >Sayers *Mind of
      >
      >
      >>the Maker*) and certain passages in other books that I think
      >>
      >>
      >are truly fine
      >
      >
      >>writing. I like re-reading, but like you, I go on to the next. ---djb
      >>
      >>Original Message:
      >>-----------------
      >>From: WendellWag@a...
      >>Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2004 17:11:33 EST
      >>To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      >>Subject: [mythsoc] Re-reading
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>In our discussion in last night's Knossos (the
      >>
      >>
      >Washington-D.C.-area
      >
      >
      >>Mythopoeic Society group) meeting, we talked about re-reading
      >>
      >>
      >books. It
      >
      >
      >>appears that
      >>I'm unusual among heavy readers in that I seldom re-read a
      >>
      >>
      >book. It's
      >
      >
      >>apparently standard as a child to go through a phase of
      >>
      >>
      >reading the same
      >
      >
      >>book over and
      >>over, at least for people who go on to be heavy readers. I've
      >>
      >>
      >read _The
      >
      >
      >>Hobbit_ six times, _The Lord of the Rings_ five times, and _Till
      >>
      >>
      >We Have
      >
      >
      >>Faces_
      >>three times (and these times are over a period of about 35
      >>
      >>
      >years), but I'd
      >
      >
      >>be
      >>hard pressed to think of any other books I've read more than
      >>
      >>
      >twice. Nearly
      >
      >
      >>everything else I've only read once. I guess I've always felt that
      >>
      >>
      >I'd
      >
      >
      >>rather
      >>move on to the next book rather than re-read something. What
      >>
      >>
      >do you people
      >
      >
      >>do?
      >>
      >>Wendell Wagner
      >>
      >>
      >>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      >>Yahoo! Groups Links
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
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      >Yahoo! Groups Links
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