Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Death and mourning

Dear reader,

Today one of my teachers has been so kind as to publish the reading list for one of the courses which I will be taking, called Classics: Death and Mourning.
I will have to read seven books in total:

Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886)
Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)
Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (1912)
Sophocles, Antigone (~442 BC)
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)
Assia Djebar, Algerian White (1995)
José Saramago, Death at Intervals (2005) [also translated as Death with Interruptions]

I have already read a book by Tolstoy and liked it a lot, so I am definitley looking forward to reading that one. I just ordered it, so I will be able to start reading in advance (I always like to get a head start).
As I Lay Dying by Faulkner I have already read... but I will probably need to reread it, since it was about a year ago. I did not particularly like it though... It was a little strange. Every new chapter tells the story from a new perspective, which gives the book a rather fragmented idea (which is probably what Faulkner was going for). But maybe I will be able to appreciate it more when I read it for a second time.

We will also be reading some short stories for this course. One of which will be ‘The dead’ by James Joyce. I have actually read this story already for one of my other literature courses, but do not mind reading it again. I am not a great fan of Joyce. For my previous courses I have had to read excerpts of Ulysses and Waverly... and frankly, I couldn’t make heads or tales of it. I also had to read The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This book was not as modernistic as the books I have mentioned before, as the stream-of-consciousness in them isn’t as strong, however, I just really could not get into the story (which I thought was a pity). Somehow, every book that has stream-of-consciousness in it prevents the reader from identifying with the characters in it. I myself prefer stories with characters in them to whom I actually can relate, so stream-of-consciousness really is not for me. The Dead, however, is a story which has a clear beginning and an end, with an absolutely beautiful plot line (it is about a married couple which discovers that the love between them is gone), and without stream-of-consciousness (which makes it all together more accessible).

Although it seems to be a little out of character, I am really looking forward to this course. Next to the books I will have to read some secondary literature from all types of disciplines (from sociology to psychology) on the way in which people deal with death or mourning, or on the affect that this can have on people. I’m especially looking forward to an article which has to be read which comes from a book called Mortality, Immortality & Other Life Strategies, simply because the name of the book sounds rather funny.

Well so much for my hyperness about one of the subjects which I will be taking... I hope I will be as delighted with the others as well.




Ayaka said...

This sounds and I am sure was and still is very interesting O.o I love to read but sometimes I feel like crying with some books. >.<;; Just because it cannot seem to grab my attention for some reason. I admire you for your ability to stick to it. :D when you really like them and even when you don't.