Thursday, March 05, 2009

Literary activities

My colleagues were both out of the office for two days this week, and despite being invaded twice by a secretary who decided to do her filing over the lunch period (eh?!) I managed to grab a little bit of “me” time in my allotted hour.

I knitted a few rows of Simple Yet Effective, and listened to a Radio 4 short story reading from the Bath Festival: Knit One Purl One. It is on the “Listen Again” part of the website, so if you have 15 minutes to spare, I do recommend it!

I also did some reading. For my birthday last year, I asked FL to buy me a box of books, the“Great Loves” set from Penguin (from The Book People so ridiculously cheap!), which might sound like a pile of chick-lit, but is anything but. Imagine 20 slim but densely-written volumes exploring complex, difficult, often controversial relationships – that’s what’s in here! So far, I have read “Mary” by Nabokov and “The Kreutzer Sonata” by Tolstoy. Both deeply, pessimistically Russian! My rusty literary brain is slowly cranking up a gear or two as I read.

Now I am immersed in “Bonjour Tristesse” by Francoise Sagan. I can tell that I should be reading in French to get the most out of it. Hmmm. That would be more than “up a gear”, that would be a whole new engine! But maybe that’s what I need to do right now. I see it is available in French as a free audio download on the web... now there's a project to accompany lunchtime knitting! ( I haven't included the link for fear of spam, but it is easily found.)

It is a strange experience to return to "proper" literature in the age of the internet. I wonder what it is like to be an English student nowadays? You have access to so many journals and reviews online, plus all the web-based book groups- how easy to absorb the thoughts of others and pass them off as your own! I remember telling my 6th-form English teacher that I found my long essay impossible to write because I had nothing to say that hadn’t already been said. She briskly told me to just get on with it – it wasn’t a PhD! But what if it was? How can anyone achieve originality nowadays?

1 comment:

Kate said...

Plagiarism is actually very easy to spot ... its just a question of noticing the 'join' between different writing styles -- and digitisation of everything makes the spotting so much easier - you can generally identify the original source in seconds.

Re: originality, there will always be unthought thoughts, and space to imagine the unimaginable. That said, the unoriginal is (depressingly) abundant (particularly in my field).