A Christmas Carol download gratisDoor: Charles Dickens
In his "Ghostly little book," Charles Dickens invents the modern concept of Christmas Spirit and offers one of the world’s most adapted and imitated stories. We know Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, not only as fictional characters, but also as icons of the true meaning of Christmas in a world still plagued with avarice and cynicism.
Auteur: Charles Dickens
Papier van: 80 pagina's
Uitgever: Charles Dickens
Publicatie datum: 22 december 2016
Gewicht van: 2367 KB
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There Was Music in the Cafes at Night and Revolution in the Air Published in 1951, when Norman Mailer was 28, "Barbary Shore" is a novel about sex and radical politics. In a way, Mailer was defining his characters (and through them, himself) in terms of sexual exuberance and political engagement. The New Man, of whom Mailer thought himself the epitome, was both sexually and politically active. The Novelist as Novice For the first 80 pages or so, while my reader’s training wheels were still finding their groove, the novel smacked of naivete. I suspected that Mailer wrote sometimes like a sexual virgin and a political neophyte. Although he could write in perspicacious detail about his subject matter, he didn’t give the impression that he had lived what he was writing about. It all sounded too self-consciously fabricated. It didn’t come across as if what he described had been learned from experience in between the sheets or in the hotbeds of radicalism. However, as the book moved on inexorably, I realised that this first impression might be wrong. In retrospect, what I was feeling was the product of Mailer’s choice of style for the novel, about which more later. However, it seems that during and after his experience in the Army, Mailer learned plenty about sex. He also learned a lot about radical politics from his friend and mentor, Jean Malaquais, a Polish-born novelist then living in the United States, who translated "The Naked and the Dead" into French and to whom the novel is dedicated. As a result, Mailer later said that "Barbary Shore" was his most autobiographical novel. The Theatre of War Over the course of 1949, Mailer and Malaquais were in Hollywood trying to write a script for a film of Mailer’s first novel, "The Naked and the Dead", for Sam Goldwyn. The attempt failed, but in the meantime Mailer was also working on his second novel, "Barbary Shore". A good scriptwriter, likewise a good playwright, knows that a quality script is more than dialogue, but to a layperson a script seems like it’s all spoken word. My initial response to this novel was that it seemed to be very theatrical, as if it had been composed with a play or perhaps even a film in mind. The action is dialogue-driven. It’s all set in individual rooms in a four-storey brownstone Brooklyn Heights boarding house. There are six main characters, three male, three female (including a four year old girl). Various combinations of two, three and four of them are holed up in the one room, occupied by either affection or conflict. It’s an ideal conceit for a play or, these days, an inexpensive indie film, if there still is such a thing. A Dramatic Interrogatory There are 33 chapters, discrete scenes, three minutes each and you’ve got a tense and tidy little 100 minute feature film. Throw into the mix a large dose of existentialism, and you can see why Beckett and Pinter came to mind. Still, as I adjusted to the style, particularly in the second half of the novel, I started to appreciate just how appropriate it was for what is effectively a Cold War allegory, in which individual characters represent whirring, warring worldviews. It makes more sense when you realise that the war, the clash of cultures, happens across a table in a bedroom, become a makeshift interrogation room, complete with a bright shining lamp and drawn shades. Eventually, I appreciated just how forensically crafted the whole novel was, as if it was a heist or a game of chess or poker, in which somehow every move or bid had been precisely plotted in advance. I’m now tempted to argue that this novel has been wrongly neglected, possibly because it was published just as China invaded Korea at the commencement of what was to become the Korean War. Just Lovett The narrator is Mike Lovett, a 20-something war veteran, who is suffering from some level of amnesia, so much so that the first words of the novel are, "Probably I was in the war." Having presumably fought for his country, we infer that he was a patriot or at least did his duty. He moves into the boarding house in order to write a novel. Here, he witnesses the progress of a conflict between other tenants, some radical, some conservative. In a way, as he observes their shenanigans, he is the conscience of America or at least of a New America. Lannie, Guinevere and the Jack of Hearts For almost half of the novel, Lovett is busy finding his way, spontaneously meeting the other tenants in the corridor. First, he encounters Beverly Guinevere, the landlady and an attractive, if dishevelled, 28 year old former burlesque artist, with a four year old daughter, Monina, who seems to contribute to, rather than detract from, the desire and sexual tension. Then, Lannie Madison moves in, in mysterious circumstances, becoming not just a distraction for Lovett, but potentially a rival or deterrent in his pursuit of Guinevere. Having got to know the women, having determined what he yearns for, Lovett learns that the other men in the house are also striving for some sort of contentment or satisfaction of their own. The three men, Lovett, McLeod and Hollingsworth, now confront each other in a triangular antagonism. Come Gather Around the Table Inevitably, they must gather around the table to resolve their differences. Perhaps, Guinevere, tattered as she is, is the America they are all fighting for and over. If so, the table at which they debate might be a Round Table, divided, with McLeod the incumbent partisan King Arthur in decline; Lovett, a sympathiser, lance in hand, Sir Lancelot, eager to love and lance a lot; and Hollingsworth, a knight, a defender, a champion, whether black or white, for or against McLeod or Lovett, remains to be discovered. (view spoiler) Who will win Guinevere? Who will get to claim the flaming chalice of freedom and hold it aloft, in Brooklyn, whether in a basement or a loft? Oh Norman, may thine be the glory, risen conquering son, but pray tell, how deep is thine allegory? Left, Right, Left, Right The political context derives from the fact that one of the men is a former high-ranking Communist organiser and agitator, on the run from both the FBI and his former comrades. Lovett, whose own sympathies are undefined, but of the Left, manages to witness attempts to bring the Communist in. He observes interrogations, negotiations, submissions, bids, pleas, speeches, rebuttals, arguments in a tense psychological drama. He is our eyes and ears, almost by way of imitation of the democratic process. However, because he forms his own view, the appeal of the novel will potentially reflect our own political sympathies. Revolt in Style Regardless of allegiance, I think the novel succeeds as a dramatization of a political conflict. It avoids the tendency to lecture in large slabs of passionate but unconvincing prose, instead using a dynamic adversary apparatus to assert the rival contentions. The speechifying is restricted to one 15 page chapter towards the end. The speech is interrupted by self-doubt, irony, questions, challenges, guffaws and yawns. Even if one character was tempted to take himself too seriously, the others bring him down to ground level. Perhaps Mailer believed what his character was advocating. At least, he posits the case of revolutionary socialism relatively authentically, if more lyrically than is usual. Stylistically, I think Mailer transcended Socialist Realism and constructed a form of Socialist Hyper-Realism on the foundations of Kafka and Orwell, though it was a little too imaginative for his readers to embrace at the time. He certainly attracted more than his fair share of criticism from both Left and Right on publication, the one questioning his political sincerity, the other his political deviance, both arguing the book was a literary failure. These judgements have echoed in time until the present day. Still, we have to remember that the politics of 1951 was radically different from the relatively mundane politics of today. With the collapse of Communism, there is not the same sense of rival ideologies: Capitalism versus Communism. Sexual Politics It’s arguable, too, that Sexual Politics has established more conventional modes of debate. However, at the time, Mailer viewed "Barbary Shore" as a literary vehicle with which "I wish to attempt an entrance into the mysteries of murder, suicide, incest, orgy, orgasm and time". Stung by the critical reception of his novel, he would later argue in his own defence: "Yet, it could be that if my work is alive one hundred years from now, 'Barbary Shore' will be considered the richest of my first three novels. "It has in its high fevers, a kind of insane insight into the psychic mysteries of Stalinists, secret policemen, narcissists, children, lesbians, hysterics, revolutionaries - it has an air which for me is the air of our time, authority and nihilism stalking one another in the orgiastic hollow of this century." This self-analysis, this self-promotion, these "advertisements for [himself]" might sound almost hysterical now, but I still feel that there is something passionate and appealing in Mailer, just as there is in Henry Miller, that is missing from contemporary literature. For me, Sex and Politics are Big Issues. I love reading fiction and non-fiction about them. It saddens me that so little contemporary fiction addresses either issue, if not both in unison. Beyond the Love of an Ideal Mailer’s triumph was that he turned up, got in the ring and challenged anyone and everyone to a fight on the Big Issues. Perhaps, sometimes, he should have been less sexist, less of a bully, less of a braggart, more compromising, more loving, more of a lover and less of a fighter, but then perhaps that can be said of all of us, well at least us males. As his revolutionary character admits: "All my life I’ve loved ideas. So I loved the idea of loving my wife. And perhaps the child as well." "Barbary Shore", whether intentionally or not, might just teach us that we must love the real, as much as, if not more than, the ideal. We must love in truth, not just in theory. From Atop Barbary Shore In the thirties There were some who Advocated Evolution, Fabians and Left liberals. While the vanguard Agitated Under red flags And black banners, Some hoped that war Would progress to Socialistic Revolution. In the sixties Without Lenin To blame the Institution, People embraced John and Yoko, Spending weekends Naked in bed, Satisfied by Psychedelic Experience, They were convinced That we should change Our minds instead. In the teenies Most of us think We’re better off, Risen above The working class, Enriched by all Money can buy, Preoccupied By threats to the Environment, Instead of people. Perhaps that’s how Politics turned From red to green. Though we’re still chained To the machine, Mortgage ridden, Living in our Private spaces, Little boxes Or McMansions, Entertained by Cable, wifi And Amazon, Addicted to Different pills, Tangled up in The colour blue.