Thursday, January 29, 2009
"Death will dance for him, they say..."
I'm wading my way through this piece of work: Henry James' Midnight Song by Carol de Chellis Hill, and what a piece of work it is. It's not really a difficult read, but its fragmented style doesn't exactly make for quick reading. Anyhow, I am, inevitably, behind, and trying desperately to catch up (thus the logic of blogging instead of reading...well the book is open next to me and I'm in the library -- it's a start...). The number of main characters in this book is a bit head swirling, but the historical aspect helps a bit as far as keeping them straight. (Freud and co., James, Wharton, Klimt, Fleiss, Jung, Dreyfus... just to name a few) On the other hand the historical aspect confuses things because I'm never sure how much I can rely on my historical knowledge to really link things together and explain motivations for characters, spacial ambiguities, and general thematic situation. I know, big words that have little meaning. But sometimes that's how this book makes me feel! Furthermore, thats just counterintuitive to me, history being a rather important part of my schema.
Also, this book relies heavily on Freudian theory. Now, we all know at least some Freudian theory, since, after all, our society and American thought has been inundated with Freud for the last century or so without much of a check. I find that slightly handicapping because familiarity without authority often leads to false conceptions. So here I am reading along, and the very thought of Freud being a main character leads me to basically psychoanalyze everything! Again, this does not lend itself to quick reading, nor to very brilliant side notes... Now I just know when I get to the end it will all make sense, but in the mean time, I'm busy reading into things that may or may not be pivotal, writing things in the margin like "it was sheer coincidence... or was it...???", and blogging about nothing in particular except that I should be reading and not writing.
Bravo, Carol de Chellis Hill, I have now been drawn in... after all this is a song, and midnight, and Henry bloody James, for god's sake.