Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

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  • Author:  Aristotle  (384 -322 BC)
  • Title: Nicomachean Ethics
  • Published: 4th C BC (Penguin paperback published 2004)
  • Table of contents: 329 pg
  • Trivia: Read for Ancient Greek and Roman Challenge
  • Trivia: philosophy is not an easy read…..
  • I needed to consult wikipedia page Nicomachean Ethics 
  • ….to get a ‘quickscan’ about the book.
  • The summary is very detailed.


  1. Aristotle was Plato’s best student.
  2. He went on to become the very well-paid tutor of Alexander the Great.
  3. A key theme in Aristotle’s thought is that happiness is the goal of life.
  4. Aristotle was a good deal less other-worldly than Plato.
  5. He voluntarily went into exile from Athens when conditions became a bit politically dangerous for him.
  6. Aristotle believed that the greatest human endeavor is the use of reason.


  1. There is so much to read and process in this book
  2. ….I was at first overwhelmed.
  3. I had to decide what would be the scope of my review.
  4. I did two things:
  5. Try to find differences or similarities  between Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s N. Ethics.
  6. Try to apply some of Aristotle’s wisdom to my own life.
  7. You can see some of my notes at the end of this review
  8. …about my #NoSugar  challenge and how Aristotle helped me.


Differences or similarities  between Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s N. Ethics.

Plato (Republic) vs Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics)

  1. Plato in Republic developed a three part teaching of the soul:
  2. Reason – Emotions (spirit) – Appetites (desires)
  3. Aristotle  argues.…that virtues are needed  to
  4. …correctly regulate the  emotions and desires.
  5. The only virtue that DOES NOT regulate an emotion or desire is justice.

Plato vs Aristotle  (soul)

  1. Plato AND Aristotle agree:    soul =    reason – emotions – appetites (desires)
  2. Aristotle adds virtues to regulate our emotions – appetites  (desires)
  3. Aristotle also argues …..that the soul has two parts:
  5. Rational soul: practical reason to determine how to act in a situation
  6. Non-rational soul = virtues of character who regulate emotions and desires.

Plato vs Aristotle   (justice)

  • Plato AND Aristotle agree: : Justice is a virtue.
  • When a soul is ‘in order’… than it experiences justice.
  • Soul ‘in order’:  reason +  emotions work together to keep desires (appetites) in check.
  • Aristotle also argues….A person is just if he exercises ALL the virtues of character
  • ….towards himself, others and those he doesn’t know.

Plato vs Aristotle   (virtue)

  1. Plato AND Aristotle agree:
  2. A happy life is a virtuous life. Virtuous person exercises wisdom.
  3. Aristotle also argues….. that there are two types virtues: moral and intellectual.
  4. Intellectual virtues: are developed by education and training.
  5. Moral virtues are developed  by habit……they require practice.
  6. “We are what we repeatedly do!”
  7. Virtues don’t come ‘built in’.  They must be practiced again and again.
  8. Aristotle’s virtues: courage – temperance – honesty – compassion –
  9. …forgiving, responsible, generosity, friendliness, modesty, patience.

Patience is a virtue:

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE cat patience-cat-waiting


Plato vs Aristotle (happiness, eudaimonia) the happiest life….

  • Plato: the soul is just + reason is dominant in the soul.
  • Aristotle: one fulfills his function (ergon) that is characteristic of his nature.
  • Man: To use reason in the pursuit of the  good life (virtue) is his function.

Contradiction:  Aristotle highlights TWO DIFFERENT types of eudaimonia ( happiness)

  1. Book I:  implies a happy life is one of active virtue + exercising practical reason
  2. Book X: since the intellect is the best thing in us
  3. ….the contemplative life might be happier still.


Notes about my quest to live #NoSugar and how Aristotle helped me.


  1. I am reading Nicomachean Ethics.
  2. In order to write an interesting review
  3. …I am going to put Aristotle’s thoughts to the test.
  4. Aristotle is going to be my coach during the #NoSugar sequel.
  5. Aristotle thinks the supreme good in life is eudaimonia (acting and living well)
  6. A person who achieves eudaimonia is one whose life is blessed by an angel.
  7. A person has an eudamonian life if he possesses and exercises the virtues.
  8. Virtues of character – determination
  9. Virtues of thought – using practical wisdom.


  1. I was #NoSugar and #NoBread…but things have changed.
  2. Birthday, Christmas, Easter…holidays seduced me into temptation!
  3. I have become addicted to sugar…..again!
  4. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
  5. Now it is time to  stare at Aristotle every day and record my progress.
  6. Aristotle indicates we should have a eudaimonian (happy) life plan (ch 6)
  7. Decide the best thing to do.
  8. Be determined to do it.
  9. Make the change a lifestyle.
  10. I have another friend St. Augustine who will be guiding me.
  11. He recommends  ruthless self-examination. (reading his book soon…)
  12. This challenge will not be easy….I know what to expect….but it has to be done!
  13. #NoSugar  part 1 = I’m human….I failed.
  14. St. Augustine said: “Lord, make me pure but not yet.
  15. I say:  Lord, do it now!
  16. Wish me luck!

AUGUSTINE st-augustine-botticelli28.04.2016

  1. I had the entire night to think about this challenge.
  2. I know I can break the sugar addiction but need to change my tactics.
  3. Goal:  #RunWalkRun — 9 minutes of running, followed by 1 minute of walking
  4. ..and then.. repeat, repeat, repeat. (training session = 40 min)
  5. You can run 5k – 10k or even a half marathon using this method!
  6. The secret according to Jack Galloway running coach is ‘add walks.’
  7. Don’t knock yourself out, don’t sprint out of the racing gate
  8. ….pace yourself.
  9. Aristotle calls this the ‘intermediate’.  (ch 2)
  10. Not too much…not too little but always  “just right” relative to the person in question.
  11. The best state is ‘intermediate’.
  12. It is an important component of the eudaimonian (happy)  life.
  13. It helps you run farther and for longer periods of time
  14. …rather than if  you tried to plow through the distance just running.
  15. It allows  you  to gain control …
  16.  and you can feel good on every single running segment.
  17. I intend to apply Galloway’s method for #NoSugar and #RWR.
  1. Aristotle said:  We grow into the good life…
  2. moral virtues are acquired
  3. through repetition:

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  1. Surprised how easy my first day of ‘detox’ went.
  2. I woke up refreshed and smiling!
  3. This was easier than my attempt in Oct 2015.
  4. Why?
  5. I think is is because I know how awful it  feels to sink into the ‘sugar addiction’….again.
  6. I’m approaching this from a new angle using Aristotle’s  guidance and perspective.
  7. In chapters 2-7 Aristotle  teaches me how to be virtuous.
  8. Virtue is a state of character…not a passion, not a skill but a state.
  9. Types of virtues: intellectual and moral. Aristotle highlights the moral virtues.
  10. #NoSugar  must NOT be a mindless habit (Oct 2015)
  11. ….but a well thought out decision (prohairesis)
  12. This virtue is called ‘temperance’ (self-control) (ch 2)
  13. …which is difficult to achieve for ‘ ALL or NOTHING  Nancy.
  14. Aristotle told me on the first day:
  15. ….a person living a  eudaimonian life (happy) is NEVER miserable.
  16. Now, that was music to my ears!
  17. If Aristotle can teach me NOT to be depressed….I’m willing to listen!
  1. Aristotle explains in ch 2 we  must act for the sake of eudaimonia  (happiness)
  2. …and not for the sake of feeling noble, admirable or proud (kalon).
  3. Aristotle argues that a person lives  a eudaimonian life
  4. …if he possesses AND exercises the virtues of character.
  5. If you read a book as ‘philosophical’ as this one
  6. …it is easier to understand if you apply it to you life at the moment.
  7. #NoSugar + Aristotle + virtue of temperance (self-control)  =  eudaimonian life!


TEMPEANCE SELF-CONTROL CAT DOGS Aristotle 06a5ffa7a693b94d5a2332a325f72f01


Comment from Cleo: Classical Carousel
Great post, Nancy! I’m smiling as I type. I would say that Aristotle and Augustine are both good choices for mentors. Best of luck. I’m not certain how one can live in Europe and avoid sugar, but if I figure it out, I’ll let you know!
Nancy: Now, I have reached a state of eudaimonia already! Having made you smile is a ‘supreme good’ that I enjoy for it’s own sake. The feeling of eudaimonia (happiness) is complete because a smile is a smile and cannot be improved! (ch 1). Thanks so much for comment…it will help me get started on this difficult day. I’m sure to feel a major headache while I detox from sugar!

Comment from Brona: Brona’s Books Luck xo
Nancy: Thanks…..and Aristotle and St. Augustine send their love to ‘ Down Under’ !

Comment from Carol:  Journey-and-Destination:  Nancy, this is serious dedication to getting the most out of your reading! All the best with this.


  1. Core thoughts of Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics:
  2. Virtue ethics does not focus on actions being right or wrong,
  3. …but on how to be a good person.
  4. I enjoyed comparing Plato (teacher) and Aristotle (student).
  5. I wanted to learn all I could from Aristotle and
  6. …using his ideas for my #NoSugar challenge
  7. …helped me stay focused while reading  the book.
  8. You have to drag the wisdom into the 21th C and discover that
  9. ….human beings remain constant
  10. ….only the times around us change.

Last thoughts:

  1. Question that drives this book:
  2. what is the ‘supreme’ good or best good for human beings?
  3. Happiness. (eudaimonia)
  4. Now the hard question…what makes you happy?
  5. Every night I say to myself….“I’m still on planet eudaimonia”.

Score: 4




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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


Before Novels

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  • Author:  J. Paul Hunter (1934)
  • Title: Before Novels
  • Table of contents: 448 pages
  • Published: 1992


  1. J. Paul Hunter explains a tangled set of roots for the early novel.
  2. What did people read before there were novels?
  3. To understand the origins of the novel
  4. …we must know several pasts and traditions.
  5. Hunter argues that early novelists were motivated
  6. …by the needs and desires of society.
  7. James Paul Hunter:
  8. I cannot find much information about this author.
  9. He  looks like the Western folk hero ‘Wild Bill Hitchcock”
  10. but he is a ‘straight shooter’...
  11. accessible and avoids confusing technical jargon!

What did people read ‘Before Novels’?

  • Pamphets (political/religious)
  • collection of anecdotes
  • conduct books

What did the ‘new readers’ want?

  • Readers were fascinated with accounts of storms, shipwrecks, everyday and domestic events.
  • Readers were interested in the personal feelings of those involved.
  • Readers wanted narratives about
  • …private life, personal feelings without the moral/religious application.

What was the novel’s strength?

  1. Catered to the desires of the ‘new readers’.
  2. Provided ways to sort out the world, how experienced people act,
  3. …to crack the code of adult and social expectation.
  4. Youth recognize choices they must make…in novels.
  5. Reading a novel is a solitary activity in an emotional sense in overcrowded cities.
  6. Way of coping with the loneliness in urbanized 18th C England.
  7. Assimilated features of other species into one form the novel.
  8. Blended the modern moment centered culture + novelty into a prose narrative.
  9. Journalism, conversation, talk, fact, fiction become in print a
  10. portable ‘coffee house’ filled with extended conversation.
  11. Oral : Written
    Life : Literature
  12. Insights to think about when you read your next novel!


  1. The novel was many things to the ‘new readers’ in 18th C:
  • magical, mysterious yet credible
  • keyhole view of life – tells secrets, opens hidden rooms, talks about taboos
  • confessional – novel lowered the barrier between public and private
  • main character is repeatedly ‘tested’ by others in the narrative
  • rejection of traditional plots and language
  • freedom of movement depending on habits of the reader
  1. This book is intended for common readers
  2. …who are interested in learning more the novel.
  3. Hunter  does NOT flaunt his specialized knowledge as
  4. …’professional know-nothingism” ( pg xi, preface)
  5. There were NO technical jargons or confusing arguments.
  6. Strong point: clarity; well structured chapters: begin, middle, summation.
  7. In other words ‘Before Novels’ is  clear and easy to understand.
  8. I have only mentioned just a few items, but this book has so much more to tell!
  9. I enjoyed it immensely!

Score: 5

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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


Book of Ghost Stories: editor Roald Dahl

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  • Editor: Roald Dahl
  • Title: Roald Dahl’s (selections) Book of Ghost Stories
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: 1983


  1. I’ve been taking my time this year and instead of ‘diving’ into a book…
  2. I’m reading the preface and introduction.
  3. Roald Dahl taught me my first lesson about ‘ghost stories.’ (pg 11)
  4. “The best ghost stories don’t have ghosts in them.
  5. Instead you only see the results of his actions.
  6. Dahl read over 750 ghost stories in 1958.
  7. He gathered 3 notebooks filled with information.
  8. Dahl has added that he has kept reading ghost stories between 1958-1983.
  9. “…nothing I have seen that has been published since then has come anywhere
  10. …near the standard of the select group in this book.” (pg 12)
  11. Stories: written by 13 men and 11 women
  12. Stories:  authors 10 British, 2 American, 1 Irish and 1 Norwegian


  1. W.S.  – L.P. Hartley  (British, author of the novel ‘The Go-Between’
  2. Scenes: 1 scene at home over the course of a two weeks
  3. 2 of the scenes were each 1 small paragraph placing MC at police station
  4. Characters: major: novelist and postcard sender – minor: housemaid, police officer
  5. Opening sentence: Like other novelists Walter Streeter was
  6. …used to getting communications from strangers.
  7. Strong point: slow tension building – main character (MC) receives 5 anonymous postcards
  8. Strong point: emotional connection with character – we live out MC’s stress and panic
  9. Strong point: repetition words “handshake” and ‘to come to grips’ (sort out problem)
  10. …keeps reader guessing ‘why handshake?’ ‘what’s the problem
  11. Irony: place where novelist is confident that  he is safe….proves otherwise
  12. Score: I want to give it a 10…but know there will be more stories to grade.
  13. I’ll play it safe: 8/10
  1. HarryRosemary Timperley ( British, remembered for her  ghost stories)
  2. Scenes: 10 (every change of scene diminishes the tension that has been built up!)
  3. Characters: major: mother, Christine, Harry
  4. …minor: Jim (father), Dr. Webster, Miss Cleaver
  5. Opening sentences: “Such ordinary things make me afraid. Sunshine.
  6. …Sharp shadows on grass. White Roses. Children with red-hair and the name Harry.”
  7. Weak point: Timperley gives an overload of information,
  8. …the reader is warned what to look for.
  9. Number of times mentioned:
  10. …Harry 61 xshadows 8 xwhite roses/roses 12 xred-hair 12 x
  11. Weak point: this story contains hallmarks of a ‘scary story’ but lacks subtly.
  12. pg 29 “…hot day, beautiful day…”  – pg 32  “…hate and dread the long summer days…”
  13. Obvious references to hot weather but roomsin the house…
  14. feel strangely cold or chilly. Ghost is near!
  15. Weak point: tension building was average. 
  16. …In W.S. (first story) the tension was palpable!
  17. Literary device: Timperley bookends the story…1st and last sentences are identical.
  18. Irony: place where mother is confident that child is safe…proves otherwise
  19. Ending: is strong, not sentimental.
  20. Score: 5/10  This was not a ‘page turner’.
  1. The Corner ShopLady Cynthia Asquith (British writer and socialite)
  2. Scenes: 2 – The Corner Shop and Wood’s home
  3. Characters: Peter Wood (MC); old-man; shop girls
  4. Strong point: language is varied, text filled with descriptive adverbs and adjectives
  5. Strong point: allusions bible (Job 42:6); Hamlet Act 4 scene 7; ‘Anthony Rowley’
  6. Strong point: subtle clues  that ‘old-man’ is ghost! Try to find them !
  7. Strong point: attention to creating contrasting atmosphere (light/dark/gloomy/cold/warm)
  8. ..describing shop during MC’s first visit and  then a week later and the weather!
  9. Strong point: ghost’s movements (feeble footsteps shuffling) and voice, frame, face, eyes
  10. Literary device: flashback after opening a ‘sealed envelop’ by executors of P. Wood’s will.
  11. Literary device: many  similes to describe old man ‘eyes like lifeless planets’ –
  12. ‘his form  was scarcely more solid than a shadow’
  13. I could go on and on!
  14. Dahl consulted with Lady Asquith for advice about ghost stories.
  15. He considered her to be THE expert!
  16. Score:  10/10 !!
  1. In the TubeE.F. Benson (British, story appeared in book Visible and Invisible, 1923)
  2. Scene: home of Carling; in London Tube Piccadilly line; neighbor’s home
  3. Characters: Anthony Carling (MC); dinner guest; phantom; Sir Henry Payle
  4. Opening: 5 pages of ‘philosophical’ conversation b/t MC and dinner guest. Does not have ‘grab appeal’
  5. Theory:  our senses give us misleading  information, what is real/unreal.
  6. Ghost of dead man killed in a crime is obliged to  re-enact crime for his deliverence, redemption
  7. Timeline: 1 month
  8. Clues: I’m starting to notice clues about a ghost in the room:
  9. …clock stopped, flames on the hearth dwindle and an ice-cold draught ruffles the curtains….
  10. Weak point: story was very predictable…not ‘spooky’ sense of tension.
  11. Weak point: L. Hartley and Lady Asquith (nr 1 and 3) really made me feel their panic, stress, bewilderment through physical descriptions:  trembling hands, shivering, grey voice. Benson just says: ‘I felt sick or I felt creepy’. I wanted him to  SHOW me how sick and creepy he felt!
  12. Weak point: atmosphere – shadows were too static. Lady Asquith really did her homework! Her shadows were
  13. looming, towering, menacing, mysterious, wierd. Just by adding some adjectives she made the shadows come alive in my imagination.
  14. Ending: sounded very familiar after having seen a movie written by M. Night Shyamalan!
  15. Score2/10   Sorry, Mr. Benson, perhaps I’ll like another one of your stories….but not this one.
  16. How could Dahl have picked this one? What did he he see that I missed?
  1. Christmas MeetingRosemary Timperley ( British)
  2. That was the shortest ‘ghost story’ I ever read!
  3. Score: 1/10  quirky but not clever.
  1. Elias and the DraughJonas Lie (important writer 19th century Norwegian literature)
  2. Dahl considered this story to be the ‘most compelling’ !
  3. The story was different… (Norway, fishing boats, stormy and unpredictable sea) but not scary.
  4. Score: 6/10
  1. PlaymatesA.M. Burrage (British, ranked as one of the finest English ghost story writers)
  2. This was good.  A little girl of a casual friend  is left an orphan after his death.
  3. Everton (stern bachelor) decides to care for the  child.
  4. Monica is lonely and invents ‘imaginary friends’.
  5. Everton has difficulty coping with this situation.
  6. Strong point: Monica is described as piece of luggage left behind, a tree, caged animal, unattended plant.
  7. Score: 7/10 Despite the lack of ‘scariness’ this was an intriguing story.

The rest of the stories…..

  • Ringing the ChangesRobert Aickman (British, psychologically rich supernatural fiction in postwar UK); recently married couple discover that bells disturbing their honeymoon are awakening the dead)
  • Neil Gaiman considered Aickman THE best!
  • The TelephoneMary Treadgold (British) – about a love triangle that goes fatally wrong – with eternal consequences
  • The Ghost of a HandJ.S. Le Fanu (Irish, Drawn to the occult, the uncanny, and the ominous, he undertook to write a series of horror stories. He he achieved depths and dimensions of terror that still remain otherwise unexplored. Le Fanu presents his stories as actual facts, narratives found in old diaries, medical writings, or first hand accounts from family friends or loyal servants. Careful attention is paid to establishing the mood and atmosphere. Descriptions are more detailed. The sense of supernatural horror builds slowly, much like the tales of Poe. The tales are spooky but also reveal human psychology in the way great literature should.
  • The SweeperA.M. Burrage (British, ranked as one of the finest English ghost story writers)
  • AfterwardEdith Wharton  (American, psychological study of married relationship threatened from beyond the grave)
  • On the Brighton RoadR. Middleton (British, A homeless man is trudging between London and Brighton when he meets a fragile-looking young boy, also homeless. The conversation between the two causes the tramp to question his own existence…in a highly creepy way. The story closes with the fulfillment of the boy’s prophecy.
  • The Upper BirthF. Marion Crawford (American, The story involves the sea. Crawford, himself a master seaman, writes with considerable authority in  “The Upper Berth. A suicide haunts stateroom 105 of the Kamtschatka, disturbing the sleep of passangers  by opening the porthole, groaning.`


  1. Lady Cynthia Asquith wins the prize with a perfect score:  10/10 !
  2. L. P. Hartely comes in at a close the runner up score:  8/10.
  3. R. Timperley was the most disappointing writer.
  4. E.F. Benson is not scary….just talks about ‘invisible’ sensations (ghost?)
  5. J. Lie the Norwegian…I expected a real ‘thriller’ but just another ‘sea monster.
  6. There were 3 REALLY great stories….the rest were  good/average.
  7. I was disappointed with Dahl’s selections….he read 749 stories before making his choices.
  8. I did learn more about what to look for in a ghost story:
  9. TIPS:
  1. Make the readers  feel what the characters are feeling.
  2. Tell: (wrong) – …ghost appeared and I was frightened
  3. Show: (right)  …ghost appeared and my stomach tightened up in knots\
  4. ….my face break out in a sweat and my heart trying to leap out from my chest
  1. Make your story even more chilling.
  2. Tell: (wrong) – ghost was ten feet tall and exactly as wide as the door
  3. Show: (right) – ghost was enormous, making the room suddenly feel claustrophobic and tight
  1. Start slowly, build up speed and then end even faster.
  2. Ending: shock effect

Score: 3

Lady Asquith:

ASQUITH 250px-CynthiaAsquith

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Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


Greek Lyrics

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  1. Not being the best critic of poetry, but I did enjoy the works anthologized by Lattimore.
  2. It includes fragments  written  by classic
  3. …Greek lyric poets Pindar and Sappho, Anacreon, Solon
  4. …as well as twenty-four others.
  5. Perfect book (82 pages) to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Theognis: (good advice)

  • The name of Kyrnos, a youth to whom these verses are addressed  is used as a
  • …’seal’  by Theognis  so that it would be obvious if they were stolen.
  • Kyrnos, be flexible in character always adapting
  • …your own mood to that of the friend you chance be with.
  • …change you complexion, better you should be subtle than stubbornly always the same.

Xenophanes  (compares  athlete vs philosopher)

  • This one was one of my favorites.
  • I am nursing some sore muscles after a 5 km run and
  • ...felt nothing like an athlete today.
  • This quote eased my pain:
  • “If he won with the chariot all this would be granted to him
  • …and yet he would NOT deserve it, as I do.
  • Better than brute strength of men, or horses either,
  • the wisdom that is mine.

Score: 4


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Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Rise of the Novel

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  • Author: Ian Watt (1917 – 1999)
  • Title: The Rise of the Novel
  • Table of contents: 339 pages
  • Published: 1957


  1. Ian Watt investigates the reasons why
  2. Daniel Defoe
  3. Samuel Richardson
  4. Henry Fielding wrote as they did.
  5. Their books Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Pamela, Clarissa and Tom Jones 
  6. resulted in the modern novel of the present day.

Ian Watt:

I stumbled upon this book, but it seems Ian Watt  is an icon in the literary theory world.
His texts are very well organized and does not ‘underrate the general reader (me) and is without technical jargon. This was the biggest problem I had with The Literary Theory.
If you want to delve into all the  quoted examples you can.  But is you want to read the essence of his thoughts, the paragraphs are introduced with a ‘flashing summation sentence’ to help the reader.

Robinson Crusoe:

  1. The sense of place and time are dominant.
  2. Power of putting man wholly into his physical setting.
  3. Writing entirely to a descriptive use of language (‘natural voice’).
  4. Formal realism:  truth discovered by the individual through his senses.
  5. Conclusion: the consequences of solitude.
  6. Beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre.

Moll Flanders:

  1. Dominant: series of episodes.
  2. 100 scenes: every change of scene diminishes the tension.
  3. 200 characters: no one knows the heroine for more than a fraction of her career.
  4. Large part of the book is uninspired summary, Defoe plasters over the cracks.
  5. Prose is probably closer to “vulgar dialect’.
  6. No editorial commentary to reveal Moll’s moral development.
  7. Conclusion: Defoe concentrates again on an individual with a closer view of life.
  8. Defoe created his own personal genre: his books are an anthology of ‘episodes’.
  9. He lacks the novelist’s eye for character and  personal relationships.
  10. That is why he is not considered the founder of the English novel.
  11. It was Richardson who would take these further steps.


  1. Character is dominant.
  2. Very popular because: large female reading public (unmarried servant girls!).
  3. Richardson’s closeness to the  feminine point of view.
  4. Trivial details made the book liked by girls giving it an ‘every-day’ reality.
  5. Concept of marriage raised the status of the bride….hypergamy = marrying up.
  6. Struggle between social classes (rakish squire vs humble virtuous maid).
  7. Conclusion: This book was revolutionary for its times which made it popular.
  8. Chastity: (supreme virtue) was not only for higher classes,
  9. …Richardson gave this virtue  to a servant girl!
  10. Irony: Mr. B  finds Pamela’s resistance infinitely MORE provocative
  11. …than compliance would have been.


  1. Character is dominant.
  2. Epistolary: 2 sets of parallel letters between
  3. …two young ladies of virtue – two men of free lives. (revolving narrative).
  4. Richardson gives the reader units  of letters from one side or the other.
  5. revealing the significant relationship between actions and words.
  6. Characters:   are given a complete description – physical, physiological, past life.
  7. Conclusion: Clarissa is what Moll Flanders is not:
  8. …a work of serious and coherent literary art!
  9. Theme: expectation vs reality. Women face this struggle in modern society.
  10. Imagery: metaphor of the hunt = is Lovelaces’s conception of sex.
  11. Nominal ‘give away’s: Mr Lovelace = ‘loveless‘;  Mrs SINclair (keeper brothel)
  12. New concept for reader  the fantasy in next room (steamy scenes).
  13. Richardson gave the reader a ‘keyhole view of life’ opening a new literary experience!

Tom Jones:

  1. Plot is dominant.
  2. Fielding does not intend to individualize his character.
  3. Tom Jones is a compound of two of the commonest names in the language.
  4. Tom Jones represents manhood in general.
  5. Fielding’s characters do not have a convincing inner life.
  6. Fielding portrays Tom Jones as a successful adaptation of the individual to society.
  7. Richardson portrays Clarissa as a crucifixion of the individual by society.
  8. Conclusion: Tom Jones had a virtuous heart as well as lustiness and natural goodness.
  9. Fielding dealt with so many characters he did not have time to give each individual vice or virtue.
  10. Tom Jones is only part novel — there is a picaresque tale and comic drama.
  11. Many readers objected to the introductory pages containing literary and moral essays!


  1. This book was very readable with solid scholarship and intriguing comparisons.
  2. Watt discusses each plot device in various books:
  3. Birth – Fielding’s Tom Jones
  4. Virtue – Richardson’s  Pamela
  5. Money – Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe
  6. The last chapter revealed also why Jane Austen’s books are the epitome of novels.
  7. This is a surprise because I did not expect to meet her in this book!
  8. Austen was able to combine the editorial comment of Defoe
  9. (economic individualism)
  10. psychological study of character of Richardson
  11. (marriage contract),
  12. portrait of social system of Fielding
  13. …Austen’s application was of a more serious nature).
Chuck Painter/News Service

Chuck Painter/News Service

Last thoughts:

  • I am beginning to realize how important is it to READ ABOUT
  • ….a  great classic book before  actually reading it.
  • I would have missed many important elements of the writer’s style and
  • …the social background in which it was written.
  • Ian Watt has geared his book to a general reading audience.
  • With all due respect  The Literary Channel was a challenge and just plain hard work.
  • The Rise of the Novel was fun AND instructive!

Score: 5

Twitter thought:

  • Daniel Defoe at the door with huge cake!
  • Wants me to read book #MollFlanders.
  • Plot is episodic and Moll is clueless.
  • Sorry, but thanks for the cake! #Awkward



Posted by on April 21, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Literary Channel: editors Cohen and Dever

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  • Editors: Margaret Cohen and  Carolyn Dever
  • Title: The Literary Channel: inter-national invention of the novel
  • Published: 2002 (Princeton University Press)
  • Table of contents: 10 chapters,  324 pages
  • Trivia: … my thoughts about the first 8 chapters of the book:


Chapter 1: Novel without borders

  1. The modern novel was the result of massive shifts of
  2. …influence across the English Channel between 1660 – 1750.
  3. Our view of the  novel’s history  would be richer if we looked
  4. …at the way novels  in general were shaped by writers in exile.
  5. The country of the writer’s birth is no longer seen as the sole determinant of national affiliation.
  6. Mme La Roche-Guilhen (1644 – 1707 died London)
  7. Mme C. D’Aulnoy (1650 – 1705) emigrated to London to escape an unhappy marriage
  8. How were English novels influenced by the French presence in London?
  9. How did French writers writing outside of France
  10. contaminate the purity of  the ‘French novel’?
  11. Joan Dejean explains her point very clearly!

Chapter 2: Translations

  1. Is it soccer (PSG vs Manchester City) or novels….FR and ENG remain rivals!
  2. ENG 1750 translation of novel:
  3. ‘be truly English and live up to the stereotype of anti-Frenchness’!
  4. FR 1750 translation of novel:
  5. ‘English’s lack of balance, order and proportion would not conform to our ‘taste’.
  6. This was a great essay by Mary McMurran.

Chapter 3: Sentimental Bonds and Revolutionary Characters

  1. Lynn Festa  argues that throughout the 18th C:
  2. National borders were porous and translations swept easily across  them.
  3. The novel  aided cultural trade. (frequently translated –  widely distributed)
  4. The novel helped to produce the “imagined communities”.
  5. Anglo-mania (community) in France
  6. Francophilia (community) in Britain
  7. existed despite  hostilities between these countries.
  8. The constant viewing of one another across the French-English Channel
  9. was instrumental in rousing home sentiment.
  10. French citizens set themselves off from the ‘Other’ (English) and vice versa.

Chapter 4: Sentimental Communities:

  1. I was not looking forward to this chapter.
  2. Margaret Cohen was bit ‘fuzzy’ in the introduction
  3. ….but managed to give me the best chapter so far!
  4. Characteristics and types of conflict (…there are 3) in sentimental novels are discussed.
  5. What are the features  of a sentimental novel?
  6. Narration – epistolary letter writing, journal / diary entries (innermost thoughts)
  7. Tension: Plight/suffering that evokes our sympathy for the main character (MC).
  8. Conflict: duty to family  vs duty to love
  9. Engagement: readers can speculate on the validity of the choices made by the MC.
  10. Spectatorship: people witness a living scene (deathbed), hear a oral narrative or read a written text.
  11. The response is always the same flood of living tears.

Chapter 5: Imaginary communities of Sympathy

  1. Characters attempt to ‘create their utopia’ in the land where they live or have been sent to by marriage!
  2. It can be a place in which they can escape the patriarchal family and live out their love.
  3. April Alliston uses these examples to explain her argument:
  4. the margins of Scotland (Corinne, Mme de Staël)
  5. central counties of England (Wuthering Heights, Brontë)
  6. French colonial islands (Indiana, Sand)
  7. Ile Maurice (Paul et Virginie, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre).
  8. Every page of this essay was ‘chock full of’ insights. Excellent!

Chapter 6: Historical Fiction (pretender hero/heroines) – Richard Maxwell

  1. 75 %: Maxwell gives us an elaborate summation of the stories
  2. …‘Mr Cleveland’ (Prévost)  and The Recess (Lee).
  3. 25%  analysis of a (pretender) historical novel…exploring its part in the rise of the novel.
  4. This chapter did not interest me as I am not a huge fan of historical novels.
  5. Prévost’s book is 8 vol. the  ending is postponed for years or even decades.
  6. Reminds me of a  a very long soap opera.
  7. I read it, know who Abbé Prévost and Sophia Lee are. Soit.
  8. I don’t plan on reading either one of them.

Chapter 7: Epistolary

  1. Francoise Lionnet compares  Mansfield Park ( Austen, 1814)
  2. …with La Montagne des Signaux (Humbert, 1994).
  3. Both books have ties to  British West Indies colonial  history.
  4. What is the importance of epistolary for Austen and Humbert?
  5. The character is unable  to speak in face of social and class pressures.
  6. In a virtual exchange of letters the limits of speech  are played out.
  7. The reader is virtual and the writer can find her voice to express herself.

Chapter 8:  Mary Shelley vs Mme de Staël

  1. This is the longest chapter in the book.
  2. I found it extremely difficult to understand.
  3. The comparison of these wonder female writers has potential
  4. but I was unable to appreciate the different perspectives
  5. …because I had not read the books discussed.
  6. If you want to enjoy this chapter one should first
  7. …read Mme de Staël’s Corinne, Delphine
  8. …and Shelley’s  Frankenstein.



  1. I was discouraged after reading the introduction.
  2. It took me 3 days to digest all of what  M. Cohen and C. Dever had to say.
  3. What a relief it was once I started to read the book…
  4. every chapter seemed to get better and better (exception ch 6).
  5. I had to get used to the ‘register’: specific varieties of language used.
  6. The book is academic and the writing is objective, highly structured
  7. …and at times grammatically complex.
  8. If you are interested in learning more about the novel
  9. I suggest you try The Literary Channel.
  10. I could not read more than a chapter a day…(am still reading…)
  11. …there is just so much information to process!
  12. So be prepared to sit down and work!

Score: 5



Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


Padraic Colum: The King of Ireland’s Son

IRELAND 9781504638845

Characters: (…just too many to mention all!)

  1. King of Ireland’s son – (That’s his name… we never hear his first name.)
  2. Fedelma – the enchanter’s daughter, the fairest woman within the seas of Eirinn
  3. Enchanter of the Black Back-Lands – invites King of Ireland’s son to a magical card game.
  4. King of the Land of Mist – kidnaps Fedelma
  5. Flann –  otherwise known as Gilly of the Goatskin (discovers his new name and heritage!)
  6. Flame-of-Wine  –  proud and heartless princess who Gilly falls for like a ton of bricks!
  7. Spae-Woman  – tells fortunes and reads dreams (…but she doesn’t know how old she is!)
  8. Vicious farmer (Churl of the Townland of Mischance) hires Gilly (Flann) but pays no wages!
  9. King of Catsunderstands ‘human language’ as ALL CATS can…but don’t tell anybody.
  10. Cock-o’-the-Walk is annoying and The King of the Cats
  11. …wallops him on the red hanging comb with his paw and out the widow he goes!
  12. Mogue the robber – gives Gilly/Flann many magical treasures to help him on his quest.


  • Book of legends involving the adventurous son of the King of Ireland.
  • Set in a mystical Celtic island in pre-roman times
  • the prince meets Fedelma, the  enchanter’s daughter,
  • I had to struggle through until page 149 but it was worth it!
  • Keep reading …the book gets much better.
  • Strong point: Irish accent narrator audio book, Gerard Doyle.
  • Strong point: beautiful names of characters
  • Strong point: Colum weaves all the tales into a bewitching tapestry
  • This book will spark a child’s imagination and
  • …keep him/her away from the PlayStation of Nintendo for sure!
  • The audio book + Kindle book…if you use both you get the whole experience!
  • NO one can tell an  story like an IRISHMAN!
  • This books was 1000x better than the Fairy Tales of H.C Andersen.

Last thoughts:

  1. The ‘Girdle of Truth’ was the best magical treasure in the book.
  2. Mogue  the Robber gives Gilly the Comb of Magnificence to win the heart of his lady ‘Flame-of -Wine’.
  3. Just to be on the safe side Mogue says: “take the Girdle of Truth as well.
  4. Let the lady put it on an see if she REALLY loves you!
  5. We need a Girdle of Truth for many politicians…these days!
  6. Wonderful children’s book….#MustRead !

Score: 5

COLUM d03d6e415a195f8ecd12829a9a140e45

Padraic Colum (1881 – 1972)

  1. Irish poet, dramatist, folklorist and children’s writer, born in Longford County.
  2. 1904: He was one of the founders of The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and worked with Yeats and Lady Gregory.
  3. 1930: In France renewed his old friendship with Joyce, for whom he typed parts of Finnegans Wake.
  4. 1945: He  and his wife were  made US citizens.
  5. 1972: He died in Enfield, Connecticut and was buried in Ireland.
  6. He preserved Irish culture and customs.
  7. Padraic Colum deserves more of our attention!

My Notes:

11.04.2016   pg 1- 92 chapters  Fedelma and The King of the Cats returns to Ireland

  1. Started this book relaxing a very sore muscles after 2 long walks.
  2. I’m reading paperback + listening to audio book
  3. Strong point: Irish accent of narrator Gerard Doyle.
  4. He does an excellent job.
  5. …and  his audio ‘Dubliners’  (James Joyce) is not to be missed!
  6. Following the adventures of ‘the King of Ireland’s son’
  7. …is no different from other myths or legends.
  8. He runs into and enchanter, falls in love with one of his
  9. …daughters and must complete many tasks to win her hand.
  10. The story about The King of the Cats was even better.
  11. I always love when animals seem smarter than people.
  12. Weak point:  The King of the Cats ended abruptly!
  13. The King of the Cats and his rival the  Emperor Eagle fight tooth and claw.
  14. Curoi, King of the Munster Faries, decides
  15. …enough is enough and turns the cat and bird into stone!
  16. End of story! I hope this story turns up later in the book!

Page 92 – 184:  Sword of Light and Gilly of the Goatskin…Unique Tale

  1. More Main characters: Connal King of Ireland,
  2. stepmother Queen Caintigern
  3. Stepbrothers…Princes Dermott and Downal
  4. Enchanter of Black Back Lands’ 3 daughters:
  5. Aefa, Gilveen and Fedelma (young prince’s love interest)
  6. The prince who gains the Sword of Light will be the next ruler of Ireland!
  7. Prince finds Sword of Light….but next task is find Unique Tale…then find 5 Ancients of Ireland.
  8. Gilly of the Goatskin’s story is told. – Very funny tale! (pg 116 – 154)
  9. Weasel is Gilly’s best friend.
  10. Gilly: is a bit gullible he is going to follow his other friend as far he goes.
  11. Weasel asks ‘Who is your new  friend?”  “The river” said Gilly.
  12. “Now you’ll be going a long way!”, said the weasel!
  13. Weasel: what a smart cookie! …tricks frogs to get the crystal egg out of the river!
  14. The Unique Tale: 7 young princes bewitched into swans is
  15. …similar to H.C. Andersen’s The Wild Swans…but better!
  16. The Unique Tale is the  ‘spin in the web’  of the entire book!
  17. Challenge: Gilly must find out what happened BEFORE and AFTER the tale!

Now….you read the rest!




Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Uncategorized


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