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Author Topic: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?  (Read 1326 times)

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Offline Maxwell MalamuteTopic starter

Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« on: June 13, 2011, 05:21:30 PM »
Just wondering if there's any other English majors out there, and fans of literature in general. Me I majored in English, waited tables, ended up working in a library. In any event, I read a great deal, from the serious to the silly, though I am a major fan of American literature from the 1900's on, especially Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, and on and on. Also, foreign lit of the same period, Kafka, Robert Musil and his never finished book, The Man Without Qualities, and on and on. Also, a huge fan of 'young adult' fiction, things like Julie of the Wolves, My Side of the Mountain, Gary Paulson and his books Hatchet and Dogsong, and boys and nature kinds of stories. And old comic books...especially golden/silver age, and undergrounds from the 70s-80s.

Offline Shjade

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 05:29:27 PM »
English Major: yes.

Literature fan: ehhh... not so much, really. Not in the sense of older "classic" literature, at least. Most of the classics I've tried to read either bored or frustrated me. Frankenstein, for instance, did both. Really depends on the story and the author for me; I'm not a fan of any entire genre or period. Frost poetry's lovely, To The Lighthouse was fascinating (if incredibly slow reading), and so on - individual instances of interest amid the mass.

Offline Maxwell MalamuteTopic starter

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 05:48:34 PM »
Yeah, I would say my tastes tend towards the 20th century, especially things that can meld a bit of humor with a dark, serious side. I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and that was much better than expected; I think she wrote it maybe 3 years ago. I always keep on the lookout for new authors. Now I'm reading Timeskipper by an Italian author, Stefano Beni, and it's pretty amazing...very funny and bawdy, with a bit of a sci-fi aspect, a raunchy, carnivalesque coming of age story. I generally like something with teeth, so to speak, or some deeper meaning, though for more light reading, I like things like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, and hard-boiled detective stuff. I guess it's hard to say what catches my fancy; I bounce a lot, between genres :P


Offline Malefique

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 04:12:32 AM »
Not an English major, myself, my dual degree included Roman and Russian literature (and yes, I do enjoy Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and co, though I'm not much for Tolstoy; and I absolutely love Latin comedy and poetry).  But I do enjoy classic literature, though I'm not well acquainted with the American side - Henry James and Robert Frost are about the extent of it, though I've read all of HP Lovecraft.  I do love the pulp noir, though, one of my favourite novels is The Maltese Falcon.  And I love Damon Runyan and Thorne Smith. 

Offline Lilias

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 04:19:50 AM »
We don't call them majors in Europe, but essentially yes, I read English and Greek literature in university. I'm a linguist specialising in teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language), but I've been reading any kind of literature I could get my hands on since I was 3 or so, and won't be stopping any time soon. I do gravitate towards the speculative end of the spectrum, with a side of nonfiction thrown in for balance, but hey, if it's printed and (optionally) bound, I'll read it.

Maxwell, looks like the 50 Book Challenge is right up your alley :D

Offline Shjade

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 11:00:49 AM »
I'm a linguist specialising in teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language)
Not really on topic, but I have to say that makes so much more sense than ESL (English as a Second Language) for the class title.

Offline Lilias

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 11:16:17 AM »
Not really on topic, but I have to say that makes so much more sense than ESL (English as a Second Language) for the class title.

They are not the same thing, you know. English is a second language to natives of countries where English is an official language but who have another language as their first (French Canadians, Indians, etc). It's a foreign language to everyone else. My training was specifically geared towards learners who are native Greek speakers, and I have yet to teach anyone with a different background.

Offline Shjade

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 07:57:44 PM »
It's just always seemed like a rather presumptuous name for a class, assuming English is the students' second language. What if it's their third? Or fourth? *shrugs*

Offline Maxwell MalamuteTopic starter

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 11:21:28 PM »
We don't call them majors in Europe, but essentially yes, I read English and Greek literature in university. I'm a linguist specialising in teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language), but I've been reading any kind of literature I could get my hands on since I was 3 or so, and won't be stopping any time soon. I do gravitate towards the speculative end of the spectrum, with a side of nonfiction thrown in for balance, but hey, if it's printed and (optionally) bound, I'll read it.

Maxwell, looks like the 50 Book Challenge is right up your alley :D

What are some authors you like toward the speculative side?

I read a bit of sci-fi, my two favorites are Phillip K. Dick, for the way he portrays things like a drug-induced funhouse of paranoia, riddles by various conspiracies, and Lem.

Jorge Luis Borges comes to mind when I think of speculative, as well.

Oh, and I will have to try that 50 book challenge. Working in a 7 story university library will make it a bit easier, as well :)

@Malefique: I loved the Russian literature I have read, mainly short stories by the authors you listed. I still need to read the great Russian novels, though! Well, there is still time.


Offline Malefique

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 03:50:04 AM »
If you read only one Russian novel in your life, may I suggest Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita?  I loved Crime and Punishment, Dead Souls, A Hero of Our Time and many other Russian Classics, but that one is the best I ever read. 

Offline Lilias

Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 04:00:55 AM »
What are some authors you like toward the speculative side?

It all started with Tolkien, but was never meant to end there. ;) I love Marion Zimmer Bradley, especially the way she blends science fiction and fantasy in the Darkover series. Terry Pratchett is hilarious, and Jim Butcher got me into the urban fantasy niche beyond my favourite tabletop RPGs. Can't beat H.P. Lovecraft or Stephen King for effective horror either. :-)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 04:02:34 AM by Lilias »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Any other English Majors/Literature fans?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 10:45:39 AM »
If you read only one Russian novel in your life, may I suggest Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita?  I loved Crime and Punishment, Dead Souls, A Hero of Our Time and many other Russian Classics, but that one is the best I ever read.

Russia, yes! I read A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch and The Gulag Archipelago (yes, in full) when I was thirteen- fourteen and was very impressed, not simply with the subject matter but with Solzhenitsyn's language and style - it's rich, saturated, human, and intertwines pathos, satire, precision, probing empathy and humour. I couldn't read him in the original for sure, would very much want to, but the translations into Swedish are top rate and intimately catch the breath of his way of writing. I went on to read his autobiography The Oak and the Calf and much more.

He was deliberately trying to recreate and rejuvenate strains of language that had dropped out during the Soviet era, or even before then, both folk language and literary idioms, and it hit the strings powerfully with me. He's much more than simply "the man who exposed the camp system" (the main outlines were known before in the West, and his writing is by no means just about prison and camp life). I have a huge respect for both the man and the writer, just as much when I sometimes don't agree with his views on history and politics. I can't wait to read the letters edition that will no doubt appear one day.

He became my first real inroad into Russian (and Soviet) letters, later on Dostoevsky, Gogol, Brodsky,. Isaac Babel and others followed (as did Tarkovsky in cinema). I would definitely rank Crime and Punishment as one of the ten greatest novels of all time, it's frightening, exhilarating, revealing, inventive and sometimes extremely funny, not least cause Fedya had such an ear for how people talk and such an ability to use precise exaggeration that will heighten a whole scene into satire or circus.

Russian friends of mine keep saying Bulgakov's novel is one of the greatest too - haven't got around to it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 04:17:29 PM by gaggedLouise »