Free Research Papers on Literature:
Lovecraft that I published here last month has received a lot of attention and traffic, but not all of it has been necessarily positive. Doing any sort of online research in advance of reading the stories, will do the reader a major disservice.
Why approach Lovecraft with already formed ideas about his themes and motivations? Sometimes this hindrance is due to an inherent quality of idiosyncrasy, complexity, or some other sort of difficulty in the work itself. Many modern readers who have heard of him approach his work eagerly at first but then bounce off in boredom, incomprehension, and disappointment.
Yes, when done poorly it can be insufferably pedantic, but when done well it can be a wonderful thing. I think the fact that this has all been on my mind in recent weeks may explain why two recently published essays that would have caught my attention anyway managed to catch it with extra sharpness.
Each says something, and says it very well, about the danger of killing art and literature by playing the pedant and refusing to give the works a chance to speak for themselves. So of course I want to share them with you. First, from The New York Review of Books, a meditation by Alfred Brendel on the dangerous distractions of biography when it comes to enjoying the works of great composers: There are those who believe that delving into the biography of artists ensures a deeper perception of their art.
I am not one of them. The notion that a work of art has to mirror the person of the artist, that man and work are an equation, that the integrity of the person warrants the integrity of his production — such belief seems to me to belong, particularly in the area of music, to the realm of wishful thinking.
In complete contrast, there is the enduring order of his compositions.
The person of a great composer and his work remain to me incommensurable: Beethoven, in his Sonata op. Similarly, Schoenberg in his String Trio turned a major health crisis into sound.
The notion that a griever longs to compose his grief, a dying musician the experience of dying, or a person overwhelmed with joy his gaiety belongs in the realm of fairy tales. Music is full of counterexamples. Works of happiness, joyfulness, serenity, and even lightness have emerged in times of greatest personal distress.
Literature changed my life long before I began to study it in college and then, in a hapless trance, in graduate school.
Books took me far from myself into experiences that had nothing to do with my life, yet spoke to my life. Yeats gave me a special language for a desire that defined me even as I had never known it was mine: Homer, Chekhov and Yeats were reduced to right and wrong answers, clear-cut themes, a welter of clever and more clever interpretations.
Books that transformed the facts were taught like science and social science and themselves reduced to mere facts. Novels, poems and plays that had been fonts of empathy, and incitements to curiosity, were now occasions of drudgery and toil.
Every other academic subject requires specialized knowledge and a mastery of skills and methods. Literature requires only that you be human. It does not have to be taught any more than dreaming has to be taught. All you need to understand that is a heart. The literary classics are a haven for that part of us that broods over mortal bewilderments, over suffering and death and fleeting happiness.
They are a refuge for our secret self that wishes to contemplate the precious singularity of our physical world, that seeks out the expression of feelings too prismatic for rational articulation.
They are places of quiet, useless stillness in a world that despises any activity that is not profitable or productive. This socially and economically worthless experience is called transcendence, and you cannot assign a paper, or a grade, or an academic rank, on that.
Literature is too sacred to be taught. It needs only to be read. The old books will speak to the oldest part of us. Young people will read them when they are touched by inexpressible yearnings the way they will eat when they are hungry. If they want to. How to Read Lovecraft:+ free ebooks online.
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The Haunting of Hill House () is justly revered as an exemplar of the horror genre, not only because its plot provides the template for all those haunted house tales to come, but also because its superb prose and subtle psychology transcend genre, transforming what might otherwise have been merely a sensational tale into a artful novel, worthy of .
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