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Cool new (old) stuff

September 25, 2012

Being a list of things I have read over the last year (not necessarily for school) and would recommend to other people (things strongly recommended bolded). I’m sticking to literary things with this list; the philosophy one is shorter and I’m much less confident that I’ve actually gained much from it (other than a sense of how much I do not know).

I’m astonished how much good stuff is on this list that I’d only vaguely even heard of in undergrad. I’m also astonished at how little there is here that really feels new; the literature is mostly modernist, but I’m familiar with modernism already,  and the criticism is all pre-1980. I’ve run into some postmodernism but not been thrilled with it, and apparently I’ve still been putting off dealing with this thing I want to call metamodernism (except Coetzee and Cavell sort of count as it, as, maybe, does Girard)…

Listed in something vaguely resembling chronological order:

  • William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Coriolanus
  • Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms
  • Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Eric Auerbach’s Mimesis
  • J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, Diary of a Bad Year, and Waiting for the Barbarians
  • Josef Pieper’s Only the Lover Sings
  • David Jones’s In Parenthesis and The Anathemata
  • Geoffrey Hill’s poetry, especially The Triumph of Love
  • W.H. Auden’s The Sea and the Mirror
  • Czeslaw Milosz’s poetry
  • Gottfried Benn’s poetry
  • Paul Valery’s poetry and writing, especially Eupalinos the Architect
  • Samuel Beckett’s Endgame and Waiting for Godot
  • Formulations of what Sigmund Freud is doing that don’t sound like complete nonsense
  • Stanley Cavell’s writings on Shakespeare and genre, especially The Avoidance of Love
  • Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy
  • Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism
  • Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry
  • Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men
  • James Joyce’s Ulysses
  • Simone Weil’s “The Iliad or the Poem of Force”
  • Rene Girard’s attacks on Freud and views on mimesis, violence, and sacrifice, as in To double business bound
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