august 2022 reading
- the ink of melancholy by andre bleikasten (1990)
- the progress of this storm by andreas malm (2017)
- trust by hernan diaz (2022)
- the flanders road by claude simon (1960)
i'm going to start typing descriptions of these i think. these were the books i read while moving to dc, mostly between other stuff. i don't think i will remember most of them all that well or nearly as well the books i read when i moved to champaign (elif batuman, peter burger).
the ink of melancholy is a strange book. it's a mix of a psychoanalytic approach to faulkner's biography and a formalist close reading of his novels which moves from his early work through to light in august. the chapter on the sound and the fury is probably the best, but each is exhaustive in trying to extract as much of the text's meaning as possible, while at the same time modeling interpretation as an infinite task. it's very much an artifact of an older model of professional literary criticism that didn't feel the need to justify itself, and it's refreshing to read because bleikasten has none of the anxiety that all scholars have now.
the progress of this storm can be read in a day. it's a polemic against new materialism in the era of climate emergency with bruno latour as its main target. it was persuasive and anxiety-inducing at the time but it's already faded from my memory.
trust was awful. a la that one tweet, it really just felt like a guy turning a wheel with stuff like capitalism, gender, etc and waiting for applause.
i've been wanting to read the flanders road for a long time because an internet man told me to read it after we had a formative argument about realism and literature. the book itself is very good, although it is pure faulkner homage, so much so that it made me appreciate the subtler, transformative use of faulkner's influence in n. scott momaday or elsewhere. it also reminded me of curzio malaparte's kaputt, though maybe that's just because that book also features some horses having a bad time during war.
this is a good article