Sunday, March 10, 2013

DWJ March: Reflections on Sunday (2)


What really stood out in this week's reading for me were Diana's pieces on Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings series and C.S. Lewis and the Narnia books. It's amazing that she was able to take classes from both of these geniuses while she was at Oxford. The Tolkien piece is more extensive and would be of most interest to those who have read the series. The C.S. Lewis one is more of a brief reflection on the man and his stories. In both, we get her opinions about the men and about their stories. It's always fascinating to see what an author loves, appreciates or even hates in another's stories.

If you could take a literature course from any living author, who would it be?

Obviously Neil Gaiman would be a good choice. He's wonderful at crafting a variety of tales, all of which are unique in tone and style. He's also a very clear communicator. It sounds as if the opposite was true of Tolkien but Diana stayed in his class anyway to catch those fleeting glimpses of his genius that he didn't mutter into the chalkboard. Carlos Ruiz Zaf├│n is another one that I would love to learn from. He's also a very entertaining speaker (as it seems C.S. Lewis was) and has a flair for setting and long, complex story lines. I'm sure the longer I think, the more authors I could add to this list. I'll stop now and get back to Reflections instead where I can learn from Diana herself.

Contemplating the perfect literary education,
K

9 comments:

  1. I am so jealous of DWJ for getting to have classes with both of those dudes. I seem to recall CS Lewis was an insanely good teacher? Very very popular lecturer? Is that in alignment with what she says in Reflections?

    I would have loved to have taken a class from Robert Fagles, who is only pretty recently dead. But, okay, that doesn't count. Oh, I know. Anne Carson. I would love to take a class in literary translation from Anne Carson.

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    1. Yes, she said that the classes were packed and on the verge of standing ovations by the end.

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  2. Zafon is such a great choice for this (as is Gaiman). It would be wonderful to have the opportunity to learn from them.

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  3. Wow! To be taught by two of the best! I had no idea!!

    Zafon is a good pick and so is Gaiman. I would love to be lectured by Stephen King as well. I love his books about writing and I think he would make it fun and weird!

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    1. Stephen King would be a great one! Maybe Joe Hill would come guest lecture in his class too. :)

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    2. Love that idea!! Now, how do we make it happen?!?

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    3. I'm sure he lectures sometimes -- probably somewhere really far away from where we are. :P

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  4. I just read DWJ's piece on Tolkien. SO GOOD! :) Hilarious how she was one of 3 or 4 who managed to stick to his muttered course. I've read LOTR many times, but not recently, and it was kind of thrilling to get DWJ's thoughts on the work. Fascinating - especially, as you pointed out, seeing what she DIDN'T like as well.

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    1. You know, it really makes me trust her more when she didn't just gush about it. It takes guts to say that you don't like Tom Bombadil! ;)

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