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About DanWilde1966

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 14/08/1966


  • Biography
    I have two degrees in English and teach English to advanced level...
  • Location
    South London - Thamesmead
  • Interests
    Reading, DVD, writing, F1 (watching, not driving... ;) )
  • How did you hear about this site?
    I came across it during a web-search.

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  1. I had a taste of this post-MA. I did an MA in Modern Fiction in the late 80s, which had me reading something like three or four heavy duty novels a week. Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, James, Flaubert, Fitzgerald, Lawrence... For years after this regime, I couldn't go near a large novel, and found myself reading trashy magazines on the loo, rather than sitting for hours with a good book...
  2. Check out Lautreamont's Maldoror if you want strangeness. It's an extraordinary, surreal piece of work. It's French, of course, but there's an English translation in Penguin...
  3. A few weeks ago, I took Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn off the shelf... In the Eighties, I read through Miller's available books ravenously. I'd come across him via George Orwell's essay "Inside the Whale", and had been intrigued by Orwell's comments on Miller's prose. I read Tropic of Cancer and loved it; I read Black Spring, and felt that it contained some of the most astonishing prose I'd ever read. And I ploughed through the Rosy Crucifixion trilogy, not to mention a variety of Miller essay anthologies and critical works. And of course, I read the verbal sprawl that is Tropic of Capricorn - and loved every ranting page of it. My experience of Miller a few weeks ago, however, was not a pleasurable one. In fact, I gave up Capricorn after about twenty pages. It struck me as a disorganised muddle - a clutter or memories and reflections, which were exhausting to read. Orwell said that Miller is good for about five pages, but then the reader needs a rest. That few pages charges you up; you don't need anymore. This is an accurate assessment... And yet twenty years ago, I would have classified myself (with a sprinkling of hubris...) as Miller's leading disciple. Now, I go for things like... narrative structure, story, character. All these things are in Capricorn, but buried in the verbal mire. I now find the book unreadable. Does anyone else here have books you would have sworn by years ago, but which have thoroughly disappointed you more recently?
  4. I couldn't agree more. Goodis's novel was classic Goodis, elevating his chosen genre to tragedy. Truffaut's movie has... shall we say, dated badly.
  5. This writer seems to be little-known in the UK, apart (of course) from fanatics in the loop. For me, he is utterly compulsive. Like many great writers, he simply retold the same story over and over again (he died in 1967). Each novel opens with the image of a loser at the bottom of the barrel: a man waking up in the gutter as the sun rises, for instance, or a bunch of dead-beats sitting outside the doss-house, pan-handling for enough money for the next bottle of booze. Then, as the narrative unfolds, it turns out that the central character used to be extremely successful: Whitey in The Street of No Return, for example, used to be a professional singer. The main character in Down There used to be a concert pianist. Each novel builds up a scenario/milieu of human suffering, then flashes back to the earlier time of success. Inevitably, a woman is the cause of the tragedy/downfall. Imagine Rick from Casablanca returning to the US after WW2, and falling on profoundly hard times, and you've got the general idea of Goodis's fiction. The prose is as hard-boiled as one of Delia's eggs. It's readable and very entertaining. The themes are existentialist in many ways. Goodis started his career in the pulps, but in the years since his death, people like the French have elevated him to the status of literature - rightly, in my view. He also influenced the Nouvelle Vague, and had one of his books made into a movie by Truffaut. A number of his other works (such as Dark Passage and The Moon in the Gutter) have been filmed.
  6. Anyone who liked Goldman's book, will also revel in Robert McKee's 1999 STORY. This is a fascinating and weighty tome which I read last summer, and it is as comprehensive a course in the art of story and screenwriting, as Goldman's book is a study of modern (well, 1982) Hollywood. I found myself engrossed. If Goldman's book is full of fascinating anecdotes about movie stars and directors, McKee assumes the role of sage/teacher, unlocking the secrets of great screenwriting and character creation. It looks and feels like a textbook, but it is actually a great read - especially if you have the same taste in movies as he does (his favourite flick seems to be...CASABLANCA!) Anyway, I heartily recommend this work. Has anyone else here read it?
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