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Arnold Weinstein (1) (1940–)

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Om författaren

Arnold Weinstein is the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Verk av Arnold Weinstein

A Day's Read (2012) — Författare — 30 exemplar
The Fiction of Relationship (1988) 24 exemplar

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Improperly titled. A more accurate title would be "20th-Century American Experimental Fiction."
whbiii | Jul 30, 2022 |
As a selection from the Teaching Company's "Great Courses" series, in "A Day's Read" three university professors introduce short works of literature via recorded lectures. The work is available as downloadable digital files from Audible, and used copies are available in both CD and DVD form.

Each of the 36 lectures focuses on a relatively short work of literature, one that can be read within one or a few sittings. The lectures introduce the works in the context of their authors, themes, nature, history, significance, and impact. The idea is that people with busy lives who lack the time to tackle larger works of literature by eminent writers of fiction can sample shorter works by such authors. Thus, readers not ready to try James Joyce's "Ulysses" will benefit from reading and learning about "The Dead", and those intimidated by Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" can start with "Pantaloon in Black". The works presented span the 19th and 20th centuries, and include those from such authors as Austen, Melville, Kafka, Hemingway, Chopin, Wilde, Woolf, Proust, Munroe, and Stevenson, along with a few more modern authors.

I consider the series of lectures to be well- conceived and well- executed, and overall, a fine way to become acquainted with eminent authors and their works of literature. For several of the authors the particular short work selected offers an excellent introduction. For example, "Billy Budd" is a masterpiece of literature, and guided by the analysis of the lecturer (Gerald Voth), the new reader will likely be ready to try Melville's longer works (such as "Moby Dick"). Likewise, "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" is the most accessible and well-known of Stevenson's fiction, and a fine introduction to the new reader who has yet to experience "Treasure Island"

In some cases, the selection discussed will help the reader judge whether to continue with a given author's works. Notably, "A Country Doctor" is a good way to begin with work by Franz Kafka. Lecturer Arnold Weinstein helps guide the reader through strange imagery that would otherwise seem alien and off-putting. A reader who (despite Weinstein's analysis) finds the tale too confusing should probably stay away from "The Trial" or "The Castle".

In other cases, the selection analyzed is not typical of the author's other work. For example, Flaubert's "A Simple Heart" is (in my view) far less enjoyable than "Madame Bovary", and the quality of "Lady Susan" notwithstanding, I would recommend that it be read *after (not before) Jane Austen's novels. In still other cases, the short work selected is of lesser quality than an author's other work, a category in which I would include Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea".
Likewise, one can question the omission of certain authors, my list of which would include Dickens, Forster, Maugham, Steinbeck, and Vonnegut. But tastes differ

Below is a list of the 36 works discussed, along with their authors.

1. Kafka, Country Doctor
2. Prevost, Manon Lescaut
3. Flaubert, A Simple Heart
4. Faulkner, Pantaloon in Black
5. Borges, Short Story Selections
6. Hemingway, Old Man & the Sea
7. O'Connor, Short Story Selections
8. Lagervist, The Sybil
9. Vesaas, The Ice Palace
10. Calvino, Invisible Cities
11. Duras, The Lover
12. Coetzee, Disgrace
13. Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
14. Austen, Lady Susan
15. Balzac, Girl with the Golden Eyes
16. Meredith, Modern Love
17. Huysmans Against the Grain
18. Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
19. Wilde, Portrait of Dorian Gray
20. Jame, Beast in the Jungle
21. Joyce, The Dead
22. Proust, Lemoin Affair
23. Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street
24. McEwan, On Chesil Beach
25. Cather, Alexander's Bridge
26. Lu Xun, Short Story Selections
27. Chopin, The Awakening
28. Melville, Billy Budd
29. McCullers, Ballad of the Sad Café
30. Chekhov, Short Story Selections
31. Hersey, Hiroshima
32. Satrapi, Persepolis
33. Jataka, Short Story Selections
34. Munro, Short Story Selections
35. Basho, Narrow Road of the Interior
36. Siljie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
… (mer)
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danielx | 1 annan recension | Jul 2, 2022 |
Short fiction is not something I've ever given a lot of thought to. I read a good bit more of it last year than I have in a good long time, and have come to appreciate the short story and novella forms. It was with that in mind that I tackled A Day's Read, from The Great Courses, wanting to know more about both the forms and works that are good, even great representatives of them. In a series of 36 lectures, Professors Weinstein, Allen, and Voth explore 36+ works of literature which can all be read in the course of a day, some in only a few hours.

It's a wide-ranging collection of stories that spans several centuries and a number of different countries. Well-known authors such as Kafka, Hemingway, Balzac, and Joyce are represented along with authors who are lesser known but no less deft in creating small gems. In the course of the 18+ hours, I compiled a huge list of things that I very much want to read, and authors I want to get to know, such as Borges, Calvino, Lagerkvist, Satrapi, Hersey... most of the authors represented here, in fact.

The lecturers break the works down by theme, which is an excellent way of approaching such a broad selection, but in the end, it's the stories themselves, the allure of the whole, that tempts me. But you can't organize everyone's subjective responses to this information, and so theme -- Who are we? How do we love? -- is a good starting point.

I'm a great believer in understanding what we read. I don't just mean comprehending the words on the page, but understanding their context in the world, and in our own lives. Approaching literature in easy bites, learning what ideas and concerns drove the writers represented here, makes it easier to approach their longer works with a greater level of comprehension. This course can go a long way to easing the reader into a greater understanding of not only the works presented but literature in general.
… (mer)
Tracy_Rowan | 1 annan recension | Jan 17, 2018 |
I’m a city girl. I love Chicago and have lived here all my life. I can barely imagine living anywhere else, though Copenhagen is a close second. I found this survey of how art describes the city to be fascinating, even though it’s mainly focused on European cities, and then on the city in previous centuries.

It’s a dark course, at least in part because the city is a dark concept in many ways. Urban crime, urban grime, the manner in which isolation increases in a city environment (I don’t find that true, but then I’m an introvert for whom the city provides just enough contact with others.) Art describes this as surely as it does the vibrancy of the city, and the way the arts flourish within it.

Professor Weinstein is an excellent guide, citing not only literature, but fine arts, film, and every other art form that has been used to express what the city is. This is one of the shorter Great Courses I’ve listened to, but there is so much material here, that the sources would make for months of reading and viewing if you found yourself wanting to explore the subject more deeply and broadly.

As with most of the Great Courses, I recommend this one unreservedly.
… (mer)
Tracy_Rowan | Sep 19, 2017 |


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