Jump to content


Trying to reread books you loved when you were younger


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 02:47 PM

This week's New Yorker has an article on the novelist Philip Dick, written by Adam Gopnik.

Gopnik comments:

As an adult reader coming back to Dick, you start off in a state of renewed wonder and then find yourelf thumbing ahead to see how much farther you are going to have to go.

I haven't read Dick, but Gornik's experience certainly rang a bell.

One that comes to mind is Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read this when it fist came out and was so absorbed that I'm sure I read every sentence. I lived for a while in Tolkien's alternative world and on some days had a hard time returning to reality.

Coming back to it long afterwards, I .... well, I did just what Gopnik describes. The moral psychology remained pwerful and relevant. But I found myself more interested in minor and even tangential characters than in the heroes and villains. And I did a lot of skipping -- including most of Frodo's final journey to Mount Doom. The return to normality -- with that lovely, comforting last sentence, "Well, I'm back" -- was just as satisfying (if implausible) as before.

As anyone else had similar experiences when revisiting one of your serious favorites from long ago? And how did you handle it? OR did you love the book as much or better than before?

#2 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 06:35 PM

As anyone else had similar experiences when revisiting one of your serious favorites from long ago? And how did you handle it? OR did you love the book as much or better than before?


Kurt Vonnegut--I just can't even open his books anymore.

Thomas Mann--I love reading him more, mostly because the new translations are better than those I read originally.

#3 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,002 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 06:50 PM

Thomas Mann--I love reading him more, mostly because the new translations are better than those I read originally.

Are these the Woods translations?

#4 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 06:56 PM

Thomas Mann--I love reading him more, mostly because the new translations are better than those I read originally.

Are these the Woods translations?


Yes.

#5 Mme. Hermine

Mme. Hermine

    Emeralds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,702 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 06:59 PM

i was wrapped up in jane eyre for years. re-reading it in my adulthood i was taken aback (and turned away) from the following phrases at the very end, in a summary of what happened to the main characters after the events in the book.

"As she grew up, a sound English education corrected in a great measure her French defects; and when she left school, I found in her a pleasing and obliging companion: docile, good-tempered, and well-principled."

i know, it's probably still a good book and this was the attitude, etc., etc., but i still can't read it anymore.

#6 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 07:00 PM

Has anyone else had similar experiences when revisiting one of your serious favorites from long ago? And how did you handle it? OR did you love the book as much or better than before?


Great topic, bart!
Recently i went back to 2 of my adolescense favorites and these are the results:
"White Nights', a tasteful and beautiful short novel by Fiodor Dostoiewsky. I enjoyed it and loved it as if i was still a romantic teenager... :clapping:
"On the Suffering of the World" by Arthur Schopenhauer . Oh, God,. what was i thinking...?!?! :thumbsup:

#7 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,002 posts

Posted 19 August 2007 - 07:05 PM

Thomas Mann--I love reading him more, mostly because the new translations are better than those I read originally.

Are these the Woods translations?


Yes.

Many thanks! I just ordered two from amazon.com. It's more than time for me to re-read Thomas Mann :thumbsup:

#8 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 01:47 AM

Thomas Mann--I love reading him more, mostly because the new translations are better than those I read originally.

Are these the Woods translations?


Yes.

Many thanks! I just ordered two from amazon.com. It's more than time for me to re-read Thomas Mann :thumbsup:


Yes, the H.T. Lowe-Porter translations are shockingly bad--dispells any illusions about the past being the "good old days" of literature!

#9 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 06:16 AM

Too bad Buddenbrooks doesn't seem to be one of the newly translated.

Translations seem to be a separate issue. Gopnik acknowledges this:

[ ... ] Dick's reputation as a serious writer, like Poe's, has alway been higher in France, where the sentences aren't read as they were written.

It works in the opposite direction in English-speaking countries for many writers who are frequently encountered only in fusty, long-winded late-Victorian or Edwardian translations: Mann is one, but Proust, Tolstoy, Balzac, Dostoevsky, etc., are in the same unfortunate company. With Proust and Balzac, when you read the older translations you are reading someone who definitely is NOT Proust or Balzac.

I reread Proust (the books in the series In Search of Lost Time) earlier this summer in the new series of translations put out by Penguin. Each was a definite improvement over the original and re-worked Scott-Moncrieffes. But I blush :thumbsup: to admit that -- even though I had been looking forward to spending long hours slowly unwinding Proust's sentences (for 7 volumes!)-- I skipped extesnsively between those sections (long arias, actually) that were exactly the ones I had enjoyed before.

Meanwhile -- back at the Topic :clapping: -- are there any other long-time favorite books that you've come back to recently (with either positive or negative results)??? Tolkien? Dick? Vonnegut? Schopenhauer? There must be more.

#10 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,239 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 06:58 AM

Yes, the H.T. Lowe-Porter translations are shockingly bad--dispells any illusions about the past being the "good old days" of literature!

Rereading Mann in an improved translation is a great idea, but first I have to finish Moby Dick again. Just last week I reread King Lear alongside two alternating productions on video. Two favorite novelists from way back are Saul Bellow and Walker Percy, both known for lovably half-cocked, existentially searching protagonists. I went back to Bellow's "Herzog" last year and found the character tiresome, but I can reread Percy year after year. The opening half-dozen pages of "Love in the Ruins" always make me laugh out loud.

:thumbsup: Checking my copies of Mann's books to confirm that they are H.T. Lowe-Porter translations, I found a ticket stub for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood -- a honeymoon souvenir!

#11 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,833 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 11:02 AM

Thank you for starting the topic, bart - great idea. I can't contribute that much to the discussion, myself, because I don't do that much re-reading -- there's too much out there I haven't gotten to yet. On those occasions when I have, I don't find my opinions have changed much, although I pick up on things as an adult that I didn't in high school, obviously. I liked James in high school and I still like him now -- but I appreciate different things.

#12 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 01:55 PM

Too bad Buddenbrooks doesn't seem to be one of the newly translated.



Ah, but it is--Woods's translation came out in 1994 and it's excellent. He's tackled almost all of them at this point, even Joseph and His Brothers and Dr Faustus. Busy guy!

#13 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,833 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 02:46 PM

Oh, how could I forget. Henry Miller. I thought he was the bee’s knees in high school, and I went back to Sexus years later and couldn’t believe my eyes. Tropic of Capricorn is still okay, though. And he was most educational at the time.

#14 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 20 August 2007 - 08:21 PM

Talk of Henry Miller made me think of Lawrence Durrell, whom he admired greatly. I read 'Justine' in high school and part of 'Balthazar' as well. They seemed very difficult at the time, more difficult than Faulkner. Two years ago I began at the beginning of 'Balthazar' and then read 'Mountolive' and 'Clea'. I think it is a wonderful work, romantic, sensuous and sensual--and you get a vision of an exotic city that you wouldn't have otherwise, because Durrell's Alexandria has been barely there at all for decades by now, the Europeans and Jews expelled largely after the 1952 Egyptian Revolution and during the Suez Crisis of 1956.

Like dirac, I don't do too much rereading, usually it will be something difficult like Faulkner's 'The Sound and the Fury', which I did do, and hope to schedule a rereading of Joyce's 'Ulysses', especially because I find 'Sirens' the most beautiful section, and also the most difficult. I also reread Capote's 'Other Voices, Other Rooms', which made him famous and which he never, in my opinion, quite equalled, although 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' is very special too--and anybody who loves the movie ought to read the story to understand who the real Holly Golightly was. Somehow, the movie works wonders anyway and is full of incredible magic, but the ending is a well-known enormous compromise. The film of 'Other Voices, Other Rooms' is simply unspeakably bad, though, easily one of the worst films ever made.

Edited to add: I just remembered I also read about half of John O'Hara's Hollywood novel 'The Big Laugh' in high school as well, and got around to going all the way through it in 2005 as well. You don't hear too much about him these days, but I think he's one of the fine American novelists.

#15 ngitanjali

ngitanjali

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 100 posts

Posted 21 August 2007 - 08:21 AM

This might be a bit TOO young (but I'm only a first year in college :tiphat: ) but I recently got a copy of Heidi, one of my favorite books when I was younger. I thought it would be childish and boring, but, somehow, I fell in love with it all over again!


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):