Feb. 19th, 2017

stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Just a few squibs about books I've read recently/ am reading now.

1. Some of my recent Project Gutenberg downloads are late nineteenth century fantasy collections - The Bee-Man of Orm and Other Fanciful Tales, by Frank Stockton, and The Twilight of the Gods, and Other Tales, by Richard Garnett. Like most fantasy of the time, they rely on imaginary versions of historical locations - ancient Greece and Rome, the Muslim lands, India and China - for their settings. Stockton's stories tend to a certain silliness; they're not much more than mind candy, but they're fun. The Garnett stories are a bit more serious, although they frequently have humorous twists. I enjoyed both collections quite a bit. (Garnett was the father-in-law of the famous translator Constance Garnett.)

2. I also downloaded and read William Morris's News from Nowhere, a utopia with the characteristic didacticism of that genre. I found it rather dull, for the most part, although the description of the change-over from late capitalism to anarchistic communism has some interesting bits. Notably, Morris describes a massacre at Trafalgar Square which bears considerable resemblance to the Amritsar Massacre, although the latter was still many years in the future when Morris wrote.

3. I'm now reading Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, another utopia. Bellamy's vision was of a smoothly functioning state socialism, or perhaps state corporatism. Like NfN, it's rather didactic, but the characters seem a bit more fully fleshed than Morris's. It's odd, because Morris is a much better writer than Bellamy in general; I still reread The Well at the World's End every few years, with much enjoyment.

4. I also just finished Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I picked up at PG on a whim. [personal profile] colliemommie, I agree with you; I enjoyed it more than the other Bronte books I've read. Anne's writing is more akin to George Eliot's (although with more religiosity) than to that of her sisters.

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