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Re: Zhivago / Fionavar / Green Angel Tower WAS Re: [mythsoc] Not finishing books, was famfic

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  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
    I haven t read the Pasternak novel myself, although it s on my list (so I should get to it sometime in 2007, at the rate I m going.) Ebert calls it dated and
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 4, 2003
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      I haven't read the Pasternak novel myself, although it's on my list (so I
      should get to it sometime in 2007, at the rate I'm going.) Ebert calls it
      dated and probably he's right. >>

      But we can still enjoy things that are "dated." In fact we can, in some
      cases and I"m not saying this is one, use them to recall ourselves to our
      senses.

      >Oh, you'll know. Whether they're _sexy_ sex scenes is another question
      entirely. I must admit that, except in weak moments, I'm of the school that
      prefers sex scenes to read something like this: "Afterwards..." >

      Depends. Sometimes I like the "afterwards" or even the .... realizes
      chapters later that the two had become closer than just friends. Other
      times, well.... I like the ones that burn through my nervous system,
      especially unexpectedly. Like Daniel Keyes Moran's one scene in _The Last
      Dancer_. (This may be one of the books he doesn't use his middle name, I
      can't recall).

      > That is an excellent question. People like me toss "cliche" around as a
      pejorative without thinking too much about what it means. One can start by
      saying that a cliche is a literary or filmic device too often repeated, but
      certainly _repetition_ isn't all that makes a cliche; otherwise every trick
      of the trade would be cliched. I think what makes a cliche is its
      superficiality. A cliche always is a shortcut to conveying an moral or
      emotional depth that the author or filmmaker is either too lazy or not
      competent enough to get across in a better way. >

      OK. Or something we've just heard too often and want to scream. Like,
      (when a longsword is in use), "split like a ripe melon".

      << Take, for example, the device of setting an emotional confrontation
      between two lovers in a sudden rainstorm. We're supposed to accept that
      rain as a substitute for the writing or acting that ought to be telling us
      about the lovers' stormy
      emotions. >

      Oh. And I thought it was just an overdose of sensory stimuli. The rain
      and the smell of the weather I mean. Like mood music. Then again, there
      is a storm scene in Dirty Dancing.

      << If cliches have an opposite, it is in writing and cinema that seems
      innocent and even trivial on the surface yet reveals great depths on
      inspection and rereading. To pick an example from (what else?) _The Lord of
      the Rings_, take the scene on Weathertop when Strider, asked to pass the
      time by singing a song or reading a poem, retells part of the Lay of
      Leithian, Beren's and Luthien's story. On the surface it's just another
      story of olden times, like so many others in the LotR, but the attentive
      reader notices Strider's absorption in his own storytelling, and only after
      reading the whole story do we realize that it was _his_ story he was
      telling. There's hidden depth for you! >>

      Cool, I will have to go look at that. I like these double-entendres.

      > Yup. Like Turtledove's thinly disguised gloss on Byzantine Greece in the
      Misplaced Legion stories, or Guy Kay's gloss on various European cultures
      in his books, or Jo Walton's (sorry, Jo) gloss on post-Roman Britain in
      _The King's Peace_. Some people lap that stuff up, and I suppose there's a
      melancholy pleasure to be derived from picking out the correspondences, but
      I think it's a sign either of laziness or cowardice: t he author either
      couldn't think up a fully realized fictional universe of his own so had to
      turn to someone else's, or the author actually wanted to say something
      about the real Christianize Britain (or whatever) but felt that it was
      safer to allegorize and disguise the real intent of the story. >

      Or the matiere (is that the right word?) is just so beyond popular, it is
      irresistable and we never tire of it. I don't think that is always a
      failure. Sometimes the failure is in execution. Or just a matter of not
      the right reader for the book. Was true in Chretien de Troye's day and
      it's true in ours.

      Lizzie Triano
      lizziewriter@...
      amor vincit omnia
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