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RE: [mythsoc] Re: '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'

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  • Mike Foster
    Lists like this are created in order to be quibbled with, both in the order of the elect and in those unelected, but I agree that Greene and Waugh certainly
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 16, 2008
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      Lists like this are created in order to be quibbled with, both in the
      order of the elect and in those unelected, but I agree that Greene and
      Waugh certainly belong here.

      As to Larkin, I enjoy and admire his work, most recently the book of
      poems with jazz trumpeter Don Cherry on the cover, but I'm not sure he
      belongs at the top of the queue.

      Jonathan Gould's -Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America-
      employs this Larkin excerpt as epigraph for Ch. 12:
      "Sexual intercourse began
      in nineteen sixty-three
      (Which was rather late for me)
      Between the end of the Chatterly ban
      And the Beatles first LP"


      -----Original Message-----
      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of William Cloud Hicklin
      Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 8:41 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'

      It's interesting and refreshing to observe that in not one
      of the 118 reader comments as of this writing, not one
      tries to put down Tolkien and claim he doesn't belong
      (although one Moorcock fan does reference 'Epic Pooh.')

      I can't disagree with those upset over omissions in three
      cases: Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene and Terry Pratchett. I
      would throw in Wodehouse, but acknowledge that all his best
      work was pre-war.

      However, eligibility for this list is rather odd: novelists
      and poets (apples and oranges), but not playwrights; and a
      definition of "British" which includes those foreign-born
      naturalized long after their best work (e.g. Rushdie)- but
      no Irish need apply.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • WendellWag@aol.com
      In a message dated 1/16/2008 9:41:09 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, solicitr@mindspring.com writes: However, eligibility for this list is rather odd: novelists
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 16, 2008
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        In a message dated 1/16/2008 9:41:09 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
        solicitr@... writes:

        However, eligibility for this list is rather odd: novelists
        and poets (apples and oranges), but not playwrights; and a
        definition of "British" which includes those foreign-born
        naturalized long after their best work (e.g. Rushdie)- but
        no Irish need apply.

        Rushdie wrote all of his novels after coming to the U.K. (although who knows
        where he is at any particular moment these days). The list includes Isaiah
        Berlin, I notice, who never wrote any fiction.

        Wendell Wagner




        **************Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape.
        http://body.aol.com/fitness/winter-exercise?NCID=aolcmp00300000002489


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Bratman
        ... You do need the caveat: they didn t omit or ignore Greene, they decided he was ineligible by their date criteria. Same for Waugh. (See the explanation by
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 16, 2008
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          Jason Fisher wrote:

          >(With the caveat that I have no idea what their
          >criteria might have been:) I have to say the
          >omission of Graham Greene is just shameful.
          >He's another of my favorite writers, but setting
          >aside my own personal tastes, I don't see how
          >one can ignore his contribution to English letters.

          You do need the caveat: they didn't omit or ignore Greene, they decided he was ineligible by their date criteria. Same for Waugh. (See the explanation by clicking on the article's link reading "Do you agree with the selection?" I find that questionable, but because of the dates of the bulk of Greene's work, not because he's important.


          Mike Foster refers to Larkin's work, which I like also. He wrote some of the most splendidly misanthropic poems of all time. One of the best is on the web at <http://www.tetrameter.com/larkin.htm>, but WARNING, do not click on this link unless you are willing to read a very naughty word. And in case you're wondering, no, he never married, had no children, did have romantic relationships with women but always lived alone,
          and by profession he was ... a university librarian, and by all reports a very good one.

          Re Wendell Wagner's comments on eligibility, nonfiction writers are explicitly eligible, and besides the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, include the historian A.J.P. Taylor - who was a Magdalen College colleague of C.S. Lewis's.

          But if nonfiction writers are included, there's a whole host of other candidates. I'd want to put in a word for the now-deceased newspaper columnist Bernard Levin, whose work I discovered when I found a collection of his pieces, including one praising cats over dogs, in a Welsh bookshop with several store cats. Levin was also a Tolkien fan, and mentioned Middle-earth in his book on utopias and imaginary worlds, _A World Elsewhere_.
        • David Emerson
          Glad to see Doris Lessing and A.S. Byatt in that company. Most surprising to me was Michael Moorcock at #50. I m a Moorcock fan myself, but he tends to be
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 16, 2008
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            Glad to see Doris Lessing and A.S. Byatt in that company. Most surprising to me was Michael Moorcock at #50. I'm a Moorcock fan myself, but he tends to be overlooked by the literary establishment.

            emerdavid

            ________________________________________
            PeoplePC Online
            A better way to Internet
            http://www.peoplepc.com
          • Sarah Beach
            My eyebrows got raised by the fact that Philip Pullman made the list and P.D. James did not. *THAT* seemed very much in error, to me. I think she s a far
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 16, 2008
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              My eyebrows got raised by the fact that Philip Pullman made the list
              and P.D. James did not. *THAT* seemed very much in error, to me. I
              think she's a far superior writer than he is.


              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
              >
              > A friend in England sent me this link, which I thought I'd share.
              > Seems to be an interesting mix of literary and popular. Glad to see
              > Tolkien made it in the top ten.
              > --JDR
              >
              > http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/
              > article3127837.ece
              >
            • Deidre
              ... If one puts angle brackets around URLs, they should then work as a clickable link in most email programs.
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 16, 2008
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                At 06:57 AM 1/16/2008, you wrote:
                >2a. '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'
                > Posted by: "John D Rateliff" sacnoth@... sacnoth32
                > Date: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:55 pm ((PST))
                >
                >A friend in England sent me this link, which I thought I'd share.
                >Seems to be an interesting mix of literary and popular. Glad to see
                >Tolkien made it in the top ten.
                > --JDR
                >
                >http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/
                >article3127837.ece

                If one puts angle brackets around URLs, they should then work as a
                clickable link in most email programs.

                <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3127837.ece>

                I did try copying and pasting the link, but that did not work.
                Hopefully the angle brackets will.

                It's an interesting list, but I must confess to being surprised that
                some of the better mystery writers were let off. I would have
                thought that P. D. James might have made the list, as her Adam
                Dalgliesh novels are so wonderfully written and many have been
                adapted for the small screen. I was pleased by the inclusion of
                Rosemary Sutcliff, as her Arthurian works are some of the best
                historical works for the Romano-Celtic period in Britain that I have
                ever read.

                Deidre



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • John Davis
                Hi, Another real omission would seem to be Julian Barnes. I may be biased in wanting him to see him right at the top (well, with Tolkien and Larkin, maybe),
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 17, 2008
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                  Hi,

                  Another real omission would seem to be Julian Barnes. I may be biased in
                  wanting him to see him right at the top (well, with Tolkien and Larkin,
                  maybe), but even so, he must be one of the few contemporary non-genre
                  writers consistently hitting bestseller lists in many different countries,
                  he has won many awards, and, for my money, is both technically and
                  imaginatively a more competent writer than nearly everyone else on the list.

                  (Oh, and the best way I've found to deal with links over two lines that
                  don't paste properly into IE7+ is to click the link, then paste the extra
                  bit into the end of the address and hit refresh.)

                  John

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Deidre" <deidre@...>
                  To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 7:24 PM
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'


                  > At 06:57 AM 1/16/2008, you wrote:
                  >>2a. '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'
                  >> Posted by: "John D Rateliff" sacnoth@... sacnoth32
                  >> Date: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:55 pm ((PST))
                  >>
                  >>A friend in England sent me this link, which I thought I'd share.
                  >>Seems to be an interesting mix of literary and popular. Glad to see
                  >>Tolkien made it in the top ten.
                  >> --JDR
                  >>
                  >>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/
                  >>article3127837.ece
                  >
                  > If one puts angle brackets around URLs, they should then work as a
                  > clickable link in most email programs.
                  >
                  > <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3127837.ece>
                  >
                  > I did try copying and pasting the link, but that did not work.
                  > Hopefully the angle brackets will.
                  >
                  > It's an interesting list, but I must confess to being surprised that
                  > some of the better mystery writers were let off. I would have
                  > thought that P. D. James might have made the list, as her Adam
                  > Dalgliesh novels are so wonderfully written and many have been
                  > adapted for the small screen. I was pleased by the inclusion of
                  > Rosemary Sutcliff, as her Arthurian works are some of the best
                  > historical works for the Romano-Celtic period in Britain that I have
                  > ever read.
                  >
                  > Deidre
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                • David Bratman
                  John Davis wrote, ... It _would_ seem to be, except that he s no. 44.
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 17, 2008
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                    John Davis wrote,

                    >Another real omission would seem to be Julian Barnes.

                    It _would_ seem to be, except that he's no. 44.
                  • John Davis
                    Well, consider me thoroughly embarrassed. I read through the list twice and didn t see him. My eyes must have rebelled at seeing Pullman at no. 43 and skipped
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 17, 2008
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                      Well, consider me thoroughly embarrassed.

                      I read through the list twice and didn't see him. My eyes must have rebelled
                      at seeing Pullman at no. 43 and skipped ahead!

                      I'll get my coat.

                      John
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "David Bratman" <dbratman@...>
                      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:16 PM
                      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'


                      > John Davis wrote,
                      >
                      >>Another real omission would seem to be Julian Barnes.
                      >
                      > It _would_ seem to be, except that he's no. 44.
                      >
                    • Adam Smith
                      An interesting list, though of course these lists are made simply to be argued with. There were some important omissions that others have noted - Richard
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jan 21, 2008
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                        An interesting list, though of course these lists are made simply to
                        be argued with.

                        There were some important omissions that others have noted - Richard
                        Adams, Graham Greene, W.H. Auden. The criteria for inclusion on the
                        list seems a bit cloudy.

                        Larkin, though a talented (and at times downright depressing) writer
                        and poet, is a surprise at #1.

                        I was rather surprised to see John Fowles & AS Byatt so far down the
                        list - I think "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Possession" are
                        two of the better postwar English novels.

                        I also think a case could be made for Robert Holdstock - certainly
                        more so, IMHO, than Moorcock.

                        Just my two cents (or less).

                        Adam
                      • John D Rateliff
                        Personally, I was delighted to see Larkin at the top of the list. His reputation only took off late in life, just before his death in 1985, but in the years
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 22, 2008
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                          Personally, I was delighted to see Larkin at the top of the list. His
                          reputation only took off late in life, just before his death in 1985,
                          but in the years since it's pretty well been the consensus that he's
                          the best English poet of the second half of the twentieth century.
                          The big surprise was to see a poet -- any poet -- beat out Orwell (a
                          perennial favorite) and Golding (a Nobel Prize winner) for the top spot.
                          Moorcock of course I'd have left off altogether: even fiftieth
                          place is too generous for an opinionated hack. I don't much like
                          Mieville, but surely he's a better writer and deserves the spot more
                          than Moorcock. I'd also have bumped up Fowles about twenty places,
                          sunk Carter to the very bottom (or removed her altogether), and taken
                          Rushdie out (a publicity stunt gone horribly awry doesn't make him
                          one of the greats).
                          The person I'd most want to see added is Richard Adams: he
                          deserves it for WATERSHIP DOWN alone, while GIRL ON A SWING shows he
                          can write just as well in a completely different mode (turning
                          PORTRAIT OF JENNIE into a creepily effective modern horror novel). I
                          also think Gaiman shd be there, not for his novels or (God knows) his
                          screenplays but for his short stories and young adult fiction:
                          there's no one this side of Ray Bradbury who can equal him there.
                          Congratulations to the list-makers anyway for including Tolkien
                          in the top ten, and for making room for Rowling and (especially)
                          Pullman, though I think he shd have ranked higher than he did.
                          --JDR


                          On Jan 21, 2008, at 8:44 AM, Adam Smith wrote:
                          > An interesting list, though of course these lists are made simply to
                          > be argued with.
                          >
                          > There were some important omissions that others have noted - Richard
                          > Adams, Graham Greene, W.H. Auden. The criteria for inclusion on the
                          > list seems a bit cloudy.
                          >
                          > Larkin, though a talented (and at times downright depressing) writer
                          > and poet, is a surprise at #1.
                          >
                          > I was rather surprised to see John Fowles & AS Byatt so far down the
                          > list - I think "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Possession" are
                          > two of the better postwar English novels.
                          >
                          > I also think a case could be made for Robert Holdstock - certainly
                          > more so, IMHO, than Moorcock.
                          >
                          > Just my two cents (or less).
                          >
                          > Adam
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