Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Sea at Night is Aswarm with Words

'Twas a timely time change last night. I thought I'd left things rather late, having dinner at 1am after too many games of chess, but luckily for me, 1am came again. I skimmed the fifth episode of Twin Peaks' second season, skipping all the scenes where they use the Road House as a courtroom as I usually do. It's just too stupid for me. I mean, we see a big town hall meeting in the pilot episode in a room that would have been a more logical location. I know that scene was probably shot in Washington and the location probably wasn't available by season two, but I have a hard time believing that there was no choice but to reuse the Road House set. You'll notice that in all the episodes directed by David Lynch, the Road House is just the Road House.

Then I spent the rest of the evening reading. "The Slaughter of Pigeons", a chapter from James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Pioneers which was assigned for my American Literature class for next week, though the teacher took students to task for not having read it two weeks ago. I don't mind dizzy people, I'm pretty dizzy myself. But I hate it when dizzy people think they're sharp as a razor.

I also read some poetry for class by Philip Freneau and then finished the evening reading from Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as part of preparation for my term paper. I certainly have quite a lot of reading to do. It's a safe bet I'll be reading some S.T. Joshi. If anyone would like to recommend to me some books on Lovecraft, since I have to cite sources for some reason despite the fact that this is supposed to be a paper composed of my opinion, please don't hesitate to do so.

On top of all this, I'm also reading Moby-Dick just because. After reading Jules Verne and reading it alongside Lovecraft and pre-1820 literature, a book with such a diversity of vivid characterisation is an incredibly nice breath of fresh air. It's the same satisfaction I get from Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I'm only twenty percent into the book, but I have a handle on the charmingly open minded Ishmael, the easy going and unapologetically strange Queequeg, the amusing relationship between the two captains who are part owners of the Pequod--and I haven't even gotten to Captain Ahab yet.

I was reading somewhere, in a source I probably ought to try to find again since I'll probably want to cite it, that someone was arguing the lack of diverse characterisation in Lovecraft's work is essential for the dread of a pitiless cosmos he evokes. I'm not sure that's true. Though I have yet to see any Lovecraftian work that has the kinds of shades of personality exhibited in Melville's book. Partly I think this is simply due to focus--maybe it doesn't really seem germane to the tale of a frightening encounter with enormous supernatural terror to weave a bedrock of eccentricities into a character. On the other hand, maybe I ought to wait until I get to bits in Moby-Dick that feature the whale.

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