About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadPage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Forward one pageLast Page


Post 0

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 6:54pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
As much as I love Ayn Rand and her novels, and as much as I believe her to be one of the most enlightened thinkers in history, I'm going to have to go with Mark Twain. The man bled insight.



Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 1

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 7:21pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Sometimes when I'm around Objectivists, I'm reminded of the old SNL "Da Bears" skit.  These four guys would sit around drinking and discussing "Da Chicago Bears" under the tutelage of Mike Ditka.  "So if Ayn Rand were up against hurricane Katrina, who would win?"  Spoken by all present: "Ayn Rand".

For ability to plot, characterize, integrate, and tell you the reason for every single word, she did get my vote here.




Post 2

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 7:34pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
English language? - that still has to go to Chaucer...



Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 3

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 8:14pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Robert Malcom wrote: English language? - that still has to go to Chaucer...
Yeah, James Taggart's wedding reception would have much funnier if Francisco had shoved a hot poker up Orren Boyle's ass.  (What would Freud say to that?)

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
 And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
 Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
 Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
 And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
 Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
 The hooly blisful martir for to seke
 That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.


I saw a PBS presentation in which some scholars attempted to recreate the correct pronunciation of that.  Once you get over that, I find the yarns interesting in their revelations of time and place, but lacking something that fails to resonate with me.  On the other hand:

Hwt! We Gardena     in geardagum,
eodcyninga,     rym gefrunon,
hu a elingas     ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing     sceaena reatum,
monegum mgum,     meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas.     Syan rest wear
feasceaft funden,     he s frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum,     weormyndum ah,
ot him ghwylc     ara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade     hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan.     t ws god cyning!
m eafera ws     fter cenned,
geong in geardum,     one god sende
folce to frofre;     fyrenearfe ongeat
e hie r drugon     aldorlease
lange hwile.     Him s liffrea,
wuldres wealdend,     woroldare forgeaf;
Beowulf ws breme     (bld wide sprang),
Scyldes eafera     Scedelandum in.

Well, that sort of gets the blood flowing...  Of course, it did not really change the world in any appreciable way.  Now, Atlas Shrugged, that was good cunning!

 




Post 4

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 8:27pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote

That brought back a long-repressed memory from high school - we had to memorize those first 16 lines and be able to recite them by heart.  The test our teacher gave: he disbanded his classes for the day and just wandered around campus for the entire school day.  Whenever and wherever he saw you and called your name, that was your moment to recite the 16 lines.  It could be the cafeteria, it could be the bathroom.  No matter where you were - it was stop, drop and recite!




Post 5

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 8:45pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ayn Rand takes this one with Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and We the Living. The only other American novel I can think of that's in the same universe is Gone With the Wind.

As for greatest novelist ever Victor Hugo wins it for me. Les Miserables, Ninety-Three, Hunchback of Notre-Dame, The Man Who Laughs, Toilers of the Sea. Holy mackeral!
 
With The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged Rand weaved her philosophy into the story and that made her task much, much harder. Hugo wasn't concerned with philosophy at all at the conscious level. As a result Hugo's writing has an ease to it that Rand didn't reach.

Dostoevsky is no slouch either.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 6

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 7:35pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Charles Dickens, without question.

JR



Post 7

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 9:39pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Yeah - you just loved Little Dorrett, didn't you...



Post 8

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 9:43pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael M,
Yeah, James Taggart's wedding reception would have much funnier if Francisco had shoved a hot poker up Orren Boyle's ass.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL...

My, my. You do have a way with words.

Anyway, I voted other, but that was only because there was no category, "others."

There's just too many good books out there. After you cross a line of quality, its more personal taste than greatness - since it is all great.

Michael




Sanction: 16, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 16, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 16, No Sanction: 0
Post 9

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 10:31pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght "

" Oft Scyld Scefing sceaena reatum,
monegum mgum, meodosetla ofteah, "

Michael, this is your most clearly-written post yet.



Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 10

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 10:13pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"Yeah - you just loved Little Dorrett, didn't you..."

Those of us who are literate spell it Little Dorrit. And no, that's not what I'm talking about. Dickens's greatest novels are Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations.

JR



Post 11

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 5:36amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
the greatest English languge novelist in history.
How can anyone answer such a question?  It's like asking someone to name his favorite blade of grass.





Post 12

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 6:19amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"Charles Dickens, without question." [Jeff]

That's a very strong statement. Care to explain? [I'm asking you, rather than some of the other posters, for elaboration because you are well-read, know a lot about literature, and have taught it.]

Phil



Post 13

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 8:21amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jamie Kelly wrote: "As much as I love Ayn Rand and her novels, and as much as I believe her to be one of the most enlightened thinkers in history, I'm going to have to go with Mark Twain. The man bled insight."

Have you read "What is Man?"? The man bled determinism and collectivism.



Post 14

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 8:25amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Eh, I haven't read ANY of the others...tut,tut...so it'll have to be Ayn Rand



Post 15

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 8:50amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Brandon:
I am not necessarily holding up Twainian ideals, nor am I addressing his nonfiction. I am saying that as a weaver of words, I believe Twain to be a genius. BTW, where's the "determinism" in "Huckleberry Finn"?



Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 16

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 9:14amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Lance,

I really love your reply. Not only do you make your choices, you justify them. And, in my judgment, your justifications have merit. I'm not sure but that Ayn Rand herself would not have agreed. Indeed, the difficulty you name is one of the reasons some people (my sister, for instance) prefer We the Living to the other novels. It too is a 'straight' novel in that the integration of philosophy to explain the actions of the characters is at a minimum (an integration that was absolutely necessary given the themes in the other two)

My own favorite of Rand's novels is The Fountainhead because it deals with the soul of an artist in a way that no other novelist has matched to my knowledge. And that without consideration of the philosophical content, which changed my life.

Tom




Post 17

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 9:19amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jamie,

While I agree that Mark Twain is a good read -- both the fiction and the non -- what I'd want to know is about the 'insight' you feel that he bled. Not word-smithing, insight.

Tom




Post 18

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, in his new book, Human Accomplishment, goes deeply into his methodology of ranking the great masters in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, Medicine, Technology, Combined Sciences, Chinese, Indian and Western Philosophy, Chinese Painting, Japanese and Westerrn Art, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Western Literature. 

His rankings are for Western Literature: Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante, Virgil, Homer, Rousseau, Voltaire, Moliere, Byron, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Petrarch, Hugo, Schiller, Boccaccio, Horace, Euripides, Racine, Scott, Ibsen.

It's a wonderful book and one that would appeal to Objectivists.

Sam




Post 19

Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 11:18amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Tom:
I'm specifically thinking of "Huckleberry Finn." I'll admit it's a bit Rousseau-ian, but its central theme is justice (judging a person by his character, re: Nigger Jim) and throwing off the shackles of social conformity. It's also just a cool little adventure tale.



Post to this threadPage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.