Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Reading and Listening

I've yet to develop the habit of regular posting in this blog. I say "in" and not "on" deliberately. Finding this conjunction to more accurately describe my relation to The Web and The Net. I started writing back in 2007 and haven't written since, so here is attempt number two. Starting the summer off I had two guides to my reading: the first was that I wanted to acquaint myself with more Medieval lit and the second was from two works of Agnus Fletcher, his book A New Theory for American Poetry and his recent essay Allegories without Ideas. Knowing the importance of Goethe to the Romantics I wanted to dive into the titan of Deutschland as well.

The transition between middle ages and Goethe fit nicely since my guide was the German scholar E.R. Curtius who sees Goethe and not the Renaissance as the dividing line between Pre-modern and modern societies with Goethe marking the ending not the begining of the new era. I read through Curtius masterpiece European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, a really wonderful book. Emerson and Carlyle were devoted followers of Goethe and in Emerson's case it is likely due to his admiration of Goethe as the founder and consolidater of a whole culture. What Goethe did for Germany Emerson wished to due for America. As Goethe once said "Only by making the riches of others our own do we bring anything great into being."

From the Fletcher angle I've read books from Paul Auster, Don Delillo's The Names and Mao II, Saramago's All the Names and hoped to read Delaney's Dhalgren but haven't gotten to it and looks as though it will now be on the backburner for some time now. Also read Ashbery's long poem Flowchart a few times and am appreciating the poem more as the wave like structure becomes clearer.

On the side I read John Kinsella's Divine Comedy and am continuing to appreciate this writer more and more.

Through all this lies my dual interest in a kind of natural supernaturalism and a greater understanding of the importance of spirituality to culture and culture to life.

I know this post is sloppy but hopefully it is simply a warmup.