Monday, May 19, 2008
Dangerously Reading v. 5
This month's selection was Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms. I went through a bit of a Capote phase obsession a couple years ago so I've already read this one. I enjoyed it but didn't need to revisit it. Instead, I substituted a Virginia Woolf selection. I decided upon A Room of One's Own. Even though I finished it yesterday, I still can't decide how I feel about it.

On one hand, it was very poignant and ahead of its time. Written in 1928, the book is a combination of lectures given by Woolf about art, fiction, intellectualism and sexism. In particular, I enjoyed her discussion about who controls "knowledge" and who has access to it. Her observations were true then and still ring correct today. I also enjoyed how applicable her words were to all writers and thinkers. I know the book is specifically about fiction but I found a lot of richness about writing in general.

However, the book was so boring. I hate to say it but I found my mind wandering constantly. She used so many examples that her argument got redundant after a while.

Of course, it is only a 2008 world that allows me this critique. I cannot imagine reading this work in 1928. It would have been groundbreaking and controversial.

Despite my boredom, I found lots of words of wisdom:

Pg. 5 "At any rate, when a subject is highly controversial--and any question about sex is that--one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. "

Pg. 30 "The human frame being what it is, heart, body and brain all mixed together, and not contained in separate compartments as they will be no doubt i another million years, a good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

Pg. 40 "...and I thought of the organ booming in the chapel and of the shut doors of the library; and I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse perhaps to be locked in; and, thinking of the safety and prosperity of the one sex and of the poverty and insecurity of the other and of the effect of tradition and of the lack of tradition upon the mind of a writer, I thought at last that it was time to roll up the crumpled skin of the day, with its arguments and its impressions and its anger and its laughter, and case it into the hedge. "

Pg. 152 "It would be a thousand pities of women wrote like men, or lived like men, or looked like men, for if two sexes are quite inadequate, considering the vastness and variety of the world, how should we manage with only one?"

Pg. 188 "Intellectual freedom depends upon material things."

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Blogger Andi said...

I read this one as an undergraduate for a criticism course. At the time I totally loved it, but I wonder what I would think with another reading? I certainly think I'd still love it in regards to its uniqueness in the context of history, but I wonder if I'd be bored out of my skull.

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