A.S. Byatt · Alexander Pushkin

Notes

Since I’m still unable to properly concentrate on thinking and writing about what I’ve read these past two months (not much, really) I feel the urge to at least note down some of the thoughts I would be interested in exploring further when the time and circumstances find it kind to permit:

  • There’s an exceptionally powerful story in Byatt’s Little Black Book of Stories titled “The Thing in the Forest”. What intrigued me the most is this sentence: “I think there are things that are real – more real than we are – but mostly we don’t cross their paths, or they don’t cross ours.” I’ve encountered the same idea a few weeks earlier in The Last Unicorn. So, what do these two writers have in mind when declaring something “more real”? Exciting.
  • Rereading Pushkin’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan made me aware of the important role the water plays in this poem. Four aspects of its power are accentuated very clearly – to give and take life, to transform and to connect.
  • I found several chapters in Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser very interesting (on temporal passage, logical lessons, induction..) but there were others.. well, there was one in particular – “Unruly Alice: A Feminist View of Some Adventures in Wonderland” written by Megan S. Lloyd – which serves as a perfect example of “anything goes philosophy”. Quite embarrassing.
  • The excellence of Andrić’s Bosnian Chronicle gives a lot to think about. To understand how he makes the scenes, the landscapes and characters so vivid I would have to dissect every sentence in the novel. I am sure I will never get to it, but I’ll leave the note as a reminder just in case…
  • One of the first impressions I had reading Maupassant’s Yvette was that it is unquestionably, categorically French. Which made me wonder about my preconceptions.
  • I failed to enjoy Dandelion Wine. Why?
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Alexander Pushkin · life

Not a very book-related post

I am not yet in the mood for writing but, in order not to fall into the still darker waters of indolence, I am now recruiting every atom of my will to make myself write.

The question is – what about?

I should be writing about Eugene Onegin since I joined the read-along at Tanglewood and am expected to say something about it, but, at the moment, I can not. I am not inclined to pointing out the obvious – the contrasting characters of Tatyana and Eugene, the content and significance of narrator’s digressions, the way he’s coloring personalities by their reading preferences, the wonderful brevity and depth of dialogues – and I am not particularly willing to indulge into a more substantial analysis… Being fairly curious about Tatyana – a fellow introvert, I was amused to find out – it could be interesting to write about her, but, again, I can’t. In order to say anything, I would have to be in command of all the information Pushkin provides and I only just finished the fifth chapter this morning. So…

I will just make a couple of notes on the weather and try to act satisfied with it.

It is 13°C outside, slightly windy and very springish. So much so that Nature, a bit confused it seems, rushed to meet the requirements of a season that apparently came, two months early. Few beautiful primrose flowers showed their pale-yellow heads here in my small garden, and there are reports, particularly from the south of the country, on bees swarming and trees blossoming. There were also stories of fruit maturing pretty deliciously. It is all immensely interesting and spirit-lifting (how could it not be – no more depressing grayness! cheers for the light-blue sky and the mighty sun!) but also a bit sad because, in two weeks time, those fragile beings will be frozen to death. It is, after all, winter and the snow will fall soon enough.