[LMB] OT: First book, second language

Kalina Varbanova kikibug13 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 17 06:56:20 BST 2006

On 7/17/06, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:
> "Often depressing" strikes me as overbroad; if you don't find
> *Shakespeare* "often depressing", I don't know what to say. ("Hamlet"?
> "Macbeth"? "Othello"? "Romeo and Juliet", for heaven's sake? There's
> a reason they call them "tragedies", y'know.) On the flip side, Dickens
> at least is often far from depressing: _The Pickwick Papers_, _David
> Copperfield_ (taken as a whole), _Nicholas Nickleby_ (likewise), even
> _A Tale of Two Cities_. (Let's not get into the "Dickens is a turgid hack"
> debate again, shall we? Take it as given that I don't agree.)

I'd go with Tracy on Shakespeare. Even in his tragedies, there is a
joy of life that I find very difficult to claim Depressing. There is a
pithiness, a richness, an alive-ness. But I guess it would be up to
perconal perceptions.
To me, Dickens is, also, depressing. After I finally managed to get
through David Copperfield (by sheer strength of will, because I
thought I must get to the other end; in my childhood I didn't know you
can start a book and not finish it), I cried myself to sleep thinking
of the book for weeks. Depressing? Oh yes. Same for Great Expecations
(which I was a bit older to read), and the Prince and the Pauper.
Christmas Carol was a bit better - but perhaps only because I first
saw the Muppets' version of it, before reading it, and that gave it a
sparkle for me.

The only difference, as far as the listings go, are the Bronte sisters
- though dark, I find their passionate writings as not depressing.
Though I couldn't claim they would work as anti-depressives... at
least not for me.

> Hmm. Is there a national literature anywhere whose greatest works
> *aren't* somehow downbeat? I'm certainly not familiar with any (though
> I'll admit to limited experience).

Good point. Hindu, perhaps? I don't know.

Anyway, good day, and a good week to all!
Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list