January 2023

My book of the month for January was Patrick Hamilton's 1947 novel, The Slaves of Solitude

Note: (R) indicates rereading

For the Patrick Hamilton The Slaves of Solitude video: Uploaded to YouTube 2023/01/18
Far more novelistic than Hangover Square, utilize numerous techniques: free indirect discourse, internal monologue, analepsis, that are specific to its form. It even employs its own orthographic conventions to represent the speech of one of its characters.
Sean French, Patrick Hamilton: A Life ch.18
John Mepham, British Fiction after Modernism ch. 6
Alastair Renfrew, Mikhail Bakhtin
The Slaves of Solitude exemplifies Bakhtin's conception of language, it's a highly dialogical novel.
Ian Burkitt Self and others in the field of perception: The role of micro-dialogue, feeling, and emotion in perception
Numerous insights applicable to Hamilton's novel, particularly the example he gives from Dostoyevsky's novel, The Poor Folk, which points to Mr Thwaites's sense of inferiority.

For the "Treasure" video:
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Treasure of Franchard
(R) G.K. Chesterton, The Honour of Israel Gow
(R) Emma McEvoy, G.K. Chesterton and J. Meade Falkner's Rewritings of the Gothic
(R) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Musgrave Ritual
Honoré de Balzac, Facino Cane
(R) Edgar Allan Poe, The Gold-Bug

For the "Crocodile" video:
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Crocodile
(R) Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
(R) Christina Rossetti, My Dream

For the "Beasts Behaving Badly" video: Uploaded to YouTube 2023/01/07
Leonora Carrington, The Debutante
Very similar to Saki in how it uses an animal in a satirical way. Excellent. Carrington's actual debut took place in the presence of the king.
Angela Carter, The Werewolf
Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood
(R) Saki, Esme
Society dame tells her own 'hunting story' in which a hyena eats a child.

For the Reinaldo Arenas video: Uploaded to YouTube 2023/01/28
Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls (1993)
A mix of Genet with re to his fugitive status/incarcertaion and Jarman with re to how his text blends art, sex, and activism. Get photos together. p177-224 his time in prison, such good writing.
Fernando Soto, Reinaldo Arenas (1998)
Chapter 1 on Before Night Falls makes a series of good points about Arenas's views on fiction/autobiography and the structure of the work itself. Soto doesn't quite draw out his insights, but what he deems part 1 has spaces where Arenas can completely withdraw from society, part 2 is both his engagement with a society that is transformed into a vast open prison, part 3 is his having escaped but also having been cast out from society.
Jorge Edwards Antes que Anochezca
2001 essay on the release of the movie Before Night Falls in Chile by someone who knew Reinaldo Arenas.
QUOTE: "En comparacion, las carceles francesas de un Jean Genet parecen hoteles de cinco estrellas." / "In comparison, the French prisons of Jean Genet are five star hotels."
YouTube interview with Julian Schnabel and Javier Bardem about their adaptation of Arenas's Before Night Falls.

Not used yet:
Angela Carter, The Kiss
Set in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, moves from what reads like travel writing into a historical account and then into a fairy tale that folds back to touch on the previous sections, filling them with magic. .
Angela Carter, The Snow Child
Another tale set in winter, this one features a sequence of magical transformations that mirror the conflicting desires of a husband and wife.
Leonora Carrington, The Skeleton's Holiday
Pure imagination; a sequence of images and events, (many of them humorous), in the life of a skeleton.
Leonora Carrington, Down Below
Absolutely extraordinary autobiographical account of Carrington's period of insanity in the Spain of 1943.
Mara R. Witzling ed., Voicing our Visions: Writings by Women Artists
Brief overview of Carrington's life and career as painter and writer.
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
Very interesting form, that of a set of instructions/injunctions being given to a girl, with her occasional protests.
Steven Millhauser, The Knife Thrower
Far more recent than my usual reading. Recommended by jamesdedood. Concerns a transgressive display of knife throwing in which the audience (reader) are implicated.
(R) Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One
R.K. Narayan, An Astrologer's Day
Perhaps rather predictable in terms of its twist, but very beautifully rendered tale.
R.K. Narayan, The Missing Mail
Excellent story about a meddling mail man and his uninvited intervention in a family's affairs.
Nadine Gordimer, My Son's Story
Finished first 30 pages. While this is a very intelligent writer, a subtle one, too, there is absolutely no life in these characters. It would make a good movie, though, with actors breathing the necessary life into it.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Birth of a Dream Weaver (2016)
Excellent book focusing on the author's education, first at high school in his native Kenya, then five years at a university in Uganda. A good way to begin reading African writing, learning about postcolonialism.