Objective tags


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Objective tags

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abr. 16, 2009, 2:52pm

I'm new here so apologies if this has been discussed before.

I've been trying to come up with interesting "objective" tags. Tags, that is, which pertain to the book more or less indubitably, but which present interesting interpretive possibilities. Two I've thought of are:

debut / début - an author's first book
swan song - an author's last book

For example, do you tag T.S.Eliot's Four Quartets, for being his "swan song" to poetry, or The Elder Statesman, the last book to be published in his life time, or even Inventions of the March Hare, a posthumous publication. Similar problematics occur with début.

Another, far less objective, but very interesting for interpretation is "considered masterpiece". I'm mostly talking about classic authors. So, for Melville, it's Moby-Dick; for George Eliot, it's Middlemarch. But what happens, for example, with Dostoyevsky. He's got both Karamazov Brothers and Crime and Punishment, to say nothing of The Idiot and Notes From the Underground.


abr. 17, 2009, 4:33am

The author page will tell you which book LT memebers own most of - which is likely to be their masterpiece, so you could use that as your guide.

I'd add the tag 'posthumous' to Inventions, and tag both of the others swan song.

abr. 18, 2009, 9:59am

It's more complicated than that, to my mind to at least. Because popularity is a flimsy guide to quality, as the Zeitgeist page indicates.

In the case of Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment is more popular than Brothers Karamazov; however, I think the latter book is a sort of culmination of his thematic concerns, whereas the former is brilliant, but more limited.

The issue is even more convoluted in the case of, say, Oscar Wilde. It's his lighter works that are most popular, and while I adore all his work, I think there's other stuff that's superior. To complicate the situation further, his best work (IMHO) is usually anthologised. So, for the plays, I think his greatest triumph is Salome; and in prose, some of his fairytales ("The Happy Prince", rather than the "Remarkable Rocket", etc).

The more I think about it, the less I think the 'masterpiece' tag is a good idea.

I like 'posthumous', and can't believe I hadn't thought of it.