Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Press for Murnighan

I posted a couple of weeks ago about this book, Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan, because I'm participating in the Books on the Nightstand's summer reading challenge.

Since then I've picked up the book and read the sections on the Old and New Testament of the Bible--to give a frame of reference because those happen to be "books" that I've read many, many times for personal reasons, and I wanted to get his take on them.

He definitely is irreverent and sees literature as something that should touch all parts of the body. It was a good exercise, after having read the introduction, because it allowed me to see that, although he and I may approach the same piece of literature differently because we're coming to the literature for different reasons, every piece of literature can be approached. Nothing is too esoteric. That being said, I read his chapter on Middlemarch (my first summer reading book), and I'm looking forward to diving into that book with a feminist's eye.

So, color me surprised when I saw that his book was featured on The Very Short List yesterday. I think they sum it up well when they say, "Many of Murnighan’s conclusions are off-base (see, for instance, his chapter on Balzac’s Père Goriot). But as with the collected writings of Pauline Kael, disagreeing with the critic can be more fun than turning to the work itself."

I think I'm going to enjoy my reading, reviewing, thinking, and disagreeing this summer. Thanks, Professor Murnighan, and congratulations on the press coverage (VSL is a big deal).

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