Stream of Consciousness

This weekend marks the end of week 8 of the quarter, which means several things.

  1. If I finish both The Portrait of Dorian Gray and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde before I go to sleep tomorrow, I will be on track for two of my three reading lists. (I’m halfway through the former and relishing the opportunity to reread Wilde.)
  2. Which is really a corollary to 1, I am going to spend most of Passover/Spring Break catching up on my literature and the mind list, which I cannot seem to get through at a reasonable speed. I’m suffering from a surfeit of incomprehensible French philosophers.
  3. My students’ papers are due in 10 days. I’m looking forward to quite a few of them.
  4. My final paper is due in two weeks and I just started working on it. The nice thing about a fair amount of digital work is that there isn’t much research that needs to be done because you’re interested in developing new techniques for analysis and then, maybe, comparing it with old results. The downside is that you begin with several hours of work in Excel spreadsheets. I suppose I could have chosen something a little less busy-work intensive, but  I just…really like social network graphs. So I’m making one for William Faulkner’s Light in August. I’ve already needed to think up rules for people talking about conversations they overheard from other people, which might actually be a stylistic choice to look into. How much of this novel is told from these embedded perspectives?

On a mostly unrelated note, I just finished reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton and really enjoyed it. It was not, in my oh so humble opinion, as good as North and South, which is her masterpiece, but it was good. It’s Gaskell’s first book and it shows especially in her inability, as narrator, not to interrupt the story and defend her poor characters (who she sets in opposition to her presumed-rich readers). And, having read both North and South and Wives and Daughters, I can’t help but notice that Gaskell has this thing for jealous mothers of men. Many of her parents resent marriage and losing their children, but the mothers of men in particular are loathe to let their sons go and, though they often couch it in terms of their belief that the man’s intended is not good enough, the occasional insight in the characters’ minds makes it seem deeper than that.

I have no idea where I was going with this, it just struck me as something interesting about Gaskell. If you’ve read her work (or not), feel free to chime in. Now I’m going to go back to recording character interactions in Light in August while watching the BBC adaptation of North and South starring Thorin Dreamboatshield.



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4 responses to “Stream of Consciousness

  1. I went on an Elizabeth Gaskell kick this year too! Mary Barton vs. Adam Bede: Discuss.

    • Having never read Adam Bede (I know, I know, I’m a bad Victorianist), I would have to say Mary Barton.

      • No, I don’t mean which you like better (Mary Barton, by the way. Much more satisfying ending.) I just mean that they’re weirdly similar. So that probably shouldn’t have said “vs.”. I’m not a competitive person usually.

        • Fair enough.
          I did like the ending–Mary Barton was one of those books that I couldn’t fall asleep until I had finished even though I knew exactly how it was going to end.

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