I didn’t feel like the end of this book was as strong as the beginning, despite how pleased I was that he actually discussed a book by a woman author – Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. He didn’t seem to know quite what to do with the less straight-forward storytelling techniques used by the more modern authors. I think that the book was still really good, but it would have been nice if it had a stronger ending.
Auerbach makes some fascinating observations about Shakespeare and Chaucer and various French writers. I have noticed, however, that he has yet to mention a woman writer of any kind. Not a memoirist or even a letter writer, much less a fiction writer of some kind. It’s as though his view of the history of European literature women played no part at all. It’s very frustrating.
The discussion of texts that cover the transition from the ancient tradition to the medieval style was interesting. I found the discussion of medieval chivalric tales fascinating, particularly the importance of women to such tales. The discussion of the story from the Decameron was also interesting, although it made me wonder why The Canterbury Tales was not included.
This book discusses how different works of literature portray reality. A fascinating as the discussions of language and style are sometimes (and they really are fascinating, for example his observations on how Latin lends itself better to straight descriptions than to emotional ones), Auerbach sometimes gets bogged down in them. The discussions of how reality is portrayed and how that affects the tale and the reader tend to be far more focused and connected. I’m finding his discussions of how things like class and manners or expectations are portrayed to be fascinating. Those discussions provide the strongest threads between essays as well.
This is such an interesting book. The beginning talks about the very different ways that The Odyssey and the Old Testament of the Bible describe and incorporate scenes of everyday domestic life into the stories and how the internal thoughts of the characters are handled differently. It got me thinking about those things in other works and how most of the time they go almost unnoticed. It’s fascinating.
I’m not as impressed with this book as I was by the other two that I read from the series. It’s not as well organized and has some information that’s not entirely accurate. It also dates itself a lot more than the other two did. There is some interesting information, but it’s just not what I would expect it to be after having read those first two titles from this series.
There’s a very interesting collection of suggested books, movies and websites. Some clear choices, but also some things I expected to find weren’t there. For example, the book talked quite a bit about Tinkerbell and her new series, but nothing about her was included in the list (not any Disney Fairies movies or books, nor any version of Peter Pan – play, book or any of the movies).
This was a surprisingly entertaining book and had lots of interesting information. It’s an incredibly brief overview of fairy and elf lore history, but considering the length, they did a great job choosing good information to include. I was highly amused by the sections about D&D and MMOs at the end (although Michael was upset that the image they claimed showed people playing WoW actually showed them playing Starcraft).
I really liked this book. It looked at mermaid lore from all over the world and how it was passed down and spread. It talked about mermaid hoaxes throughout history and talked about some of the most famous and significant mermaid movies and books. There was even a brief comparison of Andersen’s fairy tale and Disney’s movie version of it. I enjoyed this book a great deal and thought it was excellent.
So far this is a very interesting book. It promises to discuss the history of mermaid lore and tales. The most common features of mermaid tales and descriptions have already been laid out. The difference between mermaids and mermen in the lore speak to their origins (male sailors) and the different roles they played. Mermaids were the temptresses, the beauties one could dream of loving even if there could be no real hope, while mermen were the monsters, striving only to destroy men and ships, to defend their dominance over the sea. No wonder mermaid stories are more popular! But that does speak to attitudes about gender differences more generally, as well.
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