Everything is Oll Korrect!

An eclectic bibliophile's journal…

Tag: Charles Baudelaire

Edgar Allan Poe and Engineering Poetry

There’s no better time than October to revisit Edgar Allan Poe, and since I already covered his short stories last year, this year I thought we’d move on to his poetry. Unfortunately, we risk doing so at some thematic loss. Yes, his short stories are mostly horror, and so is his most famous poem, “The Raven,” but most of his poetry doesn’t really fit that category. Some of it’s still morbid, though, as beautiful young women have the same astonishing mortality rate here as they do in the stories, but to keep things seasonal I’ll focus on his most popular work.

Before diving in, though, it’s worth considering how Poe approached poetry. He describes at some length in his essay “The Philosophy of Composition” not only his general theory of what a poem should seek to accomplish, but illustrates it by describing how he wrote “The Raven.” The whole thing is worth reading, but there are a couple main points relevant here. First, he says that when he begins writing, he “prefer[s] commencing with the consideration of anĀ effect.” In his short stories, that effect or impression is typically horror; in “The Raven” Poe says that the poem’s province is beauty, and melancholy the tone.…

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The Bibliophile’s Journal

It’s been a while since I’ve done a round-up post, but I’ve of course continued to read quite a bit. Here’s the highlight reel.

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien – I’ve been meaning to re-read The Lord of the Rings, since I haven’t read it since shortly before the film trilogy came out ten years ago. I tend to approach long books reluctantly, though, so it’s taken me a long time to get around to it. I’m about 2/3 through, though, and loving it. Tolkien does a fine job easing the reader into the world of Middle Earth, avoiding long infodumps by giving the reader just enough information to make each place feel real, and incorporating explanations into dialogue whenever possible. The hobbits work well as our innocents abroad. He also walks a fine line in his prose style, which is generally straightforward but not too plain.

Twenty Prose Poems by Charles Baudelaire – I just finished this one. It’s the first book I’ve read in French, though I should note that it’s fairly short and a parallel text edition. I wouldn’t call it profound, but I always enjoy reading Baudelaire’s dark, dry humour combined with some fine individual lines.

X by CLAMP – I just finished the recently-released third omnibus volume of the comic. The art looks excellent, as most of CLAMP’s work does, though a few times they get a little carried away with unusual panel layouts, but I’ll confess I have barely a clue as to what’s going on. All the talk about the protagonist deciding the fate of the world has gotten rather tiresome, and I suspect that half the characters could fairly easily have been left out, though of course I can’t say for sure midway through the story. The generous gore has lost some of its effect by volume three. I do own a copy of the film, and plan to watch that… well, it’s in the backlog, so I’ll get around to it at some point.…

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Analects of an Autodidact

Don’t you hate it when a blogger introduces a post by apologising for only being able to write up something short and quick, because he’s been busy with school?

*ahem*

Well, anyway, vocational training aside, it’s been an exciting week for me, because I’m in the home stretch of Sandberg and Tatham’s French for Reading, which I’ve mentioned before. All the main lessons are finished, I just need to get through a final section of reading passages, which I’ll probably finish this week. After that, I’ll start taking my newly-gained ability into the wild, starting off slow with Le Petit Prince, then parallel-text editions of Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, all of which I already own. Once I’m reasonably confident, I’ll order Les Miserables.…

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