Muses and Make Believe

Guess what…today I acutally have things to review! *gasp* I know, shock of all shockers! So, without further ado, let us begin, shall we?

shotsofshort1 The short story I have for you this time is another one by Wharton (what can I say, we’re working through her collection in my Contemporary Authors class) called “The Muse’s Tragedy”. I’m commenting on this story in particular because it may just be the best short story I’ve ever read. Not only was it shockingly poignant, but the concept was just unlike anything I’ve read.

Dayner’s is a poetry student who is absolutely in love with Vincent Rendle, an author, and who is honored when he gets the chance to meet Mrs. Anerton, the woman who inspired Rendle through most of his writing work. Mrs. Anerton and Dayner spend a lot of time together in Venice and, as we learn later, the two fall in love. However, Mrs. Anerton ends up leaving Dayner, and writes him a letter in which we get to hear the entire story of she and Rendle. Although Rendle wrote quite a few volumes about her, and although the two shared an intellectual connection, she was always in love with Rendle and he was never in love with her. Wharton writes the story in a heartbreaking fashion, writing with the same sparseness as before, but when writing about lost love, it fits more perfectly than ever before. Its heartbreaking because the entire time that Mrs. Anerton is talking, you want Rendle to love her. You want him to see her as more than an intellectual inspriation, as more than a friend and companion. But he doesn’t! And thats not necessessarily his fault, or her fault. Its just the way that it is. Which is what makes it so heartbreaking because, honestly, who hasn’t been there at least once – in love with someone who just doesn’t love you back.

Favorite passages:

“The moments of revolt, when I felt that I must break away from it all, fling the truth in his face and never see him again; the inevitable reaction, when not to see him seemed the one unendurable thing, and I trembled lest a look or word of mine should disturb the poise of our friendship; the silly days when I hugged the delusion that he must love me, since everybody thought he did; the long periods of numbness, when I didn’t seem to care whether he loved me or not.”

” Life is so much more complex than any rendering of it can be”

“What did I know of your feeling for me, after all? Were you capable of analyzing it yourself? Was it not likely to be two-thirds vanity and curiosity, and one-third literary sentimentality? You might easily fancy that you cared for Mary Anerton when you were really in love with Silvia — the heart is such a hypocrite! Or you might be more calculating than I had supposed. Perhaps it was you who had been flattering my vanity in the hope (the pardonable hope) of turning me, after a decent interval, into a pretty little essay with a margin.”

You can read the full copy of “The Muse’s Tragedy” online for free right here!

And, since I skipped class yesterday ( I know, I know! I’m such a horrible little student! But a 9:00 am survey course on pre-colonial and colonial literature? Snoozer!) I also have some Library Loot to share – lucky me!

library-lootLibrary Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by myself and Alessandra that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries

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From Left to Right:

Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling: I’ve only read about the first 50 pages, but this book so far seems right up my alley! It’s the story of the Blood Orphans, a mid-level band that is just falling from its rise to stardom. The characters are memorable (a bass player with execma and a guitarist with a major religion complex arethe first two that come to mind!) and the story is very, very entertaining! However, I know some of you aren’t that big in to cursing or “adult themes”, and this book is pretty heavy on both, so just be aware!

Daria: Is It College Yet?: I LOVED Daria when I was growing up, so I was more than overjoyed to see what is essentially a very campy movie on the shelves!

Dr. 90210: The Complete First Season andThe Osbournes: The First Season: I know, I know! Its so trashy! But it helps the hours pass when I’m knee deep in Faulkner and the colonial literature. I don’t know how much I acutally watch it, but the background noise is kind of comforting, you know?

Lastly, a plea for advice: I’m reading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner for my Contemporary Authors class, and I’m just having a horrible time with it! I know that its awful that I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure some of you out there have, so I was wondering: anyone have any advice for getting through it? A good friend of mine, whose favorite book is The Sound and the Fury told me that I just have to keep reading and then it’ll all make sense. But anything that can help me out until I get to the whole “finished-reading-pieces-fall-in-to-place” stage? Happy reading!


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