Sunday, January 28, 2007

Required reading

Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, Milton, Tolstoy, Lucretius, Vergil, Augustine, Dante, Chaucer, The Yahwist, Socrates/Plato, St Paul, Muhammad, Samuel Johnson, Boswell, Goethe, Freud, Thomas Mann, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Kafka, Proust, Beckett, Molière, Ibsen, Chekhov, Wilde, Pirandello, Donne, Pope, Swift, Austen, Murasaki, Hawthorne, Melville, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Woolf, Emerson, Dickinson, Frost, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Giacomo Leopardi, Tennyson, Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Christina Rosetti, Walter Pater, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Victor Hugo, Gérard de Nerval, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Valéry, Homer, Camões, Joyce, Alejo Carpentier, Paz, Stendhal, Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, Whitman, Pessoa, Hart Crane, Lorca, Luis Cernuda, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Fitzgerald, Murdoch, Flaubert, José Maria Eça de Queiroz, Machado de Assis, Borges, Calvino, Blake, D. H. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams, Rainier Maria Rilke, Eugenio Montale, Balzac, Lewis Carroll, Henry James, Robert Browning, Yeats, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Isaac Babel, Celan, Ralph Ellison

I forgot to mention my New Year's resolution - I bought my sister a copy of Harold Bloom's "Genius", and while I do think the man's a puffed up wanker, I still agree with his assertion that we should be familiar with the Great Books (I gotta lotta anxiety of influence, baby).

So I've taken the 100 great authors he lists in "Genius" and resolved, by the end of the year, to have finished reading them all. Of course, this is a little equivocal - I'm not going to read the complete works of every one; I'm just going to ensure that I've read at least one book-length work by all of them.

In the cases of some writers (especially poets) I've read large extracts from their work, but not complete texts (e.g. about a fifth of Dickinson's poems, most of the chapters of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", and extracts from the Bible and the Quran). These authors are listed in italics.

Authors whom I've never read before, save for the odd poem, are listed in bold. (Yes, it's true that I've never read Tolstoy, Balzac or Browning. ) There are 34 of these chaps. I'm gonna finish them by December 31. I just read Celan at Kinokuniya, so that's one down, 33 to go. Book orgy starts now!

UPDATE 28 September: Oh dear, it's nearly October and I've still got 25 left... been de-bolding the ones I've finished. How?

No comments: