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Member: tomcatMurr

CollectionsYour library (1,157), Wishlist (1), All collections (1,158)

Reviews129 reviews

TagsLit Fic (542), Still Unread (250), Rus (147), Poetry (145), Really Great Book (138), Bio (127), Hist (118), Lit Crit (108), Phil (79), China (68) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

About me"No matter how much a man may study, reflect and meditate on all the books in the world, he is nothing more than a minor scribe unless he has read the great book."

I am a reader in search of the great book, a minor scribe. I work in applied linguistics, but literature is an obsession. Reading is the most important and necessary pleasure in life.

True criticism is a search for beauty and truth and an announcement of them.
Robert Lynd

"The First Night
Night falls, soothing to lascivious old men
My cat, Murr, hunched like some heraldic sphinx,
Uneasily surveys, from his fantastic eyeball
The gradual ascent of the chlorotic moon.

The hour of children’s prayers, when whoring Paris
Hurls on to the pavement of every boulevard
Her cold-breasted girls, who wander with searching
Animal eyes under the pale street lights.

With my cat, Murr, I meditate at my window
I think of the newborn everywhere;
I think of the dead who were buried today.

I imagine myself within the cemetery,
Entering the tombs, going in place
Of those who will spend their first night there."
Jules Laforge

"Books became the first and only reality, whereas reality itself was regarded as either nonsense or nuisance. Compared to others, we were ostensibly flunking or faking our lives. But, come to think of it, existence which ignores the standards professed in literature is inferior and unworthy of effort."
Joseph Brodsky 'Less than One'

"Forgive us literature, forgive us our transgressions, as we forgive yours."
Dostoevsky 'Petersburg Chronicles'

"Culture is the best that has been thought and known in the world."
Matthew Arnold

"What's poetry, if it's worth its salt
but a phrase men can pass from hand to mouth?
From hand to mouth, across the centuries,
the bread that lasts when systems have decayed..."
Derek Walcott 'The Forests of Europe'

You may follow my reading log here:,

or visit my blog here:

I am a cat with a catty sense of play. However, my intentions are always good so assume the best. A knowledge of Hoffmann helps.

To acknowledge a fake as fake contributes only to the triumph of accountants.
Werner Herzog

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus."
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
SN 22.59

GroupsAnd Other Stories, BBC Radio 3 Listeners, Bully's Tavern, Club Read 2013, Happy Heathens, I became a fabulous opera, Infinite Jesters, Le Salon du peuple pour le peuple, The Chapel of the Abyss, The Diogenes Clubshow all groups


Real nameWhat is reality?


Favorite authorsNot set

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/tomcatMurr (profile)
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Member sinceDec 8, 2006

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Ah yes, Fannie -- friendliest cat I've ever known. You could surround her with 10 kids and toddlers all trying to pet her at the same time and she wouldn't flinch.
Parker was because she was found living in the sewers in a parking lot; Micah was her Humane Society name; Fannie was because she has terrible wounds on her fanny (US usage) when she was rescued. We had her for more than 10 years and I miss her every day.

One of our current cats is named Oliver (one-eyed Norwegian barn cat) but half the time we call him Oscar, Arnold, Arthur or Walter....
Thanks. I couldn't restrain myself and, after seeing some positive mentions of the UChi translation of the shorter Tales, already ordered the 2 vol U Chi set; though I'm getting some paperbacks too. It's a bit frustrating how there doesn't seem to be an all-inclusive edition of the Tales, just various semi-overlapping ones (Penguin, Oxford, U Chi, Dover, Ungar)
yo tcm --umma figuring you da guy maybe to answer me this kesty-own...
(sorry, too much coffee laced with...)

I've looked through the LT reviews and don't see the translations of L&A of Tomcat Murr addressed. I assume most have read the Penguin edition. Do you happen to have encountered the translation found in vol 2 of the University of Chicago "Selected Writings of ETAH? Sucks? Kicks? Thanks, c-w
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Ma Ying Jou
The address was posted, but the whole message was returned ("daemon" status). The second try may have truncated the address, which is: . And thanks, again.
Sorry not to have answered your note re: printing in Taiwan. I meant to write earlier that I realized that you had included an http:// address in your first response to my question about printing and/or binding. It didnʻt work. (I should use my new computer, but it is So Much WORK to [unlearn the old} re-learn the new --before all the old tss. are concluded. The software for them is probably obsolete. I canʻt go back to scratch.) So, the address led to a static ad with no device for exchanges. So I did nothing. :) So, now, Thank You for reviving the subject.

I know you have Meaningful things to do! I need to know the business is legitimate (I was burned once, on an international agreement). That is why the personal recommendation means a lot to me. If the connection works, Iʻll be glad to reward you for your trouble. Being 4 novels back is ridiculous. But Iʻve finally decided to quit poetry. Itʻs an addiction. But donʻt you already know that?

Mahalo piha..

p.s. You might refer them to me (since the other direction doesnʻt work), if they would just mention your name by a code or your published teacherʻs name by a code. My email address is
Thank you for asking! First, you have my blessing to follow your own inclinations. Secondly, mine is to keep the idiosyncratic tone, queer as that makes the page appear. Iʻm trying to get the drone sense out, and the speaking rhythms back of poetry and the review into print. No doubt the "style" hinders the fast sight-reading of the text (as vs. composition), its efficiency. This explanation is given to assure you the awkward look is notdone for self-promoting attention. But I would respect your decision, however you choose to treat the matter. Iʻm surprised the review is still "in." Gilliom Fisher needs reviews. You may remove my name. I appreciate your keeping her book up front. Her poetic voice is rare, is marvelous; her subject -exceptional in poetry. Thank you again.
Murr: $2,500 Am for 170pp, 1000 copies -- if Perfect Bound (this is crucial) is a very good price, indeed. Would you please send me the names and email addresses of the publisher and printer? Mahalo piha. This is very helpful.
Thank you. That would be wonderful.
tomcatMurr: Re: Taiwanʻs printing is "cheaper." I am searching for a printing AND PERFECT BINDING
business that IS -- NOT Eye-Gouging. I several novels, the latest, est. 300pp., another about 250, and a third 125pp. I do not want a 1,000 copies requirement rider, because I canʻt afford it, but also because of the way distributions are going world-wide. (I wrote Enriquefreequee about it, thinking he would know. He didnʻt. Well, I thought the LT Authors might like to, but LT isnʻt about that. The second letter to him IS on his LT Profile page, any is intereste. Authors should be interested. Well, meanwhile, Iʻd like to get my novels printed. Theyʻve been sitting, waiting for decades. Any help would be much welcomed.
I wept when it ended -- Holmes restores to C his dignity, even through the worst of his self-inflicted eclipses. Damn the idiot questioners: I salute his plagiarism of Schelling and who wouldn't need opium to endure the swill of the 19th Century?
Dr. Benway indeed. I didn't know Penguin had reissued it. I just spent some time scrolling thru a 127 page bibliography of Burroughs. I wonder if Dr. Benway wrote for Burroughs while he slept?
Lovely review of the Mantel novel, Murr! Now that it has the Murr tick of approval, I can now read it myself sometime! (It's such a brick, I didn't want to charge into it unless I was sure it's worth it). But that'll be after I get around to Schama's Citizens, and I don't know when that will be...

Mostly light reading at the moment for me, along with the Jan Swafford biography of Brahms, which is magnificent.
Hi there Murr, I saw your reference to me in your hot review of A Place of Greater Safety! Not sure if I ever said it quite that way, but although I mostly avoid historical novels there are some I think are great, and A Place of Greater Safety is close to, if not at the top of, that list. So I appreciated your review. I actually like a lot of Mantel; she takes chances and doesn't write the same thing over and over again. Do you have a current reading thread? Rebecca
The cat really likes that book.
Hope you're doing okay, Murr. Stay high and dry!
Cheers pal. I want to scrap this whole thesis and write one on his sleazy vilification, but well, one grows middle-aged. Next lifetime.

Hope all is well!
Re: Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae-- you're a better man than I. Never made it through the whole thing. On the basis of your review, I tried to pick it up again at the chapter on Dorian Gray, and then I remembered that I never got far with the book because my thoughts got interrupted by questions like, "Will my vagina dentata require orthodontic braces?"

Oh well. I tell you one Camille Paglia work I was equal to and you might enjoy as well-- check out her DVD commentary for "Basic Instinct." It's pure awesomeness.
Oh, strike me! Will I wot?
Take 'er? Doreen? 'E stan's there arstin me!
As if 'e thort per'aps I'd rather not!

I have a soft spot for ol' sentimental CJ, in spite of annoying dialect and outdated prewar sentimentality.

I had a sudden attack of catalogueitis, and flooded the Friend Activity news :)
Hi Murr:

I thought I'd let you know that I attended a memorial for Donald Richie last night where I learned that, in accordance with his wishes, his ashes have been (or will be) scattered on the Inland Sea. The Inland Sea is, of course the title of, and the setting for, a book that many would say is his best.


David (dcozy)
Thanks, Murr! Felt like I needed to do something. Glad you escaped the shaking.
Thanks! Means a lot coming from you.
Thank you for your notes on the translations of Eugene Onegin. The only one at my library was the Hofstadter, and in reading his introduction the Falen seemed superior. I tried a Kindle sample, but it only had the introduction. After reading the first 20 or so stanzas of the Hofstadter, I despaired, and went to the LT reviews for guidance. Your blog post confirmed my suspicions, and I've purchased and am now starting the Falen.
Writing to thank you for your August 2009 review of "Midnight's Children". I needed someone who could piece that together for me.
Shsssssh: Don't tell 'em where I am.

Hi Murr: Thanks for your post on "How long would you last"

Your profile picture of the "English Language poster" is brilliant, although I think it is fair to say someone had just gone for a "P". :o)
Thanks dear Murr, I'm ok. I'm guessing you're asking because of the fires. It's actually raining a bit today, a brief respite before it gets hot again. Not much water in the rain, but the cool relief is nothing short of miraculous. My local area hasn't been in much danger anyway, though my parents' place between Canberra/Braidwood is under catastrophic conditions. They got a phone call from the Fire Service one night last week telling them to be prepared to get out at a moment's notice. My poor mother has a fear of bushfires almost amounting to a phobia, so it's not very pleasant for her. The fire service has been amazing - in spite of all the fires and terrible conditions, and it is very bad, there's been little damage to property across the state, and no lives lost that I know of.
Thanks for checking. Hugs.
Awful! But you enunciate each syllable in its grammatical entirety with élan and persuasiveness. Sign me up for your course!!

Thank you for your thoughts Mr Murr, at the moment where I live the fire danger has been downgraded from catastrophic to severe and the closest fire is a few of hours south. Still, there's nothing like a text from the Fire Service in the dead of night to keep you on your guard. Cat boxes are at the ready, I've got a bag with my passport, family photos and my grandmothers jewellery packed and my fingers crossed. Keeping up with Club Read posts between checking the web for warnings is keeping me sane :)
Re "Old Woman . . . ": Just so you know, Lola bowed out due to pricing, so if you're interested, I'm still happy to create that scan and send it your way. Best, Jerry
Hi! I saw your post in The Hellfire Club about the rice paper Old Woman Who Lost Her Dumpling. Here's what I told Lola: First of all, I have to tell you that the bottom right corner of the cover is torn away. If you give me your email I can scan it for you and send you the .jpg so you can see exactly I'm describing so that then you can decide if you still want the book. (The picture I posted was a capture from the website you linked to.) Given the range of pricing on ABEbooks and that unfortunate tear, I've got it priced at $120. I also have to charge you my state and local sales tax on the $120, which is 7.875%, so that's $129.45. That would be plus whatever shipping to Taiwan might be (plus insurance if you like). I haven't a clue as to how to convert currency while taking payment, as I've never sold long distance before. Whatever knowledge you have about that would come in handy. So, let me know if you'd like to see that scan. Best, Jerry
Thank you for your thoughts on Brodsky; he's long been one of my oddball favourites. Nobody has surpassed him as a reader of poetry and prose, and his own prose is brilliantly perceptive; a little casual, a little emphatic, as if he's juggling four balls and only half paying attention.

'Watermark' has got to be my favourite of his. It's probably appropriate that I once accidentally soaked it with water.

Best wishes
À difficult text cher ami. I am not sure I grasp all you say , but at least I learned à few new words : palinode and exoticism for instance. Maybe I try again tomorrow


Thanks, Tom. I have no idea how to go about correcting a mistake in the posting of title or author. So sad about Ms. Chang. I understand her mother has written a memoir about her daughter's suicide. It might be something I'll take a look at -- after I recover from reading The Rape of Nanking. ;-)
I know it is Truss. Very irritating that LibraryThing misspelled the author's name.
Saw your message. Thanks, and good morning.

Romains is almost unknown in France now. I discovered these books in my mother-in-law's chalet. Men of Good Will is a very peculiar saga. It's difficult to know if it can interest a foreigner... Even a Frenchman can be bored by Romains' description of the French society before, during, and after WW1. But I like it very much, because I love history, and I learned a lot on politics just before the war. There are many, many characters, ranging from workers to bourgeois and aristocrats. So it's quite varied. The only point where my interest wanes (is that correct?) is when Romains makes talk together 2 students from the École Normale Supérieure (the highest school for literature studies in France), with philosophical dialogs stretching over half volumes. (BTW, Romains was educated at ENS.)
The style is most of the time pure and simple, which makes me think that it can be read in French by a foreigner. I've read 18 volumes now. Still 9 more to read to complete the series. This is a long-run reading.

And yes: I read Dickens in English. I beware of translations. This is why I know almost nothing of the world literature, except French, English and a bit of German because I do not speak other languages. Too bad, but it is so.

Best wishes,

Enjoyed your review of Farewell the Trumpets enough to drag on over here to say so. Good day to you.
Everyone has vanished.
What's your recommendation for a translation of Anna Karenina? I own and have started the Magarshack but my copy is falling apart, so I may be replacing it anyway. I wasn't sure whether to get another copy of his translation, to switch to Constance Garnett or P&V, or to try someone else entirely. I thought I'd consult you on the subject.

Hi, nice to hear from you! Glad you liked the Musil piece. I don't check in at LibraryThing as often as I should, as I'm so busy doing book reviews etc. But yes, I'm still here!

All best
9 thumbs, not bad for à Locke in à YA world !
Thanks, for the good wishes, Murr. A week without wage-slavery is golden indeed.
Just a note to let you know that I'm very much doing the good-cop-bad-cop thing with you over on the YA thread, and that your comment on "Geek and Latin" made me laugh out loud.
Me, tease?! WHY I NEVERRRRR...! :)

My mom says I'll come to a bad end, eventually.
Thanks, Murr. Melville knew.
I have not, though I have it sitting on the shelf near the bed and have read about it more than a little bit and have it on the list of big books that will be cracked soon. But save some "WTFs" along the way for Pierre, Confidence-Man and Clarel, all of which are pretty unlikely anything you're likely to have read before.

So are you now into Mardi? It looks fascinating, especially given my mythological interests.

Great work on the Whale TC. I'm finishing, for the fourth time, Vidal's EMPIRE. What a novel! GV is great, isn't he?
I was browsing "what should you borrow?" and found two sets of duplicates in our librarything - corrected those - but all the other dupes are real. It's too funny to see all those copies of Dunnett books come up;)
Oh it's nice to 'meet' another fan(atic?). I went back to reread my review, what a hoot. I love her books so much I always get carried away. In the Dunnett Yahoo groups we are always wondering how to get people to read these books. (You get an'ether' toaster when you get someone to read the whole of The Lymond Chronicle. As in Mary sold the most widgets! Mary wins a toaster!)
I think I wrote on Amazon that 'these books are FUN!!! please ignore any thing else you hear!".
Have fun,
Grace (Val Lloyd's sister and co-owner of the library.)

Dear Murr:
I loved your rejection of Bleak House. It was uproarious, and I am glad they put it in hot reviews for everyone to see. Thanks.
Hello TC,

Just cataloguing Hav by Jan Morris, and noticed your wonderful review. Must have been a "hot review", eh? Don't know how I missed it, except perhaps because I disabled the "hot review" feature!

Hope all is well with you, over on the other side of the world.

Thanks, Murr. It's all Brent's baby, I'm just helping out a little when I can. I haven't had much time to contribute much to it lately, though.

Hey, I've been meaning to ask if you have ever run across any kaoliang. If you have, what do you think of it?
Excellent review, loved it. (You know the one I mean.) And not just because I'm a Brit.
Thanks very much; it deserves its rising pile of likes (or, as LT prefers, many readers found this review helpful).
Murr, I don't usually "thumb" reviews that are aimed at something other than the book itself, but I have to say that I absolutely loved and chortled over your review of Bleak House. It's also rather frightening, because it's not far from the truth.

I assume you're familiar with this story?

The lack of recognition is genuinely disturbing.

Well done. :)
Gustav and Dulcie (and myself, the lowly, opposable-thumbed minion) are very pleased to make your acquaintance. Who'd have thought that all this time it was the donuts made them do it? Will pop into Le Salon when I can grasp what's going on, or get particularly irate.
You did it again. Redburn and Towers of Trebizond are now on order from ABE books!

Since, as you well know, I am not an intellectual and therefore I have to ask: What was the name of the book I should have gotten from the reference to Aunt Dot? I hope you will forgive me having to ask :-) It sounds interesting!

Hey Murr!

Haven't started Oblomov, decided I needed to read Portrait of the Artist, and have now hopped onto some Dosty, House of the Dead. It's very good. I have one of the newer Dover cheapies, a Garnett translation (which itself is also surprizingly fresh):

I think you might like it. It's only about 200 pages, I'm about 50 in. I see you've been reading Melville's shorter stuff. They're quite good, aren't they? I and my Chimney, The Lightning-rod Man, and The Apple tree table were also great, enjoyable, even shorter works.
Murr, not sure if this is a compliment or an insult - but I saw this and thought of you:
It was the Orang Outang!? HOWL!!! But, but, what about the SPOILER ALERT?
Hey Murr, how ya been? Just wanted to drop by and purr about a couple of recent additions I've made to my library. I finally picked up a copy of Frank's "A Writer in His Time." What a tome! Also snagged Gogol's Collected stories (P/V translation.) I don't know how you feel about Pevear and Volokhonsky as a translating team, but I've loved all their Dostoevsky's so far, so hopefully their Gogol doesn't disappoint.
I do not know how you read it the first time. You may well have approach it this way and there might not be any reason to re-read it. But, given the article and what I know of your posts and interests, I thought that if you hadnt seen it in this light- it would certainly want you to pick it up again. The good thing is that you can really treat any one of the 99 'novels/chapters' individually.

And yes I do have the Shorter OED.. but I also have this ;)
was entirely joking...i hope you know...the post here is great, everything arrives as it should, both here and where sent to, but the Izola postal employees are the least friendly group I've met in Slovenia
By the way, welcome back! We slowed down a bit while you were gone, and are just kind of getting a last breath and heading for the finish line.
Thanks - that book beyond knowing is probably the description I'd give most of my favorite books. But more so this one.
I return repeatedly to your reviews. Clearly you achieve/aspire to your Robert Lynd invocation -- search for beauty and truth. just does not get better that this...

Oh, and happy new year!
Happy Chinese New Year Murr! And happy Year of the Dragon to you and yours :)
Oh, good. We will have to join forces when we start talking about the reading for next year. After I get through February I have no "planned" reading until Eugene Onegin, so I will start ordering the books I need. I know one does not need to read them in order--of course the books are not chronological--but in my mind there is some merit in reading in the order in which they were written.
Murr, was tripping through older threads, and ran across a discussion of Zola wherein you volunteered to lead Germinal. I am still intent on getting through Les Rougons-Macquarts, and have found that I can get most of them through Amazon. I hate giving them the trade, but if they are the only game in town I will give in.

In any event, maybe we could consider Germinal as a group for early 2013? I should be able to make my way up to it by then.


Thanks for your note. I'll try to find time to participate.

Thanks for the ankle rub, Murrushka. Nice kitty. I agree with DM below about those businessmen.
Did I see somewhere that you recently read Oblomov? Trying to pick my next book.

Anyway, good to see you back if briefly. Hopefully those businessman know how lucky they are to have a talent like yourself teaching them English.
Are you around at the moment? It is 2:19 am Dec. 25th. I am up wrapping Christmas presents. At midnight I went out to the barn to see if the goats really do talk. They do, just not in English. I think it may have been Aramaic. At any rate it was all Greek to me. I understand them better when they just say maah. I never realized that one word could have so many meanings depending on intonation and pitch. Possibly Aramaic sounded like this, but I don't know. I wasn't around to hear it. Well ... happy holidays.

Thanks TC for your reading recommendations. They have been added to my ever expanding list of books to read next year.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you TC,

My next years reading plan is to extricate myself from the medievals and to tackle some renaissance literature. I plan to read Villon, Rabelais and Montaigne. I have it in mind to read Mikhail Bakhtin's Rabelais and his World, but was wondering if you had any recommendations from your own readings of that period.

Looking forward to another eventful year in the salon
Hey Tomcat,
Everything is cool, except my level of frustration!!! On top of everything, it is Thanksgiving next week and that week is just gone. *crossing it off the calendar* Hopefully, things will settle down after that. I am so behind on LT, it's going to take me a day just to catch up on reading all the threads. Thanks much for touching base. I haven't forgotten you, rest assured.
Hi... we corresponded a couple of years ago, and you were interested, back then, in my (short-lived) blog. You might like to know that I recently resurrected it, and have been posting links to book reviews I've published online. If you get a chance to take a look, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts! :-)
'Murr, Evita is soon to be revived on Broadway with Elena Roger as Evita (likely fine), Michael Ceveris as Peron (likely brilliant), and Ricky Martin as Che (gulp). Please tell me my apprehension is misplaced.
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...Words cannot express the degree of retarded fail present in this sign. Anyone notice that you can almost count on the English only crowd having horrible grammar and spelling?
You have almost certainly checked this out already:
tomcatMurr, it's been a while, hope you are well! I'm on a bit of Russian literature jag and just finished up with Gogol, who is a delightful (and, as Nabokov said, strange) writer. I'm on to Turgenev soon (well, Lermontov first, come to think of it) and I was wondering if you had a recommendation for which translation of Fathers and Sons you read/recommend. The following are translations/translators' work are available for the kindle: Rosemary Edmonds (Penguin, older), Peter Carson (Penguin, more recent) and Richard Freeborn (Oxford). If you have a recommendation, I'd love to hear it! Thanks!
Thanks TCM. If you haven't read any Theroux, Darconville's Cat is his best work. An Adultery is the quickest read (but still exemplifies his style and themes). Laura Warholic should probably be saved for last (more characters, longueurs, digressions etc.)
Tom, excited to see your high rating of Rene Leys, which has been on my TBR list forever (I have the old Quartet Encounters edition). Will you be gracing us with a review?
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OMG, this would be hilarious if it weren't so sad and infuriating.
no prob, no hurry. Thanks, that makes sense now.
"Like Arendt, Morante is convinced that the evil in men is product of the lack of imagination."

Hi Murr, I'm puzzling over this last line from your review of History. Can you help me?

You asked a while back for the information literarcy rubric I used for grading papers. I wrote a response which I forgot to post, perhaps it was for the best as the humorous tone I was going for wasn't quite on point. Long story short, I can't seem to find it, even in my gmail. We based it on one we found online and made a few minor changes. There was some discussion before grading the papers because some aspects can be a bit more subjective than others. But if you google "informational literary rubrics" you should be able to find one.

I have Jung Chang's (and husband) Moa on a coffee table at home, I see you rated her Wild Swans recently.

Take care!
What is reality?

Don't'chu out me, Mister!
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You know what they say about people who can tie cherry stems in a knot with their tongues: they have slutty grandmas.
Let's see—I've hit your blog by looking for discussion of Onegin translations. It's come up for discussions of Dostoevsky, about which I'm sure you're not too surprised. I actually found Le Salon because of the group read of Bros. K, and that was entirely independent of my having found your blog. (Following blogs is a great idea on which I never follow up.) I found your reading list of 19th and 20th c. Russian works on a different forum—maybe Club Read?—and I think at the time I was searching Google, not specifically within LT. I think I came across your blog again when I discovered Summer in Baden Baden. Except for the Club Read list of Rus lit which I discovered just this week, all the rest were discovered before I knew who you were, or about the Salon, etc. So, yeah... it would seem Google likes you.

I've taken a look at all the books you recommended. They all look very good, and I believe will eventually make it to my library. Thanks again!
Hey Murr,

Well, we have our weekend house in that area. It was my grandparents home, and we thought we might lose it, as that neighborhood was evacuated on Monday. But my father-in-law managed to sneak in there the other day, and told us that everything is still okay. I hope to make it down there this weekend to check on things, but the major highway is still closed, as they are still battling the fire. Unbelievable how fast it got out of control. As of now, I believe they're saying almost 35,000 acres burned and around 1400 homes destroyed. My wife's best friend's step-brother was killed, due to going back into his house to get something after being told to evacuate. Because of the strong winds, most people barely had time to leave their homes before the fire overtook them.

So, for now everything is okay, thanks so much for asking. But if we don't get some rain soon, we could be going through this again. And according to the forecast, there is no rain in sight.
Ah! Thank you very much for all the recommendations. I have a growing urge to dive back into the Russians—there's so much left that I haven't read, and I haven't read anything yet that isn't worth multiple readings. I may just move the Bakhtin and the Steiner to the top of my list, with Nabokov's Onegin commentary to follow.

Also, I realized that I had stumbled on your blog before I ever found Le Salon—I had read your comparison of the translations of Onegin as I planned a re-read of it which hasn't yet come to pass. I would say "small world," but you keep turning up on Google searches related to the Russians.

Thanks again!

P.S. Looking at the two readers on modern criticism—how quickly do they get highly technical, arcane, etc?
Have you written any full length posts on The Master and Margarita?
I'm about halfway through Aspects of the Novel and am wanting more of this kind of thing. I've made a few very limited forays into criticism, but am entirely unequipped for specialist studies. Could I bother you to suggest other titles. You have an extensive collection of criticism, I see, and I've managed to find the 5 books that share "Lit Crit" and "Really Great Book," but what do you suggest for someone just getting started with criticism?

I'm really tempted by the Nabokov Commentaries on Onegin. I've looked at it many times over the last few years. You're description makes it sound even more appealing.

Thank you!

Be sure you peruse The Public Burning before you buy. You may find tiresome what is essentially 581 pages of Coover showing off his writing skills - and those skills while admirable are not especially subtle. Its very post-modern and self-conscious.
I'm trying to get it on amazon UK but it isn't as easy as it should be. my publisher has no ex-slovenia resources, or very few.
i can mail it to you at the count of three, you send the money (discounted to 20 euros plus postage of 8) and I sned the book if we exchange addresses
I'm rick harsch
sončno nabrežje 6
Izola 6310

OR, it is available on kindle, which is a rather sad thing, for somewhere around 10 euros (it's supposed to be 9.99 dollars, but I bought one to see how it works--i don't have the machine but it can be downloaded to computer and i wanted to be able to tell people how to do it--and i was charged between 12 and 13 euros or dollars...)
Thank you for recommending the Forster. I've just finished the first chapter and look forward to the rest. Already enjoying it for his tone. Very readable.

Two communiques from the Authors Guild just now. All is well.

Enough said!

Murr ~

I'm not sure exactly which thread you're talking about. All three organizations, as you may know have their legal departments functioning all the time. It's the nature of the business because of the high stakes and money involved. Depending on the issues, they handle it accordingly. Actors Equity just moves ahead on their own to correct any violations -- issuing cease & desist orders and such like -- without even informing the particular actor involved.

Since you and I took care of the matter so quickly, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Furthermore, I haven't breathed a word of this to anyone. If anything more comes of this I would say all this, that it was a misunderstanding and you meant no infringement or harm. I'll stand with you on that. You don't know me enough to know this is my nature -- but you can count on me keeping my word.

Don't let this start gnawing on your mind and eating at your innards, man! If you should ever be contacted about this, call me and I'll be with you as I said. With the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. I'm going to be calling the AG today (working on the upgrade to my site), and I can get a reading if anything's brewing and put an end to it.

Now put it behind you, and use your good stuff, and the day will be back to normal by nightfall.

Peace to you,


Thanks for tending to that so swiftly, TCM, Actors Equity gets very touchy about those matters, and so does the Authors Guild and Dramatists Guild -- and I'm a member of both.

I really appreciate this, Murr.

Good Morning, TCM ~

I was told that you posted my official actor's headshot online. I said I doubt that is true because: A.) my headshot isn't posted at LT; and B.) that you never asked me for permission to do so.

If you'd please help me find out the facts about this, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for your assistance in this,

Bubba and I are just here chatting up The Recognitions in our comments, going back and forth. Nothing formal. Just our thoughts on the book so far.
Blame that devil, bubba! He made me!
Hi Murr - just back from a week in Normandy, so just picked up your message. Will look in on your thread, and yes some time around October would be good for reading The Novel.

best, z.
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