Milton was born 400 years ago this month, specifically, on December 9. In terms of English literature, Milton is generally considered one of the "big three," the other two being Shakespeare, of course, and Chaucer. There have been times in the not-too-distant past when Milton surpassed Shakespeare in the minds of many. Indeed, just a couple months ago, in May, Princeton professor and Miltonist Nigel Smith published a book entitled is Milton Better than Shakespeare? Smith's answer is a resounding "yes,"— he asserts that "Milton's interrogations of free will, liberty, and the threat to it are more riveting" than Shakespeare. You can, if you're curious, explore the argument yourself by reading the introduction to Smith's Harvard University press book here.
Hunter Thompson released two enormous volumes of his collected letters during his life, each concentrating on a different portion of his life. There were letters from his time in the Army as well as much latter in his career after he’d achieved relative fame.
The simple idea to collect all of you correspondence from the time one is about twenty five years old seems odd at best. So, what kind of self absorbed man does that? HST does.
Since his death a few years ago, there have been a number of film related projects that have surfaced and now a cd set of his notes and ramblings.
“You’re thirty years old and what do you have?”
“Is that what you want?”
"It gives me very little to worry about.”
Focusing on the inability of a group of men to obtain gainful employment during the (first) depression, the Goodis’ novel uses curt phases and direct, plain descriptions of scenes to explicate mood and intent.
Everything is spelled out, nothing is left vague. This isn’t necessarily a device only utilized by Goodis, but it does fit a broad description of pulp/crime/noir fiction coming out of the ‘40s.
Dead Souls was the signature novel from Nikolay Gogol, a Russian born in the Ukraine, written while living in Rome. It was first published in Russia in 1842, and was the book that established Gogol as the greatest Russian prose writer of his time. Gogol wrote many significant works, including Mirgorod, and the play Zhenitba, before supposedly burning his sequels to Dead Souls and then dying at the age of 43.
Nozdryov, his "Dead Souls" lead character, archetypes the utterly selfish man, the man who has unlimited fun but zero love.
Dickens' A Christmas Carol was first published on December 19, 1843. Written in a feverish haste during a time when, despite his best-selling author status, and the on-going sales of the serialized Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens was terribly short of money, Dickens managed to write the entire work in six short weeks. The book was an immediate success. Dickens commissioned noted artist John Leech to create four hand-colored etchings and another four black and white wood engravings as illustrations. Dickens also saw to it that the book had an elaborate binding and gilt-edged pages.
The Amber Spyglass is, without a doubt, the least opaque of purpose in the trilogy. As is well known, Pullman was comfortable with the stratagem of turning over his hole cards after his audience was firmly snagged on the craftsmanly literary-line of his adventure. Whether this is considered devious, or simply wise, is likely in the eye of the fan or critic; in any case, it wasn’t a stratagem that Lewis — despite the professional alienation that he suffered as an out-of-the-closet Christian in the English academic world — felt necessary in Narnia.
As we noted in part two:
The grim fate of the Authority emerges in the final book. Lyra see the Authority; He is a bedridden, sick old man who knows nothing of anything (!). God dies, apparently from simply being too old and fragile to come to Earth.
Breaking from (more-)objective description to offer our own Compass on these moral premeses ...