Parisian Literary Salon

creating community through reading and discussing literature

Summer Reading Notes

Filed under: Poetry & Musings — literarysalon at 8:52 pm on Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Summer is a time to stretch out and read…well, at least is should be. Here are some works I have crammed in between hostings and house sellings:

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides- It really is as good as everyone says it is- bringing to light various boundary lands- between genders, between old worlds and new, between generations. I think the text was heavily influenced by Midnight’s Children- did anyone else notice the references (thematic and narrative)? Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung (and others)- I asked my father- who holds a Doctorate in both Philosophy and Theology- what work he recommended to a shamefully acknowledged biblical neophyte to help that lost soul understand imagery and symbolism of the Bible. Surprisingly, his immediate choice was Jung, followed by the Italian theologian Mercier Eliade. Jung is teaching me- again- how to both recognize the symbolic level of the dream- and how to discard my own learning when entering into the language of the subconscious. Jung would tell his pupils:” Learn as much as you can about symbolism; then forget it all when you are analyzing a dream.” Although this book requires slow, wakeful reading, it is well worth the time.

Wild Heart: A Life by Suzanne Rodriguez- a close writer friend gave me this while I was visiting. It is the biography of Natalie Clifford Barney- detailing her journey “from Victorian America to the Literary Salons of Paris”. Barney is an inspiration in many ways- her passion for literature and ideas in the early years of the 20th Century opened a route that we still travel- plus there is wonderful sensuality and a resonant vision of the Belle Epoque and the world of the early Moderns.

Poetry 180: A turning back to Poetry selected and introduced by Billy Collins- poems by contemporary writers that are ‘impossible not to love at first glance’; an experience that should then prepare us for the harder work of poems that take time.

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