Saturday, 19 May 2012

some little Hitchens treasures

on Grahame Greene, Stamboul Train, which I have not read, though I have read a number of his others and forgotten them, must try harder "One must see unblinkingly into the pettishness and self-deception of the human condition.  Innocence is another word for prey.  Survival is the law."  Seems about right to me.  Also, excellent to bring the word "pettishness" back into the vocabulary.

on Evelyn Waugh, just the joyful little phrase we do not use often enough "Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole" - en passant, he says Bruce Chatwin was an overrated society traveller.  So indeed he was.  "they had loitered of old on many a doorstep and forced an entry into many a stricken home" (of journalists) - well, quite so.  Waugh does not seem to use many commas, perhaps I have become more American in my wish to use them.

on Byron, very interesting, except I have never read Byron, I grew up in in a Romantic age, but the last thing any of us wanted to do was to read the Romantic poets, at least in my circles.  And of course Byron died young.  Which is the Romantic thing to do.  Oh and by the way old Lordy-babe's recipe for apricot fool is fab.  I use it every summer.

on James Joyce - well, how silly I am, I had not thought before this that I should read the Odyssey and then read Ulysses again.  Incidentally we are having a Bloomsday here in Strasbourg next month, vg.  But which edition should I read?  (Of the Odyssey, obviously).

I'll finish up with Hitchens tomorrow.  Because I've got a lot more to say.  About other things.  I can't do Hitch justice.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Detest Joyce - and also dislike Byron's poetry - I have been forced to read too much of it -- although of course the man himself was fascinating. All that Augusta Leigh / Arabella Millbanke stuff. With a dash of Lady Caroline lamb. Cannot stand Evelyn Waugh and really distrust anyone who does like Waugh. How can a person like Waugh and, say, George Eliot? Answer - they can't. An Eliot fan could not get on with Waugh. Waugh had money and was a snob and moved in posh cricles. I am perforce reading Virginia Woolf at the moment. I do not like her either. But as with Byron, the life - in this case, a superb biog by Hermione Lee - is fascinating. And I can't be doing with Graham Greene and his whiskey priests and all that mumbo jumbo either. To be honest, I think that Patrick Hamilotn is twice the writer that Graham Greene is. Hangover Square is excellent - well, they all are. Just left to moulder until recently. I look forward to my weekly dose of my preferred Hitchens - Peter - later.

Anonymous said...

The Richmond Lattimore version of the Odyssey is the best for keeping the sense of poetry. Like Joyce, if you get stuck, read it out loud.

Jonny said...

I would recommend Martin Hammond's translation for a prose version, and Robert Fitzgerald's if you fancy verse.

Jane Griffiths said...

thank you both!