Crap books and good books (was Re: Best Books of 2004)

Otter Perry ottertee at
Thu Jan 20 10:41:03 EST 2005

On Thursday, January 20, 2005, at 01:22 AM, Margaret Ball wrote:

>> while I found
>> _Sartor Resartus_ rather harder-going, I wondered if I was going 
>> insane
>> when the section leader in the class I was discussing it in said that 
>> it
>> was a given that nobody could possibly like it at all without reading 
>> lots
>> of critical material explaining the whole thing.
> And I had the opposite experience with Goethe's Faust Part II. First 
> encountered it in English translation, whereupon Frau Lindemann said 
> that of course nobody could appreciate it without reading it in the 
> original. Came up against it a couple of years later in a German 
> Literature class where the teacher said that we couldn't really 
> appreciate it wihout lots and lots of footnotes explaining the 
> contemporary literary figures Goethe was parodying. Third time, in 
> grad school, we got the complete footnotes and discussion. At which 
> point I decided that it might have been a hell of a lot of fun to the 
> contemporaries, but as far as I'm concerned, you just had to be there.

All I remember about Faust was thinking that he needed modern special
effects and that was in 1968 or so, so think how happy he would be with
today's special effects.

Speaking of translating things from German, one of the things we had
to read at university was Kant.  And one of the things we were told
was that German Kant scholars read Kant in the English translation
because it was so brilliant.  [Norman Kemp Smith is the translator
in question.]


For me, there is one central question in
the whole gay marriage controversy:  What
do you care? .... I have only this advice to
offer those of you who oppose gay marriage:
don't marry a homosexual.

                      - Beth Quinn, Times Herald-Record

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