web counter VISITORS SINCE JUNE, 2006

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Trimalchio and other books

The main differences between "Trimalchio" and "Gatsby" are now in the open. Daisy has a conversation with Nick about leaving Tom, her husband, for Gatsby. That never happened in the final edition of the book. The long narrative describing Gatsby's past is also absent until much later in the book.

The book is still beautifully rendered. I've already written about Fitzgerald as a master of lyricism, but he also had a wonderful ear for dialogue. Here's an example: "'One time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil. Reach me a rose, honey, and pour me a last drop on that there crystal glass.'" I know I am going to sound a bit ridiculous by just picking out a word, but in this passage it is "that there" part that makes it so believable. People used to talk back then and to have included that very specific detail without overdoing it is magnificent. Another passage of marvelously (almost miraculous) prose is this: "They stopped here and turned toward each other. Now it was a cool night with that mysterious excitement in it which come at the two changes of the year. The quiet lights in the houses were humming out in the darkness and there was a sort of stir and bustle among the stars. Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place about the trees--he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder." What follows is even more beautiful, "So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete." The sheer magnifience of this passage is enough to convince the most incredulous person that Fitzgerald was, without a doubt, a genius. I already confessed that I am a fan of Fitzgerald. Once I even took my students to his grave: here, here and here. I only have about 40 more pages to go and hope to finish today and start my next selection.

I got a copy of "The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays" by Albert Camus, and another book on the writing life. I really have to start writing and working again creatively. I won't have much time over the weekend but I will try next week.

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At 6:19 PM, Blogger bookwormaddict said...

Thanks for commenting again...I'm doing well. Trying to get a lot of reading in before work tomorrow:)
Oh and I have blogged more on my book review blog:)

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Hello JCR,
I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to read your post as yet.
You mentioned the reasons on my blog as to why you were a reader and not writer.
I disagree.
You are very much of the real writer to me, JCR. You just seem a little cautious about stepping in to find your voice. I would say let your imagination fly and you will easily get by!:-)


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