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    (Original post by Mr White)
    One of very few female writers I respect is the one you didn't bother to include: Slyvia Plath.
    Have you read the 'Bell Jar'? I think its superb. She has amazing tallent for drawing you in so that you can become almost breathless when she takes you from metaphor to metaphor. I also like Plaths collection of short stories 'Jonny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams'.

    When did you discover her?
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    (Original post by Mr White)
    Great... you found 14 examples to illustrate your point. Well done, have a gold star.
    No thanks, i've got too many already. You maintained that "female writers" were "somewhat less adept at writing than the male deputation". I hope, with a prose style like that, you don't count yourself part of the male deputation. I merely rattled off a few first-rate female writers that came to mind at once. It would take a far less brilliant mind than mine to make a full historical list. Perhaps you'd like to have a go?
    Now, shall I list all the male novelists, short story writers and poets? I don't think that would accomplish much, because clearly you are so absorbed in believing in complete equality that you completely ignore facts.
    You could list the male novelists etc on a par with these: a much shorter list. While you are at it, what, precisely, is the difference between facts and mere mundane facts?

    One of very few female writers I respect is the one you didn't bother to include: Slyvia Plath.
    Not the only one and a deliberate omission. I don't think Plath is that good.
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    (Original post by Mr White)
    Great... you found 14 examples to illustrate your point. Well done, have a gold star. Now, shall I list all the male novelists, short story writers and poets? I don't think that would accomplish much, because clearly you are so absorbed in believing in complete equality that you completely ignore facts.

    One of very few female writers I respect is the one you didn't bother to include: Slyvia Plath.
    I could name more than weejimmy but I believe it would prove nothing. Female authors do indeed write just as well as male authors. You're judging before you even read a story by a female author.. and if you HAVE indeed read a book by one, that doesn't mean that all books by women are the same.
    If I use the same reasoning you're using I could say I don't want to read my favorite books anymore because one of the authors is a mormon, and I absolutely detest mormons.. but I've read his books, and I love them. So what does it matter? I suggest you try to read a GOOD female author's work befor you judge all females.
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    (Original post by Scottus_Mus)
    Have you read the 'Bell Jar'? I think its superb. She has amazing tallent for drawing you in so that you can become almost breathless when she takes you from metaphor to metaphor. I also like Plaths collection of short stories 'Jonny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams'.

    When did you discover her?
    The BellJar is outstanding as a novel - a supremely talented almost all auto-biographical. The correlation between the fated ending of the central character and Plath's own life is crazy...

    The collection of poems Ariel is also superb - specifically Daddy.
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    (Original post by Weejimmie)
    Not the only one and a deliberate omission. I don't think Plath is that good.
    *GASP*
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    The bell jar is a beautiful read too anyone who likes soulful books. You get a real feeling of Plath's soul throughout the books and do find yourself asking 'am I reading about Plath or the character?' (Incidentally I have forgotten the characters name probably because Plath makes it so convincing and it mirrors her life so much you are tempted the character mirrors her).

    Go out and buy it!
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    (Original post by Scottus_Mus)
    The bell jar is a beautiful read too anyone who likes soulful books. You get a real feeling of Plath's soul throughout the books and do find yourself asking 'am I reading about Plath or the character?' (Incidentally I have forgotten the characters name probably because Plath makes it so convincing and it mirrors her life so much you are tempted the character mirrors her).

    Go out and buy it!
    Esther Greenwood. Interestingly, SP herself called the novel a 'pot-boiler'. She didn't have much confidence in her ability to write prose The Journals, I feel, prove her wrong. She once commented in an essay that 'Writing poetry is an evasion of the real job of writing'. (it's in one of the essays in Johnny Panic
    and the Bible of Dreams
    ).
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    Well, as I've spread shock and awe with my remarks about sylvia Plath, a brief justification for them. I'll only deal with her poetry.
    First of all, "I don't think Plath is that good." I don't think she is bad, but there are other better poets. I certainly wouldn't put her in any list of major poets- except for a list of poets who sacrificed themselves to their poetry, which I think Plath did, at least in part. Her first book, The Colossus, is good derivative poetry- the work of someone with a good talent who might make more of it. It is the later work, from Ariel onwards, that i am dubious about. There are some good poems- even great perhaps: Daddy, which people have cited above, Lady Lazarus, the Arrival of the Bee Box, The Ritual... but, again, their quality is part of the defect to me. They are poems which move away from ordinary life as humans live it, to a world where real madness and poetic madness fuse. There are faults as poems too- they depend so much on her incantatory arts that when these fail the metrical narrowness and the limited range of subject and metaphor stand bare.
    Plath was not the only poet who- as someone cynically said- went mad to find a subject and manner for poetry. Other US contemporaries of hers were mentally ill and used it for poetry- John Berryman, Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell for instance.
    There is an interesting essay by Philip Larkin- and you'd have a hard job finding a poet of the same generation less like Plath, but the essay is surprisingly sympathetic- in which he suggests that Plath was using her madness to make poetry and then the madness took her over. I don't know whether Plath thought or would think the price was worthwhile, but even if the poetry were much better, I don't:
    "We don't want madness and the whole thing here."
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    (Original post by Scottus_Mus)
    The bell jar is a beautiful read too anyone who likes soulful books. You get a real feeling of Plath's soul throughout the books and do find yourself asking 'am I reading about Plath or the character?' (Incidentally I have forgotten the characters name probably because Plath makes it so convincing and it mirrors her life so much you are tempted the character mirrors her).

    Go out and buy it!
    I've never even heard of the book.
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    Some very interesting points you have made. Although the suggestion that her madness was a concious and deliberate decision is somewhat narrow. It cannot be determined whether her writing (and often frustrations with it) contributed to her madness (which i believe) or she became mad to write; for one point somebody does not become mad, there are external as well as internal influences. Whether she 'used' her madness - a term which i dislike, since it is a concious decision and madness does not necessarily allow for the awareness of the disease - is the same as arguing someone who uses there social status or position as a critical commentary on that society - which is often allowed and praised. I believe it was her attempt at recovering and trying to understand her madness which is the greatest influence in her poetry (and especially the Bell Jar).

    I would agree with you about the poem Daddy - absolutely superb! The faults which you single out can only be your opinion or interpretation, since what you believe to 'faults' others admire as signatory and clever elements of her poetry. Of course there are better general poets but in the context of the subject matter explored i do believe Plath is one of the greats.

    It's fantastic to read such interesting opinions, and ones which are completely contrasting to my own and others!!
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    (Original post by Specialheffa)
    Although the suggestion that her madness was a concious and deliberate decision is somewhat narrow.
    It was, I think, a malevolent joke. It is a mistake to see people with mental illness as always helpless victims of their illness, and- possibly unfairly- I think Plath may have used her madness as both inspiration and subject. It wasn't just a matter of conscious choice of course, but she may have tried to use her writing as a way to control her madness as well. There was also the attitude to poetry at that time- Laura Riding and Robert Graves- big influences then- thought that poets were special people with special rights and special kinds of sufferings, woman poets especially.
    I believe it was her attempt at recovering and trying to understand her madness which is the greatest influence in her poetry (and especially the Bell Jar).
    Ah. Here we differ. Plath followed Riding and Graves I think in regarding prose as hack work, but The Bell Jar is an attempt to distance and understand, where the later poetry is a kind of dance with death and madness, a way to transcend them. John Berryman in the Dream Songs has some similar poems.
    The faults which you single out can only be your opinion or interpretation, since what you believe to 'faults' others admire as signatory and clever elements of her poetry.
    I think they only become faults or become noticeable as faults when the poems fail for other reasons and- because the poems are limited in subject- they fail too often for my taste. It is a problem; i am very probably looking for and wanting something different to what Plath offers much of the time, so I do not always find the virtues her admirers do, but notice the faults which- to her admirers- are irrelevant. Partly this is distaste for the subject matter, I'd agree, but compare Charlotte Mew who was even glummer. there is a humanity to her poems of madness- The Farmer's Wife, say- that there isn't in Plath.
    Of course there are better general poets but in the context of the subject matter explored i do believe Plath is one of the greats.
    I find myself wondering does she become a clinical subject rather than a poet, though. Is a great pathological specimen the same thing as a great poet?

    It's fantastic to read such interesting opinions, and ones which are completely contrasting to my own and others!!
    Keep up the flattery- it'll always work wonders. Well, there isn't much point expressing the same opinion as everyone else- by definition, there are lots of other people doing that already!
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    Has anyone on here read 'Longitude' by Dava Sobel? I finished it the other day and was not too impressed with it. It was interesting but I found the lack of science quite frustrating. I also felt it was poorly written. Why we were given Harrison's verbatim quotations when she herself said they were basically nonsensical and poorly constructed I don't know.
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    Oh, I bought the book Breideshead Revisited as was suggested, I had to order the damn thing.. not last weekend but the weekend before, and the stupid thing isn't even in yet. 6-10 days me arse. heh, today's the 10th day.
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    When you read it you'll fall in love with it and forget about the wait. It'll be worth it believe me!

    I'm currently trudging my way through Einstien's Special and General Theory of relativity. Its not so much fun as Brideshead. Nearly at the end and I understand it. For my liking there are too many train analogies.
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    (Original post by Scottus_Mus)
    When you read it you'll fall in love with it and forget about the wait. It'll be worth it believe me!

    I'm currently trudging my way through Einstien's Special and General Theory of relativity. Its not so much fun as Brideshead. Nearly at the end and I understand it. For my liking there are too many train analogies.
    lol, ok. If it comes in on time I will read it on my vacation. (MAINE WOOHOO! I CAN'T WAIT!!!).. heh hemm.. anyways. Could you explain to me what the book is about.. give me a little synopsis?
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    Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred And Profane Memories Of Captin Charles Ryder.

    The prologue of this book descibes a captin during WW2 based in England. His regiment are then moved to a new base in a statley home called Brideshead. Charles Ryder the captin, had been to Brideshead before and knew te family that lived there very well. The place provides a stimulus for the memories of happyness and sadness that he has tried to shut out.

    You then learn of how he met the family, and his subsequent involvment with them. You are introduced to a whole number of sensational characters who keep reappearing througout the book.

    I'm finding this really hard to descirbe becasue I don't want to give to much away. There are still heated debates that go on about the sexuality of some of the characters and the nature of their relationship and I don't want to tell you how I think and in doing so give you a false impression.

    To sum it up. It is a study of conflict between demands of religion and the desires of the flesh. At once romantic, sensuous, comic and sombre it explores the lives of lords and ladies, catholics and eccentrics, artists and misfits, with great wit.
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    You said to me before, that this book will change the way I view life. How so?
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    Well it’s so poignant! Reading it you sympathise with the characters and when you get to the end of the book I felt a loss in myself. I wasn’t the same person.

    It's as if you become so emotionally involved with the characters that they become your friends. Their traits are so well described that later on when they say a sentence you know its not how you knew them earlier in the book. That they have changed.

    I think it’s the understanding that relationships change so easily that changes you emotionally. It changed my outlook on life. It changed the way I see myself and in turn how others perceived me.

    Its beauty and charm changes the way you feel inside. It’s my favourite book and if I feel sad or low I escape into it like Charles and Sebastian escape in the book itself. You can find your salvation in the lives of the other character.
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    Did you like the book Catcher in the Rye?

    Umm.. I know what you mean by getting lost in the lives of the characters.
    There's this book over here, its called "Go Ask Alice," I don't know if you've ever read it, but I highly recommend it. When I finished that book, it was amazing, I couldn't read another book for like.. 3 months, that one changed me ALOT.
    umm.. another one that changed me.. A Farewell To Arms, but then again, war changes everyone.
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    Brideshead was particularly poignant for me because it contains a homosexual relationship. It helped me to find strength and pride in who I am without dominating the book
 
 
 
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