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"Talk of the Tome": Bookish Conversation Devoted to both Literature and Film

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Initial post: Nov 7, 2009 6:29:20 PM PST
ronzo says:
The parenthetical title for this thread is the brainchild of Tom Without Pity. He also had the wonderful idea to dedicate the proceedings found herein to our friend Thomas P. Malone, whom we all greatly esteem. And it is truly fitting, because Thomas was instrumental in recommending our pilot project "The Mayor of Casterbridge"; a work we enjoyed reading and sharing.

Essentially, this thread may best be seen as a literary extension of the 'ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Screening Films from Hollywood's Golden Age'. However, instead of screening a film and writing a review, we simply read a book and discuss our impressions. It is hoped that film adaptations will add an interesting comparative dynamic, but they are by no means necessary.

* * *
Our first official "Tome" will be Cormac McCarthy's 1985 novel "Blood Meridian". All are welcome to participate. : )

Posted on Nov 7, 2009 8:44:46 PM PST
dustman says:
Kim, ronzo,

I'm just finishing the final two chapters of "Mayor" and I'll post tomorrow. Looking forward to Blood Meridian! I've enjoyed your comments. It's been great discussing this with you both.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2009 8:51:51 PM PST

It has been fun, hasn't it. What other occasions does one have to share furmity with friends!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2009 9:02:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2009 9:03:39 PM PST
ronzo, dustman & KIM:

To me this thread will always be Malone's Tomes.
I am gratified beyond words and I will now proceed to read.
Thanks .


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2009 7:48:54 AM PST
dustman says:
Tom, Kim & ronzo,

Three cheers for Malone's Tomes. Let's have fun!


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2009 1:18:21 PM PST
ronzo says:

You said it. Let's READ!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2009 5:32:18 PM PST
dustman says:

It sure has been a blast. The furmity tasted just fine!


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2009 7:49:10 PM PST

Glad you stopped in. Sev'ral bowls of this antiquated slop did seem to 'ave relaxed dat twitch in yer eye!

de cook

Posted on Nov 9, 2009 4:17:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2009 4:20:18 PM PST
dustman says:
Kim, ronzo,
re: The Mayor of Casterbridge

One last thing and then I'll put Henchard and all the other good folks in this novel away (for now) but with fond farewell.

I've been wrestling with the character of Michael Henchard because he seems to be the person most carefully and completely described by Hardy and he happens to be the one who perplexes me the most. Included in the notes of my Barnes & Noble edition is a review from THE SPECTATOR written in 1886 which express so much better than I what had been troubling me about him. Here are a few excerpts:

"...the essence of Michael Henchard is that he is a man of large nature and depth of passion, who is yet subject to the most fitful influences, who can do in one mood acts of which he will never cease to repent in almost all his other moods, whose temper of heart changes many times even during the execution of the same purpose, though the same ardour, the same pride, the same wrathful magnanimity, the same inability to carry out in cold blood the angry resolve of the mood of revenge or scorn, to swing back to an equally hasty reasonableness, distinguish him throughout. In one very good sense, the great deficiency of Michael Henchard might be said to be in 'character'. It might well be said that with a little more character, with a little more fixity of mind, with a little more power of recovering himself when he was losing his balance, his would have been a nature of gigantic mould; whereas, as Mr. Hardy's novel is meant to show, it was a nature which ran mostly to waste."

"The largeness of his nature, the unreasonable generosity and suddenness of his friendships, the depth of his self-humiliation for what was evil in him, the eagerness of his craving for sympathy, the vehemence of his impulses both for good and evil, the curious dash of stoicism in a nature so eager for sympathy, and of fortitude in one so moody and restless, -- all these are lineaments which, mingled together as Mr. Hardy has mingled them, produce a curiously strong impression of reality, as well as of homely grandeur."

After having read this review I felt it reinforced my statement about Henchard reminding me of Jean Valjean. With just a bit more of the virtues exemplified by Valjean, Henchard might really have been a great man. His monumental failings saddened me; making me realize how very human he was and, to a certain degree, how very closely he resembles us.

"If I hadn't been so very rich, I might have been a really great man." Charles Foster Kane

It was a real pleasure reading this with y'all.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2009 8:03:29 PM PST

Very well said. These thoughts remind me of Shakespeare's hero's with their tragic flaw. It's that scary business -at least in potential- of the wrong passion being over-fed.

The problem (at least in my life) is that the passions generally banging the loudest clanging instruments are often the ones better off kept on a gruel diet (ok furmity!). Save the meat for the stuff that makes solid citizens of us. Oh, if only that sounded more romantic...

This has been a wonderful book to process with fellow personages of such deep understandings.

Posted on Nov 10, 2009 7:22:23 AM PST
dustman says:
Hi gang,

Heard a lot of talk about "The Return of the Native". Any chance that we might consider that one for future reading??


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 10:35:37 AM PST
ronzo says:

Great closing CASTERBRIDGE post. A wonderful quote by B&N that pretty well hits the nail on the head.

As to your own comment ... I think Hardy wanted us to leave his novels a little saddened ... I think that was the way he saw reality. For this reason (and because Henchard's character makes us relect on ourselves) I think we are able to reflect on Hardy this way as well.

It was a pleasure for me having read thgis with you too.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 11:33:50 AM PST
dustman says:
re: "Hardy wanted us to leave his novels a little saddened"

Well said sir. Into each life a little pathos must fall.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 12:07:03 PM PST
ronzo says:

Consider "The Return of the Native" on our "to read" list. : )

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 12:15:55 PM PST
Dustman, ronzo

I agree about all this sadness. What's strange is that I wasn't depressed while I was reading the darn book, but have been ever since the end. Was Hardy a master of subliminal know gets in your subconscience and snags you later? Then you want to hurry and read another book to stop hurting. He must have had some business sense, too!
So when can we read "Return of the Native"!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 1:56:11 PM PST
ronzo says:

Re: "re: "Hardy wanted us to leave his novels a little saddened""

And McCarthy seems to want to warp us! lol! I'm on Chapter 4. : )

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 2:13:55 PM PST
ronzo says:

Could it be that what you miss most is the texture of his world?

When can we read THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE?! Mid December. : )

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 2:30:17 PM PST
dustman says:

Just began "Blood Meridian" today. Bought a copy of "The Return of the Native" so I'm ready to roll on that whenever y'all are.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 4:17:59 PM PST
ronzo says:

That's perfect. What was your first impression? "We're not in Wessex anymore!" eh! lol!

Re: THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE ... I'm hoping we keep it until after Kim is done her play ... which is about a month from now, I think...? That way she can concentrate properly on both. (shrug) But whatever you guys want; Kim is raring to go on it too. lol!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 5:24:38 PM PST
dustman says:
re: "we're not in Wessex anymore"

Kinda of a shock to switch to McCarthy's economy with words from Hardy's luxurious meanderings. I'm really enjoying it so far.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2009 4:23:51 AM PST
ronzo says:

I'm just keeping my head down, hoping no one spots me! lol!

p.s. Sorry to have started early ... I was painting a bookshelf for two days ... then in a medical clinic the next. I figured you may have started, so I brought the book to the clinic.

If I remember, you do or have worked as a commercial painter...? Ever had the paint infect your sinuses? I tell you, I put the pain in painting. Just when you thought "the kid" was having a rough time! lol!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2009 5:55:06 AM PST
My Literary friends

Gee, I just happened to notice that I said earlier that Hardy gets in your "subconscience" instead of subconscious. I think I invented something here...might be something a psychologist could use.

Well, I finish the play on the Dec. 6th, so we could start enjoying the homecoming of our NATIVE SON the week of the 7th, if you guys are free.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2009 6:11:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2009 6:12:24 AM PST
dustman says:

The only commercial painting done by me would have been "spot" illustrations for magazines. I remember in art school having an averse reaction to the turpentine used for thinning paints. Thank goodness for the genius that invented ordourless thinner without turpentine.

I admire commercial painters, if nothing else for their ability to be around paints and chemicals all day and having the stamina to survive it!


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2009 11:31:11 AM PST
ronzo says:

That is a good plan ... going native for December. : )

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2009 12:35:02 PM PST
ronzo says:

Ah, that must have been what you meant by commercial painting. I ditto your admiration for them!
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Discussion in:  Classic Movie forum
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Initial post:  Nov 7, 2009
Latest post:  1 day ago

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