". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, February 3, 2014

Little Women # 20 In Robert McCrum's UK Guardian Column - 100 Best Novels Written In English

I, for one, didn't expect to see an Alcott title on this list.  Granted, McCrum's selections are deeply idiosyncratic.  His criteria for the individual selections are not always clear or understandable, though he provides his justification for each column's choice.

For Little Women (1868), he's sketchy about everything, including why he chose it.  It's the shortest column he's done so far.  I am disappointed, considering what one could have written about this book and the author. He makes errors about the book, such as confusing the girls' metaphorical playing acting of Pilgrim's Progress with the little books that are the extracted account out of the New Testament of the life of Jesus. One senses he personally did not care for the book.  It was a dutiful inclusion that covered the categories of 'Woman author" and "American" in one shot.

Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852, After Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin
This choice allowed him to skip over another extraordinarily influential American woman author, who even influenced George Eliot's choices of including the Jewish identity - zionism arc in Daniel Deronda -- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Evidently books that deal with this centuries-long sin, crime and conflict that is slavery and the slave trade are too intimidating for him -- and / or too controversial.

Over here, we are unimpressed.

No comments: