+3 votes
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in Other - Entertainment by

I just checked out THE SOUND AND THE FURY...because I have liked the stream-of-consciousness writing of Virginia Wolff and others...it is intriguing. 

So I thought of Faulkner; however have kinda avoided him all these years because he seems so gloomy! Dysfunctional family in the American Deep South and all...did you like his books? Any encouraging words?

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3 Answers

+3 votes
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I read As I Lay Dying in high school. A gloomy story about a dysfunctional Mississippi family, I can't say as I liked it, and some of Faulkner's looong sentences look as if they were translated from German. :D

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(Sigh)...well ty, O'Tink...that has indeed been my impression of Faulkner...think I prolly have to brace myself to take this one on...

+4 votes
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No, I haven't read any of his books. Heard about some of them but they weren't good reports, so I've stayed away from them. Like Dalton Trumbo, you really have to kind of research the books before you decide to take them on.

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Well Rooster, I learned that lesson about researching the books first when I was only 13 y/o ...accidentally got into CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Dostoyevsky, could not give up on it, but I bit off more than I could chew...(go Raskolnikov!). But it took me weeks to recover from THAT one...like you and others, I do get really pulled into the full experience as I read...

Later I learned that Dostoyevsky was considered part of the early existentialist writings...whew!

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Not sure I understand your Dalton Trumbo reference; I recall he was the screenwriter for LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, with Kirk Douglas, are you perhaps referring to his blacklisting by McCarthyism?

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Yes, mostly I was. A lot of his best stuff is forever gone from that crap. Managed to dig up some here and there. Great writer and screenwriter. But he wasn't a commie.

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Rooster, as I have more leisure now to look at my life and assemble an overall picture, I was looking up an old professor from the 1960's University of Washington and my class on the poet John Milton...well HE was called to justify himself and testify against other professors...and he freely admitted he had been a member of the Communist Party, then got disillusioned and left. I remembered him because of his unusual name...Garland O. Ethel...we read PARADISE LOST, AREOPAGITICA, and several other great writings that quarter...and now I still have a permanent love of Milton!

But Dr. Ethel courageously refused to implicate anyone else; nevertheless, some of those fine instructors were fired and never again worked at anything other than manual labor...it was awful. I think my professor had full tenure for about 25 years by then, so that may have been the reason the U of W could not fire him.

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The point of all this? ...I really wonder if ANY at all of those persecuted were actively anti-democracy; maybe they did join Communism for a while, but then got disillusioned and left. 

And now we have lost the legacy of artists like Dalton Trumbo...just that one Kirk Douglas film was enough to convince me of his talent!

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You raise an interesting point about American communists, Virginia.

I agree that most of them were probably not actively anti-democratic, but were reacting first and foremost to the economic crisis of the Great Depression. Nevertheless, from my reading (e.g., Eric Hoffer, The True Believer), I get the impression that many of them suffered from the intellectual hubris common among academics enamored of Marxist theory, saying in effect, "Well, I'm so intelligent that if only I or those like me were in power, we could easily solve all these social and economic problems," but blind the corrupting influence of power, and seemingly oblivious to the fact that in the Soviet Union of that time, it was mostly the cruelest and most brutal individuals who survived at high political levels.

And of course they overlooked that having a high IQ on written tests does not preclude being an awful fool in politics or other practical matters. :ermm: :D

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OtherTink, I have been pondering your insightful comment...because I had not considered the possibility of over-intellectualization in the dynamics of US Communism.

Caveat - I have not read Marx directly and so cannot be fair to him, but as I consider my own hypothesis that capitalism is not working, I read summaries of Marx's message. And (to me), those summaries do seem to be coming from intellect rather than from the wisdom of direct experience/insight. The summaries in fact prevent me, so far, from pursuing Marx further, as a likely waste of time.

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Intellect and reason brought us into the Enlightenment, an alternative to superstition, and no doubt helped with the Industrial Revolution, plus modern scientific method. But I do think they are overrated as a guide to a political system and life in general.

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Hi Virginia,

I remember reading Marxist tracts in college, and literally laughing out loud when they styled the system "Scientific Socialism."  The reason I laughed, of course, was that the system was based on dogma, the Party Line, rather than on real science. I later met an immigrant from communist Poland, who told me that in college, everybody there had to take required courses in Marxism, which most students regarded as nonsense, but of course knew enough to give the True Believer professor the "right" answers on tests. Among students, he estimated that maybe 10% really believed the malarky, and maybe another 10% went along with it with outward enthusiasm, in the hope of getting a cushy government job.

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Well, O'T, that is NOT encouraging me to bite the bullet and look deeper into Marx-ish stuff, in my search for an alternative to (what I see as) the capitalistic dead end...for the moment at least I am going with my own impression from those summaries and let Marx go on his way alone, without me!

+3 votes
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No, I heard of Faulkner's very gloomy, tragic stories, but when I learnt English in England, the literature focused mainly on classic British authors.

My bucket list is long, very long.


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Mine is long also, Marianne!

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@Virginia

Lol - and I am still stumbling behind time.

:)

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