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W. S. Maugham's Reading Suggestions for Spiritual Enrichment: Continental

Tipus: Llista predeterminada creada per WSMaugham

Descripció: Based on Books and You, Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1940, chapter 2.

Membres: 2 membres participants (mostra-les totes)

Llista de tots els membresOrdena: Valoració | Títol | Autor | Data
1
3,917 membres, 40 ressenyes
4.36 estrelles (4.36 estrelles)

Llistes: Waldstein (1), WSMaugham (2)

Valoració: 7.36

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (2): Much has been said of Montaigne’s scepticism, and if to see that there are two sides to a question, and that when certainty is impossible it is sensible to keep an open mind, is scepticism, I suppose he was a sceptic. But his scepticism taught him tolerance – a virtue our own day more than ever needs – and his interest in human beings, his enjoyment of life, led him to an indulgence that, could we but possess it, would help us not only to be happy ourselves but to make others happy also.… (més)

2
2,671 membres, 23 ressenyes
3.56 estrelles (3.56 estrelles)

Llistes: Waldstein (2), WSMaugham (10)

Valoració: 5.61

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (10): It is a book that few, I should imagine, will read without interest, though many will read it with disgust. But if you find the study of human nature the most absorbing of all studies, you cannot fail to find this book rewarding, for here you have a man who has laid bare his soul with candour. He does not, like many who have written of themselves, merely exhibit frailties which after all are rather engaging; he does not hesitate to show himself ungrateful, unscrupulous, dishonest, base and mean. [...] ...and I don’t know who, if he is completely honest with himself, can read the confessions of this weak-willed, petulant, vain and miserable creature without saying to himself: “After all, is there so much to choose between him and me? If the whole truth were known about me, should I, who turn away shocked from these revelations, cut so pretty a figure?” So I warn you, I think no one can read this book without some disturbance to the self-complacency which is our chief defence in our dealing with this difficult world.… (més)

3
22,325 membres, 336 ressenyes
3.75 estrelles (3.75 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (3), Waldstein (6)

Valoració: 5.6

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (3): It is a landmark in the history of modern fiction. On reading it again recently I could not but feel that Flaubert’s desire to be unshrinkingly objective has resulted in a certain frigidity of tone, a certain dryness, and this somewhat qualified my admiration; but I still thought it a great and powerful work. The characters are described with minuteness and verisimilitude. It leaves you, when you have finished it, with a feeling of profound, yet half-contemptuous, pity for those commonplace people for whom life has proved so cruel.… (més)

4
8,029 membres, 112 ressenyes
3.86 estrelles (3.86 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (4), Waldstein (7)

Valoració: 5.29

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (4): To my mind, The Red and the Black is for its two thirds one of the best novels ever written; I think it fails then, and for a very singular reason. Stendhal founded it on fact, but the character he invented, Julien Sorel, ran away with him, as the characters of our invention often do, and when Stendhal forced him to behave in such a way as to fit the actual circumstances which had been the inspiration of his story, you are disconcerted, for you cannot believe that the unscrupulous, ambitious and resolute man whom he has drawn would act with such a foolish disregard of consequences.… (més)

5
1,965 membres, 51 ressenyes
3.43 estrelles (3.43 estrelles)

Llistes: Waldstein (3), WSMaugham (11)

Valoració: 5.24

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (11): It is a moving tale, for the personages concerned are desirous of doing what they consider their duty and are defeated by circumstances beyond their control. The moral seems to be that you should ask of no one more than it is in his power to give. It is an instructive book to read nowadays, when it seems generally accepted that love knows no law and that duty must in all cases yield to inclination.… (més)

6
5,089 membres, 88 ressenyes
3.8 estrelles (3.8 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (5), Waldstein (8)

Valoració: 5.05

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (5): Taking him all and all, I suppose Balzac is the greatest novelist who ever lived. Like Dickens, he was more at his ease with the extraordinary than with the usual, and he depicted the vile with greater force than the deserving; but he was a creator even more prodigious than Dickens, and his scope was greater. He sought to write the history of society in his own time, and in some measure he succeeded. When you read him you do not feel that you are concerned with a limited group of persons, but with the commonweal at large, in which bigger issues than the fate of individuals are involved. [...] He wrote badly, he was excessive, he had no taste, but he had a passion and a vigour which enabled him to create characters, extravagant and abnormal doubtless, who are violently and magnificently alive. He is often blamed for the melodramatic nature of his stories, but I ask myself how it is possible to expect that these exceptional persons should move in a world of measure and restraint. The storm needs the mountains and the sea for its grandeur. It is hard to choose one among the many deeply interesting novels that Balzac wrote, but since to my mind Father Goriot shows most completely his thrilling and varied power, I think that is the one I would recommend to your attention.… (més)

7
1,713 membres, 47 ressenyes
3.37 estrelles (3.37 estrelles)

Llistes: Waldstein (4), WSMaugham (12)

Valoració: 4.98

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (12): I envy anyone who reads this delicious book for the first time. How fresh, how natural and how charming is Manon, for all her faults; and how moving is Des Grieux’s constant love for the faithless creature! Weak? Of course he is weak. A baggage? Of course she is a baggage. She is inconstant, mercenary and cruel, and she is loving, generous and tender; the type is immortal, and I think it will be long before the memory of pretty Manon fades from the hearts of men.… (més)

8
17,524 membres, 268 ressenyes
3.82 estrelles (3.82 estrelles)

Llistes: Waldstein (5), WSMaugham (14)

Valoració: 4.74

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (14): Never has a man had a more versatile and lively mind than Voltaire, and in this novel he exercised his cynical gaiety at the expense of most subjects which men have agreed to take seriously – religion and government, love, ambition and loyalty – and its moral, such as it is (and not a bad one either) is: Be tolerant and cultivate your garden: that is, do whatever you have to do with diligence and fortitude.… (més)

9
24,632 membres, 282 ressenyes
4.38 estrelles (4.38 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (8), Waldstein (9)

Valoració: 4.69

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (8): The Brothers Karamazov is a shapeless book, of great length, and in parts diffuse; but except for certain chapters towards the end, it holds you with a firm grip; if it contains scenes of great horror, it contains others of great beauty. I know no novel in which the sublimity and vileness of man are so wonderfully portrait, none in which the tragic adventures and the shattering experiences of which his soul is capable are depicted with so much compassion and so much force.… (més)

10
1,015 membres, 10 ressenyes
3.89 estrelles (3.89 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (1)

Valoració: 4

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (1): Shelton made a translation of it early in the seventeenth century, but you may not find it very convenient to read; and since I want you to read with delight, I suggest that you should read it in Ormsby’s more recent version, published in 1885. But I should like to warn you of one thing: Cervantes was a poor man and he was paid to provide a certain amount of work; he had by him, one may presume, some short stories, and it seemed to him a very good notion to use them to fill out his book. I have read them, but I read them as Doctor Johnson read Paradise Lost – as a duty rather than with pleasure – and if I were you, I would skip them. In Ormsby’s version, in order to make it easy to do this, they are printed in smaller type. After all, it is Don Quixote himself you want – Don Quixote with his faithful Sancho Panza; he is tender, loyal and great-hearted; and though you cannot but laugh at his misadventures (less now than his contemporaries did, for we are more squeamish than they were and the jests that were played on him are sometimes too cruel to amuse us), you must be very insensitive if you do not feel for the Knight of the Rueful Countenance not only affection but respect. The fantasy of man has never created a personage that so deeply appeals to a generous nature.… (més)

11
825 membres, 12 ressenyes
3.72 estrelles (3.72 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (6)

Valoració: 2.56

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (6): Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship – I cannot recommend the Travels, which are intolerable – is at once poetical, absurd, profound and dull. Well, the dull parts you can skip. Carlyle said that he had not got so many ideas out of any book that he had read for six years, but it is only honest to add that he said also: “Goethe is the greatest genius that has lived for a century and the greatest ass that has lived for three.”… (més)

12
23,729 membres, 378 ressenyes
4.26 estrelles (4.26 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (7)

Valoració: 2.46

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (7): War and Peace is a thrilling, tremendous novel. War and Peace is a work of genius. In it, by the way, Tolstoy did one of the most difficult things a novelist can do: he drew a perfectly natural, charming, lively portrait of a young girl; she is perhaps the most enchanting heroine of fiction; but then he did a thing that none but a great novelist would have thought of: in an epilogue he shows her to you as she has become when, happily married, she is the mother of a family. That exquisite creature has grown fussy, commonplace and a trifle too fat. You are shocked, but you have only for a moment to consider the matter to realize how likely this was to happen. It adds a last note of verisimilitude to this amazing novel.… (més)

13
7,338 membres, 108 ressenyes
3.86 estrelles (3.86 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (9)

Valoració: 2.31

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (9): ...[Turgenev] was an artist, with a delicate sense of the poetry of life, and he had charm, pathos and humanity. He does not greatly move, but neither does he bore; and in Fathers and Sons, by far his best novel, he has depicted for the first time in fiction the Nihilist who was the forerunner of the Communist of our own day. [...] Bazarov is a brutal creature, but he is strangely impressive and not altogether unsympathetic; his power is manifest, and though he has no opportunity for action and so expends himself in words, you cannot but be convinced that, given propitious circumstances, he is capable of translating into deeds the ideas which his audacious mind has formulated. He has a dark and pitiful greatness.… (més)

14
3,710 membres, 67 ressenyes
3.76 estrelles (3.76 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (13)

Valoració: 2.11

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (13): Stendhal wrote two novels which I would have you read; first, The Red and the Black, and then, if you like it as much as I do, The Charterhouse of Parma. For I must tell you that he is my favourite novelist. I like the plain and exact manner in which he wrote and the cool precision of his psychological analysis. He scrutinized the workings of the human heart with perspicacity. Energy was the quality that he most admired in men, and the creatures of his fancy that he has studied with most elaborate and anxious care are those who will allow no obstacles to prevent them from exercising their forceful will and who will hesitate at no crime to achieve the end on which they have determined.… (més)

15
626 membres, 6 ressenyes
3.54 estrelles (3.54 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (15)

Valoració: 2.03

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (15): Benjamin Constant wrote a short novel called Adolphe in which, reversing the practice of most authors who are more inclined to describe the beginnings of a love affair, he has analyzed with rare power its decline. It is a real human document.… (més)

16
1 membre, 0 ressenyes

Llistes: WSMaugham (16)

Valoració: 2

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (16): Anatole France had a small but exquisite talent, which he displayed with rare felicity in a volume of stories called The Mother-of-Pearl Case. He was at one time too highly esteemed, but the neglect which has now befallen him is unjust.… (més)

17
3,210 membres, 39 ressenyes
4.51 estrelles (4.51 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (17)

Valoració: 1.97

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (17): [Proust] is often repetitive, his self-analyses grow wearisome, and his obsession with the tedious emotion of jealousy fatigues in the long run even his most willing readers; but his defects are far more than compensated by his merits. He is a great and original writer. He has subtlety, creative power and psychological insight; but I think the future will hail him above all as a wonderful humorist. So I recommend you to start at the beginning of this copious novel, read till you are bored, skip and start reading again; but to take care to miss nothing of Madame Verdurin or the Baron de Charlus. They are the richest creations of the comic fancy our time has seen.… (més)

18
17,736 membres, 220 ressenyes
4.07 estrelles (4.07 estrelles)

Llistes: WSMaugham (18)

Valoració: 1.94

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (18): In The Three Musketeers you have a grand romantic novel. It may not be literature, the characters may be sketchy and the plot ill-contrived, but it is wonderfully readable; and to be that, I may remind you, is the novelist’s indispensable faculty.… (més)

19
32,298 membres, 555 ressenyes
4.15 estrelles (4.15 estrelles)

Polzes avall: WSMaugham

Valoració: < 0

Explicacions:

WSMaugham (0): In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy painted a rich and vivid picture of Russian society during the last half of the nineteenth century, but the story he had to tell has too much the aspect of a moral tract entirely to please me. Tolstoy strongly disapproved of Anna’s love for Vronsky, and in order to bring it home to the reader that the wages of sin is death he loaded the dice against her. There is no reason, except that Tolstoy had it in for her, why Anna shouldn’t have divorced her husband, whom she had never loved and who cared nothing for her, married Vronsky and lived happily ever after. To bring about the tragic ending on which he had set his mind, Tolstoy had to make his heroine stupid, tiresome, exacting and unreasonable; and though, heaven knows, I would never deny that there are plenty of women who are all these, I do not find it possible greatly to sympathize with the troubles their folly has brought upon them.… (més)

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Iniciat per: WSMaugham (juny 2015)

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