Wednesday, November 14, 2007

placeholder/reading list

One book leads to another – or rather, the ignorance revealed in reading one book leads to a desire for remediation – ie, another book. After finishing Strachey's Queen Victoria & Eminent Victorians, & spending the usual amounts of time in class discussing how modernism is a reaction to Victorian culture in general, I found myself reminded how butt-ignorant of Victorian literature in general I am. Okay, so I've read at least one book by all of the "major" novelists & a smattering of poetry by most of the poets (lots & lots of Tennyson, Hopkins, Barrett Browning, & Browning, truth to tell) – and of course more Ruskin than is good for anyone – but it's kind of embarassing that I've probably read more Wilkie Collins novels than Hardies, Eliots, & Dickenses put together. And I can never keep straight which parties Disraeli, Gladstone, & the rest belonged to, much less remember what they stood for.

Solution? Crutches: Jerome Buckley's The Victorian Temper & Richard Altick's Victorian People and Ideas (the former one of my dad's books – he was a largely autodidact Dickens scholar – the latter some sort of hangover from my undergrad days). Yes, very old, very one-sided surveys. But much of it is news to me. Thus far my favorite (in theory) new discovery: The "Spasmodic School" of poets. The work looks godawful, but who can resist the name? Bill Keckler, I hereby invite you to join me in a new grouping of "innovative" poets: THE NEW SPASMODICS.

1 comment:

William Keckler said...

How did I miss this invitation? I hang my head in dejection. Mark, the world knows not the chaos it was spared by my bad timing. I had always thought about creating a new movement and calling it generically "Movement." I pictured all the anthologies as being white with plain black lettering reading "Movement" on them. And of course we could march in the streets with white signs bearing "Movement" on them, or maybe some of them could say "Movement Out" or "The Movement." Instead of critics saying they were moved by our art, we would ask them to respectfully say they felt "movemented" by our art. The blog of the movement could be called "Into the Bowels" and our motto could be "The Time of the Generic is at Hand." I figure our manifesto would be a mirror with the word "MOVEMENT" etched in its surface. OMG, this is so deep I just got lightheaded. I had better go watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special...although Charles Schultz was a Himmler type according to the general PBS wisdom now. His wife was Leni Riefenstahl or something, only she built ice skating rinks, and he stood on her neck. I'll never look at that "Psychiatry 5c" the same way again.