Monday, October 31, 2016

Hensher's stories


Daniel Defoe: A True Relation of the Apparition of Mrs Veal [html]

Jonathan Swift: Directions to the Footman [wiki]

Henry Fielding: The Female Husband [html]

Hannah More: Betty Brown, the St Giles’s Orange Girl: with Some Account of Mrs Sponge, the Money Lender [gB]

Mary Lamb: The Farm House
James Hogg: John Gray o’Middleholm
John Galt: The Howdie
Frederick Marryat: South West and by West three-quarters West
William Thackeray: A Little Dinner at Timmins’s
Elizabeth Gaskell: Six Weeks at Heppenheim
Anthony Trollope: An Unprotected Female at the Pyramids
Wilkie Collins: Mrs Badgery

Charles Dickens: Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings [html] 1863

Thomas Hardy: The Three Strangers
Margaret Oliphant: The Library Window
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Body Snatcher

Arthur Conan Doyle: Silver Blaze [html] 1894

Arthur Morrison: Behind the Shade
“Mrs Ernest Leverson”: Suggestion
Evelyn Sharp: In Dull Brown
T. Baron Russell: A Guardian of the Poor
Joseph Conrad: Amy Foster
H. G. Wells: The Magic Shop
M. R. James: The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral
˜Saki™: The Unrest-Cure
G. K. Chesterton: The Honour of Israel Gow
Max Beerbohm: Enoch Soames
Arnold Bennett: The Matador of the Five Towns
D. H. Lawrence: Daughters of the Vicar
Rudyard Kipling: The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat
Stacy Aumonier: The Great Unimpressionable
Viola Meynell: The Letter
A. E. Coppard: Olive and Camilla
E. M. Delafield: Holiday Group
Dorothy Edwards: A Country House
John Buchan: The King of Ypres

P. G. Wodehouse: Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court
‘Malachi” Whitaker: Courage
Jack Common: Nineteen
Elizabeth Bowen: The Dancing-Mistress
Evelyn Waugh: Cruise
James Hanley: The German Prisoner
T. H. White: The Point of Thirty Miles
Julian Maclaren-Ross: Death of a Comrade
Alum Lewis: Private Jones
“Henry Green’: The Lull
Sylvia Townsend Warner: The Trumpet Shall Sound
W. Somerset Maugham: Winter Cruise
Roald Dahl: Someone Like You
L. A. G. Strong: The Rook
T. f. Powys: The Key to the Field
Graham Green: The Hint of Explanation
G. F. Green: A Wedding
Angus Wilson: The Wrong Set
Rhys Davies: The Human Condition
Francis King: The Mouse
William Sansom: A Contest of Ladies
Samuel Selvon: Knock on Wood
Muriel Spark: Bang-Bang You’re Dead
Robert Aickman: Bind Your Hair
V. S. Naipaul: The Perfect Tenants
J. G. Ballard: The Cloud-Sculptors of Coral D
Christine Brooke-Rose: Red Rubber Gloves
Elizabeth Taylor: In and Out of the Houses
Kingsley Amis: Mason’s Life
Alan Sillitoe: Mimic
V. S. Pritchett: The Camberwell Beauty
“Jean Rhys”: Pioneers, Oh, Pioneers
Ian McEwan: Pornography
Angela Carter: The Courtship of Mr. Lyon
Doris Lessing: Notes for a Case History
Penelope Fitzgerald: The Means of Escape
Alasdair Gray: Five Letters from an Eastern Empire
Bernard MacLaverty: Phonefun Limited
Shena MacKay: Cardboard City
Beryl Bainbridge: The Longstop
Douglas Dunn: Bobby’s Room
Georgina Hammick: Grist
Adam Marz-Jones: Baby Church
George MacKay Brown: Three Old Men
A. S. Byatt: Racine and the Tablecloth
Martin Amis: Career Move
Candia McWilliam: The Only Only
Janice Galloway: last thing
Ali Smith: miracle survivors
Tessa Hadley: Buckets of Blood
Adam Marek: The 40-Litre Monkey
Jon McGregor: The Remains
Zadie Smith: The Embassy of Cambodia

Friday, November 11, 2011


There needs to be a web 2.0 site dedicated to collating diverse opinions on 'canonical' literature. This non-blog is a prototype, using Blogger, which will ideally serve to bootstrap something more ambitious.

We will mostly limit ourselves to postwar fiction, starting with about 100 authors chosen by Harold Bloom, plus another 100 or so he neglected. Visitors are invited to submit one (shortish) comment on each author they feel strongly about. If you post a second comment on the same author, your first will be deleted, so consider it a re-write, not a postscript.


Bloom's omissions
Bloom's inclusions
Bloom's oddities
Theocratic/Aristocratic/Democratic/prewar Chaotic

Other canons:

Individual: Barger, Smiley, Burgess, Seymour-Smith, Funsten, Ukaunz, Borges, Koen, Burt, Raftery, Fadiman, Piegirl, Mesler, Berres, Urich, Froggie, Gioia1, Gioia2, Winalotta

Group: HungryMind, Observer, Modern Library (Board & Readers), StMarks, Time, BOMC, BBC, Harvard, Radcliffe, Hitchers, NYPubLib, KY, Northport, Cannon, Utah, Waterstones, Exclusive, Madison, Readable, TLS, Utne, Good, Kunde composite, Logos, JoCo, Library Journal, OCLC, Montana, Inspirica, BluePyramid, Friendswood, Counterpunch, Barron

Also: Mortimer Adler, Allan Bloom, Joyce's Oxen

Here's a custom search-engine for all these lists (find best-matches to your own list by separating titles or authors with 'OR'):

...It's skipping many pages-- try this three-part variant: [part 1] [part 2] [part 3]

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bloom's oddities

Some random observations on Bloom's book:

  • 1994 Esquire article "278 books you should have read by now" included just the USA/ChaoticAge choices
  • he accidentally omits Freud from the long list
  • he shortchanges modern British fiction
  • his fiction choices would be wholly uncontroversial to the editors of the New York Times Book Review (ie, timid/safe)
  • the long list seems hastily patchworked from multiple sources
  • he claims not to have bowed to political correctness/affirmative action, but the list says different

Theocratic/Aristocratic/Democratic/prewar Chaotic

For comments on Bloom's earlier choices

Canon criteria

Harold Bloom: strangeness, originality, authority, esthetic value, inventive troping

Mortimer Adler: contemporary significance, re-readability, conversational breadth (touching 25 or more of the Great Ideas)

Allan Bloom: assists rational quest for the good life according to nature, examples of high human types, discovery of diversity, develops capacity to experience beauty, civilisation's ongoing discourse

Jorn Barger: which you'd recommend be read first, to an eager learner

Bloom's inclusions

These are novels Bloom included that he probably shouldn't have. They ought to be arranged according to reader rankings from least includable to most includable. You can post your votes for which should be higher on the list (kick them off), and which lower (keep them). Save your reasons for the author's page.

Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago
John Cheever, Bullet Park
Peter Carey, Illywhacker
Joseph Conrad, Victory

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bloom's omissions

Ideally, this list should be ranked by readers' ratings, best first. To simulate this, you can post your own opinions of which should be higher on the list (ie, Bloom should have included them), and which lower (Bloom was right, they don't belong). Save your reasons for the author's page, though.

Richard Ellmann, James Joyce
James Joyce, Stephen Hero
Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey-Maturin series
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim
James Dickey, Deliverance
Graham Greene, A Burnt-out Case
John le Carre, Karla trilogy
JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins
Iris Murdoch, A Word Child
Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince
Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities
Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full
Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin
Vladimir Nabokov, Ada
EL Doctorow, Ragtime
Joseph McElroy, Lookout Cartridge
Joseph McElroy, Ancient History
Joseph McElroy, Plus
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead


Bloom chooses more poets than novelists, I think.

It would make more sense to list individual poems.

And he omits song lyrics: Dylan, Joni Mitchell.