Monday, February 19, 2018

Recommended Reading






Writer Carson McCullers was born on this day in 1917. If you do the math, you'll note that's five days after February 14, but just because McCullers missed out on a holiday dedicated to love and romance doesn't mean she didn't have some thoughts on the subject:

 

First of all, love is a joint experience between two persons — but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which had lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world — a world intense and strange, complete in himself. Let it be added here that this lover about whom we speak need not necessarily be a young man saving for a wedding ring — this lover can be man, woman, child, or indeed any human creature on this earth.

Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love. A man may be a doddering great-grandfather and still love only a strange girl he saw in the streets of Cheehaw one afternoon two decades past. The preacher may love a fallen woman. The beloved may be treacherous, greasy-headed, and given to evil habits. Yes, and the lover may see this as clearly as anyone else — but that does not affect the evolution of his love one whit. A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll. Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.

It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.

So what is this 1951 Southern Gothic novella about exactly? It details a romantic triangle involving a woman and two men (one of which happens to be a hunchback.) So who among this trio is the beloved? That's why I'm recommending the book to you, so you'll read it and find out.

I'll tell you what, though, let me google up an image that might clarify things a little. 

"hunchback"..."romantic triangle"..."Southern Gothic"...CLICK!


 OOPS! Wrong hunchback, wrong romantic triangle, and while that building may be Gothic, it sure ain't Southern.




14 comments:

  1. I had no idea Carson McCullers wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I thought Walt Disney wrote it! I'll have to read "her" version.

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    1. He wrote everything, facts are fake news

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    2. Not everything, Adam. Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables of the Wedding, later a movie with Julie Harris (or was that Anne Hathaway?)Here's the plot: Jean Valjean steals a wedding cake, and is pursued across the American South by Javert, the father of the bride. I did hear the Disney Company might turn it into a musical, as it did with that other Carson's McCuller novel, The Lion King is a Lonely Hunter.

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  2. Mitchell, the working title was The Ballad of the Sad Cathedral, but her publisher made her change it.

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    1. And Mitchell, as for Disney, he wrote Reflections in a Goofy Eye, but it's still in development.

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  3. I've never read any of her books and I should, really.

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    1. If you like Tennessee Williams or Flannery O'Conner, you should like her, Debra.

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  4. Really ? She wrote the Hunchback of Notre Dame ?
    I never thought about this as I never really cared for the story or movie.
    But wow how interesting.

    cheers, parsnip

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  5. We're just joking around, parsnip.

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    1. See my brain is so daft that I can not even think any more.
      Still do not like the book or movie.

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    2. It's like Adam said, parsnip, you can't believe anything you read these days.

      Nyet!

      Um, ignore that, please.

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  6. Mitchell, that sound you hear is Carson McCullers and Victor Hugo turning over in their graves, and Walt Disney turning over in his freezer.

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