Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jabbo Smith

That's who is playing just now, remarkable stuff, though more folk-driven than his rival Pops. I shouldn't stress that with any authority, as I have none in such matters. Though there does appear to be trappings of an almost country refrain some of Jabbo's music, something i haven't found in my meager collection of the Hot Fives and Sevens. It is a good morning , but not as miraculous as yesterday. I read on the porch for a while and continue to be impressed by Kellman's superb biograhy of Henry Roth, though I have noted an ostentacious use of unrelated data, like the notation of a tornado which struck St. Louis in 1905 (I believe) one year befor Roth's father visited the city. My reading was interrupted by a surprise visit by Lloyd, and a good time was had, despite the humidity.

I read more in the afternoon, at the cinema, as my wife and I waited to see Broken Flowers. I see that the Roth bio has a 2 page review in the Times Book Review today, though I am reluctant to read it, though it isn't as if it will spoil the ending or anything.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

generous morning

While it is remains the earliest I have awoken unsolicited for some time, the day is robust with promise as espresso flows like soma, it is Bergson in a demitasse. I was restless last night and avoiding the lures of DVDs I paused to cinsider my self-imposed Dogma for August. I believe that i stated that my choices in fiction woul be before 1940. Hating myself for this diversion, I picked up the biography of Henry Roth that Joel lavishly bought me for my birthday. i read 30 pages and was impressed by opening salvo in an assault, if you will, on such enigmatic participant in the American literary enterprise. I also harbor suspicions about the biographer's orientation in terms of ethnic studies and sexual orientation. It should make an apprpriate detour.

I plan on returning to Howards End, though it is odd, that when related in a pub, the reply is often, so, do you like People's Histories?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


"I began to think that the very soul of the world is economic, and that the lowest abyss is not the absence of love, but the absence of coin."

The above is not from the Orwell but rather Forster and from the the rather opaque protaganist of Margaret Schlegel. Her response is slashing response to a disagreement over propriety. The novel is unfolding quickly as I keep swallowing Alleve and longing for normal state of affairs in my cavities.

Homage To Catalonia arrived today, nearly ten days after i ordered it from some shop in CA. It will likely be next, though I have considered Musil or perhaps Zola.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

August and the Down and Out

The Good Soldier was finished with minimum flash and fury. It is a tragic tale and an inventive one, echoing angles and retractions that Nabokov would later master. Its creepy symbolism surrounding the month of August was heavy-handed but effective to a degree.

I pounced upon Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying next. Racked by chronic allergies, I admired the book, though it is woefully titled. The fate of young Comstock was one for pity and intrinsic empathy. Rogue elements of catty self-interest were an intriguing addition.

I think Howard's End may be next, if only to prepare for Zadie's new book.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

bertolucci and sister elizabeth

Sister Carrie was finished last night and I have thought since about its publication in 1900, the year of Nietzsche's death, and whether other modernist ideas had crept across the pond to influence the pages. I have read a few sources that declare that Dreiser had not read Zola at this point. I wonder though whether Dostoevsky and, perhaps, Mallerme had not burrowed into Ted's skin by this time.

Much as the Dickens found both London and Paris nefarious, New York and Chicago are twin siblings of material ague for Carrie and her doomed lover. The novel was quite sound, if operatic.

I will now shift my sights to The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford. It was quite delightful to be in a groaning queue this a.m. at the post office and laugh aloud at the opening salvoes in the saddest story ever told.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Naturalism for Now

Having read Lucky Jim and Sebald's Natural History of Destruction. The former was delight and the latter more literary criticism than history (bad for my dad as it was my gift to him.) The book was still a solemn work and I especially appreciated his words on Peter Weiss, who is just now being translated into English.

My dogma days have begun with Sister Carrie.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dogma 05?

Thanks to anecdotal evidence supplied tippishly by my mate Joel, I have decided that for a month my fiction selections will only be from those prior to 1940. It appears to be a cleansing decision, eschewing on the short term the vanity of contemporary texts.