Here we are again, another batch of mini-reviews that couldn’t possibly warrant their own review posts. This pbatch is mostly plays/poetry-oriented, as well as one DNF *le sigh*
Without further ado…
By: Percy Bysshe Shelley
One of the most ambitious dramatic poems ever written, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound tells the story of the Titan Prometheus who gave mankind the secret of fire in open defiance to the decrees of Zeus, and who, as punishment for this generosity, was chained to the Caucasus Mountains and exposed to horrible tortures. Inspired by the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus, Shelley’s play serves as a sort of sequel, matching its Greek predecessor in stature and pure poetic power. It depicts its philanthropist hero’s ultimate triumph over the superstition and bigotry of the gods. As Shelley himself stated in his Defence of Poetry, Prometheus Unbound awakens and enlarges the mind.
I honestly wouldn’t have thought about picking up this dramatic play anytime in the near future except that it was mentioned in Deborah Harkness’ The Book of Life (review) and my curiosity was piqued (turns out though that the lines Matthew recited was not from this dramatic poem but from another poem, “The Cloud” (read here), but anyway). It’s an intriguing play following Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound and it’s an intriguing look at humanity and nature, good and evil, freedom and enslavement, etc. It’s very lyrical–so much so that it’s very easy to get lost in the plot (pfft, do I even know the plot?). But it’s still very pretty to read with some very poignant passages here and there.
Oh, apparently The Painted Veil (review) got its title from a line in this epic. How did that detail from that novel slip my mind? 😛 Anyway, if you’re looking for some epic poetry to read with some really gorgeous passages, I think this is worth checking out 🙂
I may not be hosting or taking part in a re-reading challenge or anything this year, but I am continuing my efforts to re-read a few books I haven’t read in a while or re-read a few books before checking out the latest/last installment in a trilogy or series. There are spoilers for some of the following commentaries, so if you haven’t read the book yet, be sure to click on the link redirecting to my original review (which, if there are major spoilers, will at least be behind a cut) 😉
By: Thomas More
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my copy
In Utopia Thomas More painted a fantastical picture of a distant island where society is perfected and people live in harmony, yet its title means ‘no place’, and More’s hugely influential work was ultimately an attack on his own corrupt, dangerous times, and on the failings of humanity.
I read this book some five years ago when it was released as part of the third cycle of Penguin Great Ideas books. I had been meaning to re-read it again for so long and was prompted to pick it up again earlier this year with Wolf Hall airing. Reading this time around I able to appreciate more why the piece was structured the way it was (structured in a dialogue format akin to the Greek philosopers (Plato comes to mind)) and where the element of criticising his own times came in. It’s fantastical, but at the same time you can see where his society and his beliefs influenced much of the constructs that this utopian society contained.
a.k.a. the poetry edition 🙂 I made it a point this year to read some/more poetry, so that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since January. I’ve been reading them in bouts, which is a nice break from reading the heftier novels on my shelf and whatnot. Without further ado, poetry books read and reviewed:
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
By: Emily Dickinson
It is here, in “The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson,” that we witness her singular poetic depth and range of style. Collected are the first three series of her posthumous publishing career coming out respectively in 1890, 1891, and 1896. The myth that surrounds Dickinson’s life is enhanced by the ethereal quality of her poetry. With the coming of New Criticism in the 1930’s and 40’s, Dickinson experienced unprecedented posthumous acclaim, solidifying her place in American letters. Dickinson’s idiom is as varied as her meter, and her unconventional use of punctuation, metaphor, and image make her an innovator of the lyric akin to many of the early modernists. These poems examine love, death, and nature with an effortless yet complex tone and voice. Now one of the most read and admired American poets, Dickinson’s poetry continues to resonate with readers.
I’ve long heard and encountered Emily Dickinson’s poems in passing, but I never focused on her works before. Reading her collected poems is quite an experience because it enables its reader to see the progression of her poetic style. Much of the themes were pretty consistent over the years, though there are notable emphasis on particular themes as the years progressed, a deeper reflection into life, death, and the passage of time, many of which are insightful and lovely to read. I think my favourite poems from her come from the earlier stages of her writing; it’s not just because they are shorter, but there’s something about shorter poems that capture words and feelings succinctly.
Here we are again, another batch of mini-reviews that couldn’t possibly warrant their own review posts. This also is likely the last one of the year seeing as we’re in the last quarter of the year, things are busy on my end, and my to-read pile is still pretty tall 😉 Included in this batch of reviews are:
This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge & the Everything España 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in. May contain some spoilers ahead!
I used to do this years ago where, if I didn’t have too much to say about a particular book I read, I’d just post a brief line about it. The following are books I’ve re-read as part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in; these books either were previously (and recently) reviewed at length or I didn’t have too many thoughts on it to warrant its own post.
So, without further ado, the following titles are included in this batch of reviews (you can click on the name to be redirected to the specific review):
May contain some spoilers ahead!