By Jenny Davidson
A professor, critic, and insatiable reader, Jenny Davidson investigates the passions that force us to fall in love with sure sentences over others and the bigger implications of our dating with writing variety. straight away playful and severe, immersive and analytic, her memoir/critique indicates how variety elicits specific types of ethical judgments and subjective personal tastes, which flip examining right into a hugely own and political act.
Melding her stories as reader and critic, Davidson opens new vistas onto works via Jane Austen, Henry James, Marcel Proust, and Thomas Pynchon; provides richer measurement to opinions of W. G. Sebald, Alan Hollinghurst, Thomas Bernhard, and Karl Ove Knausgaard; and enables a worldly appreciation of well known fictions by means of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lionel Shriver, George Pelecanos, and Helen DeWitt. She privileges diction, syntax, perspective, and constitution over plot and personality, picking out the intimate mechanics that draw us in to literature's sensual frameworks and flow us to consider, determine, and relate. Davidson concludes with a interpreting checklist of her favourite titles so others can percentage in her literary adventures and get to understand higher the imprint of her personal examining sort.
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A professor, critic, and insatiable reader, Jenny Davidson investigates the passions that force us to fall in love with convinced sentences over others and the bigger implications of our courting with writing sort. straight away playful and severe, immersive and analytic, her memoir/critique exhibits how variety elicits specific different types of ethical judgments and subjective personal tastes, which flip interpreting right into a hugely own and political act.
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Extra resources for Reading Style: A Life in Sentences
The great epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were written down in a canonical form in the time of Peisistratus. In the fifth century, they 42 THE ORESTEIA played an integral role in the education, institutions and ideology of Athens, and indeed in the culture of all Greece as panhellenic epics (Nagy). Homer was the text first learnt and most studied at all levels of Greek education, and any educated Athenian could be expected to have a knowledge of it. Sections of the epic were regularly to be heard in performance, recited at symposia, say, or other festive occasions (a character in Xenophon’s dialogue, the Symposium, talks of hearing such a recital every day), and on the occasion of the Great Panathenaia, a major festival in Athens in honour of the day of Athene’s birth, the whole epics were delivered by professional performers called rhapsodes in the theatre.
The Eumenides, then, not only judges in a formal way the action central to the previous plays, but also offers resolution on a grand plane. Divinities are prosecutors and defence and judge; the city itself is the stake of the final conflicts and final triumph. The 24 THE ORESTEIA trilogy that starts with a lowly watchman of one house asking the gods for release from toil and waiting for a beacon light ends with a massive torch-lit procession in the centre of the polis itself, led by divinities.
In this way, the Homeric texts were essential not only to the actual process of teaching and to the festival institutions of Athens, but also to the make-up of Athenian social attitudes and understanding: ‘He was “the poet” . . who had produced images of human experience that were true and right and timeless, in a variety of modes, and with a mastery and sophistication that were for Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides their education’ (Gould 1983). Even though Athenian religion did not have ‘sacred texts’, it is with some justification that Homer has been called the Greek Bible – especially if one thinks, for example, of the use of the Bible in Victorian Britain: read after dinner, used in schools, a subject of heated academic debate, a cultural background widely diffused through different e´ chelons of society, a much quoted source of moral and social guidance etc.