Reddit reviews: The best european literary history books

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Top Reddit comments about European Literary History & Criticism:

u/tehufn · 3 pointsr/writing

Hello. A lot of people are telling you to "read." If that seems like a no-brainer, here are some suggestions as to what you might want to read. if you're really really dedicated, you can self-study into a college-like education (based on my experience as a current student of English).

  • Read from the canon. In university, I had to study Early and Later British Literature. Those two anthologies are fairly comprehensive, and Norton has more of course. They're pretty thick, I would look into Chaucer, Shakespeare Yeats, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Blake. (All of those but Chaucer and Shakespeare are from the Later anthology.)
  • To add to the above point, google university reading lists, or the western canon. Also, I believe all the authors mentioned above are in the public domain, meaning you can find all their work online for free. Once you've got a good grip on them, you can dive into more complicated works like Milton, TS Eliot, Tolstoy ect. Dostoevsky is also an amazing writer, if my ESL grandmother could read him, likely you can too.
  • The greatest two books on fiction analysis I know of are Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism and Aristotle's Poetics. Both can be found online for free. Remember that critical examination is descriptive, not perspective. Don't let definitions limit you.
  • When it comes to actually writing, you can get better to a certain extent just powering though it. I notice that people (everyone from those like myself, to published writers) tend to plateau. Once you feel you've hit a glass ceiling, read something difficult, or learn something new about writing/criticism. Education.
  • Workshops. Not all colleges even offer workshop courses! However, if you're lucky enough that a nearby college, community college or community centre—if anyone near you offers creative writing workshops or courses, you should definitely consider them. Workshopping you work is great for feedback and seeing what works and what doesn't in real-time.
  • Don't want to pay for a course, or spend money? YouTube has full courses worth of lectures. Search things like English Literature Lecture or Creative Writing Lecture and you'll find courses or single lectures from Harvard, Yale, Brigham Young Academy (idk) ect.

    I hope that helps. I think that's as solid and specific advice as I can give. Although, I didn't list any specific works. If you have any questions or would like suggestions, please ask.
u/Snietzschean · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

First thing's first, get yourself a better translation. I know the Common translation is free online, but it's an outdated translation with it's own issues, and you'll understand the text better in a more contemporary translation anyways. I like this translation personally because it has great footnotes, but the Cambridge has become the standard, and it's not a bad translation either.

Okay. So let's work through your questions sequentially.

  1. The Big Bang theory as we know it was not formulated until the early 1900's, and even then it was in it's nascent stages as a theory and would be almost unrecognizable to us in the way that the layman understands it. So, it's probably safe to say that Nietzsche isn't concerned with TBBT.

    That said, I think it's a mistake to read this particular passage as an instance of a metaphysical claim. Zarathustra is talking about a vision that he had, and after all, he is a prophetic character. So it's probably best to look past the metaphysical propositions and just assume that time functions in this fashion, what does that say?

  2. My response picks up here. One's life, according to the Eternal Recurrence, occurs again and again, the same way, ad infinitum. Zarathustra, as an individual in the moment (hence moment is inscribed on the gateway overhead), only has the perspective in the present moment, yet he can see that life goes on infinitely forwards and infinitely backwards. They aren't two separate entities which flow into one another, it is all one constant "line", if you will, which flows infinitely in one direction. Zarathustra, in the present moment, exists on a single point on that continuum.

    I wouldn't make heavy weather of the word antithetical. Perhaps the better translation will help.

    > They contradict each other, these paths; they blatantly offend each other - and here at this gateway is where they come together.

  3. The dwarf is not echoing Zarathustra. The del Caro translation:

    > 'All that is straight lies,' murmured the dward contemptuously. 'All truth is crooked, time itself is a circle.' 'You spirit of gravity!' I said, angrily. 'Do not make it too easy on yourself! Or I shall leave you crouching here where you crouch, lamefoot - and I bore you this high!

    The dwarf is speaking platitudes. It's easy to say that time is circular and that you're just coming back to the same moment, doing the same thing, over and over again, returning endlessly to this same spot, but one almost gets the sense that the dwarf is speaking about metaphysical truths, or perhaps trying to make this metaphysics instead of what it really is, the wonderful affirmative thing that follows (the vision of the shepherd).

    The spirit of gravity is the spirit of seriousness, something which Zarathustra detests. He's not talking about physics, and he's not referencing any metaphysical theories, so don't worry about dimensionality or gravity as a force, or anything like that.

    And yes, he retains a linear concept, but only to preserve the metaphor of a "path" upon which one walks. Hence earlier he says "Two paths come together here; no one has yet walked them to the end". Don't think that there is a physical end or that it's talking about physics. Just focus on the fact that it's your path, one which stretches infinitely.

  4. From my translation:

    > And are not all things firmly knotted together in such a way that this moment draws after it all things to come? Therefore - itself as well?

    Essentially, all of time sinks into the present moment. You're never outside of the present moment, and so the moment draws all things in, including itself, in the sense that the moment which you conceive of as the present is already past, and so it must continually draw all of time into the present moment going forward into the future.

    Okay, so the point is that this book, and this passage, and this teaching are fundamentally existential, which is to say that they speak to one's existence. One must live in the present moment, one must always and eternally experience the present moment the same way, and one must always walk the same path. Yet this path is not numerically the same, it's different every time.

    I think Deleuze points out somewhere (probably in his book on Nietzsche), that this particular part of the vision is an awful one, about shallow metaphysical propositions, and thus one might call it The Eternal Return (because everything returns to the moment, like a baseball falling back down after it's been tossed), whereas the Eternal Recurrence, probably represented by the shepherd in the next part, is life affirming and transformative.

    I hope that helps a little. It might behoove you to separate yourself from concerns about physics, given that it's not really a common reading of the work, nor is it a defensible one unless you do a ton of work, and even then it's not entirely convincing. It's a way of reading it, but I don't read it that way.
u/[deleted] · 6 pointsr/infj

I like Camus a lot, but his prose is super hard to read sometimes. I don't really like Nietzsche; he's a massive fucking dick. I like Camus leagues more because Camus explains things and leads you to his conclusion while Nietzsche just preaches and rambles on about how much he hates this or that and how stupid this or that is.

Not all of these called themselves philosophers, but here's some I like:

I'm not stoic by any means, but I love Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. I think it's interesting how someone could write musings that are relevant millennia later.

John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, but he has a ton of prose too. Here's a book full of it along with annotations and modernized grammar. Milton wasn't the most satisfactory person, but his writing is incredible.

I haven't read this myself, but a friend of mine really liked Man's Search for Meaning by Frankl. Some of his friends called him pretentious for reading the book though (I wasn't one of them).

If you like Camus, you'll probably like Sartre's Existentialism is a Humanism. Again, I haven't read it myself, but it was also recommended to me because I like Camus.

Jean-Paul Marat was a journalist during the French Revolution, but his writings sometimes crossed into philosophical territory. He was a huge populist, and I love his work when he's not calling for the deaths of hundreds of people. You can read some of it here.

I'm huge into theology, so I love Thomas Aquinas. He wrote a lot about theology and Christianity and was a major Christian apologist. He also dabbled in theodicy. Smart man.

And to mix it up, here's one I haven't checked out but is top on my list: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's Selected Works. She was a writer and a nun from Spain who was self-taught--all qualities you usually don't find in philosophers, so she'll be a unique read.

u/CricketPinata · 1 pointr/milliondollarextreme

If you want to just know buzzwords to throw around, spend a bunch of time clicking around on Wikipedia, and watch stuff like Crash Course on YouTube. It's easy to absorb, and you'll learn stuff, even if it's biased, but at least you'll be learning.

If you want to become SMARTER, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to either carry a notebook with you, or find a good note taking app you like on your phone. When someone makes a statement you don't understand, write it down and parse it up.

So for instance, write down "Social Democracy", and write down "The New Deal", and go look them up on simple.wikipedia.com (Put's all of it in simplest language possible), it's a great starting point for learning about any topic, and provides you a jumping board to look more deeply into it.

If you are really curious about starting an education, and you absolutely aren't a reader, some good books to start on are probably:

"Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words" by Randall Munroe

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson

"Philosophy 101" by Paul Kleinman, in fact the ____ 101 books are all pretty good "starter" books for people that want an overview of a topic they are unfamiliar with.

"The World's Religions" by Huston Smith

"An Incomplete Education" by Judy Jones and Will Wilson

Those are all good jumping off points, but great books that I think everyone should read... "A History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, "Western Canon" by Harold Bloom, "Education For Freedom" by Robert Hutchins, The Norton Anthology of English Literature; The Major Authors, The Bible.

Read anything you find critically, don't just swallow what someone else says, read into it and find out what their sources were, otherwise you'll find yourself quoting from Howard Zinn verbatim and thinking you're clever and original when you're just an asshole.

u/scdozer435 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

>I didn't know continental vs analytical terms are outdated.

Dated perhaps isn't the right term, but just know that they do have certain limits.

As for post-WWII philosophy, there's a lot, but I'm going to let you know that much of it can't be well-understood without a basic understanding of Heidegger, much of whose thought was pre-WWII. His best known work is Being and Time, but it's one of the most challenging texts in the western canon. For an easier introduction to prep you for it, I'd recommend some of his early lecture material, such as The Hermeneutics of Facticity and The History of the Concept of Time. This could just be me, but I've found his lectures to be generally easier than his primary texts. If you want to trace the development of his thought, much of which was post-WWII, the Basic Writings anthology has a number of essays by him. While nothing really eclipsed Being and Time, much of his later thought is still studied. I'd say the most significant work of his later career was his Contributions to Philosophy, which took the form of briefer aphorisms and anecdotes, more similar to Nietzsche in style, but still grounded in much of his own thought and terminology.

If you want to move away from Heidegger, some of the big texts would be Gadamer's Truth and Method (Gadamer was a student of Heidegger's, so the former's thought is very deeply influenced by the latter), Sartre's two texts Being and Nothingness and Existentialism is a Humanism (note the similarity to Sartre's title with Heidegger's Being and Time, and also note that Heidegger would respond rather critically to Sartre's Existentialism with an essay in the Basic Writings), and Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (a key feminist work heavily influenced by Sartre and Heidegger).

Beyond this my knowledge is a bit scattered, as I've only just completed undergrad. I really would recommend David West's text as a decent overview that will guide you in what the key texts are, as well as good secondary sources. I've not brought up Derrida, who was also huge, as well as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, Michel Foucault and Charles Taylor just to name a few. On top of those, there's a ton of pre-WWII stuff that's hugely important for understanding these thinkers, such as the ideas of Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, and the whole field of psychoanalysis (Freud, Jung and Lacan). Then there's postmodernism, postcolonialism, the various strands of feminism, and tons more. The more I type, the more I'm just reminding myself how little I know about this area (even though it's the area I'm most interested in).

Let me know if there's anything more you need to know or if you want to know a decent secondary source.

u/angstycollegekid · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Sartre presented a lecture called "Existentialism and Humanism," which can now be found in print as Existentialism is a Humanism. It's almost like an Existentialism manefesto, per se. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is a good treatise on existentialism (Absurdism, really, but it'll do).

I would not hesitate to start reading fiction novels that have Existentialist themes. Camus' The Stranger, Sartre's Nausea, and Dostyevsky's Notes From the Underground are just a few that will find your studies well.

As for secondary literature, the only text I can knowledgeably recommend is Existentialism For Dummies, as I'm currently working my way through it. It's actually not as bad as you might think coming from the "For Dummies" series. It doesn't go too in-depth, and ideas are very concise and oftentimes humorous.

I have also heard good things about David Cogswell's Existentialism For Beginners, though I have never read it myself.

If your niece feels comfortable with this level of writing and philosophical examination, it is almost imperative to read Kierkegaard's Either/Or and Fear and Trembling, Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, among others. It is good to have some background understanding of Kant and perhaps have a few essays by Schopenhauer under your belt leading up to the more rigorous academics like Heidegger and Hegel.

Good luck, and happy reading!

u/hishtafel · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

This is probably weird, but the most fun I have is when I am planning something. (An event/party with friends or family, curriculum for a class, a date.) Related, I think, is that I really enjoy experimenting with flavor combinations in foods/baked goods/cocktails. On a more normal level, I like to read, hike, and reddit.

Simple pleasures for me? Sleep, coffee, chocolate. Ooh, and bubble bath. My perfect summer day would be sunny, warm but definitely not hot, spent in a coffee shop with the windows open to a quirky town's Main Street.

Here's a book from my WL, because you've gotta have a book with your coffee!

Pandora's Mystery Summer Box of Goodies

u/McQueeny · 3 pointsr/labrats

I don't think this is exactly what you're looking for, but At The Bench - A Laboratory Navigator has a 10-page chapter about keeping a lab notebook.

Here's a brief Google Books preview; unfortunately it does not cover the relevant chapter.

This presentation(PDF link) cites a book called Writing the Laboratory Notebook by Howard Kanare, which (based on the Amazon reviews) might be more geared towards industry labs but could still be pretty useful in a general sense. You can find out for yourself, since I managed to find a full text copy online(PDF link). I don't think I'm accessing this through any proxies, so it does seem like it's freely available.

For a more thorough investigation of what's out there, you should consult your institution's library; I'm sure someone will be happy to help track down the exact book you are thinking of, or something functionally equivalent.

edit - here's a PDF link to another presentation, just for fun

u/NachtPaladin · 5 pointsr/asatru

Hey there!

There are some books referenced in HeathenTalk that are not included, or are included as supplementary reading, in the reading list here. I'm early on in the podcast--I am just behind you, listening to the LGBT* episode--and just ordered A Piece of Horse Liver as it was mentioned in the podcast and sounded interesting. So you might keep a list running as you listen to check out those books/sources later and see if they would be of interest.

There are a couple places you can look for other heathens in your area--on the side bar there is a "Members Location" section, and some of the major heathen organizations in the US have regional breakdowns of groups affiliated with them. I'm not going to link to them here, but a little online searching will bring them up.

I'll leave the wight gift cycle to another user who is more familiar with it--currently I am more focused on ancestor veneration, though I give to the wights as well.

There is absolutely precedent for keeping an ancestral altar in your home. You may remember in the N00bcast (I believe), u/thatsnotgneiss mentioned her ancestor altar being within eye level during the broadcast. It's absolutely encouraged to remember them and offer them gifts, such as food or a drink they enjoyed in life. You can also honor them by telling their stories during sumbel and the like.

u/reddengist · 1 pointr/books

Lord Byron:

There are notable examples of the Byronic hero in the verse tale The Giaour, also notable for one of the first descriptions of vampirism in English literature, and the drama Manfred. Beppo is a short humorous later work that in tone and form could be considered a prototype for his masterpiece Don Juan. I also recommend the end of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, starting from Canto IV's stanza CLXXV, which is some of his best poetry.

As for a specific physical book, I like this volume because it has his complete works in a compact form, with Byron's original footnotes. The big drawback is that uses two column formatting and small print to cram everything in. The Oxford World's Classics volume Lord Byron: The Major Works looks like a good selection, that includes all the pieces I recommended, and it will be more readable because it uses one column and larger print.

u/j0h0 · 2 pointsr/books

Note: This comes from my interpretation and quotes from "A Commentary on The Stranger" by Jean-Paul Sartre, which can be found in the book Existentialism is a Humanism also by Jean-Paul Sartre.

> In The Myth of Sisyphus... Camus provided us with a precise commentary on his work: his hero was neither good nor bad, neither moral nor immoral. Such categories do not apply to him. He belongs to a very particular species for which the author reserves the name "absurd."

Sartre goes on to explain that "absurd" as used in Camus' work represents both a factual state and the lucid awareness that some people acquire from that state. By this reading, Meursault is Camus' attempt to throw us headfirst into the feeling of the "absurd".

>"For the absurd man, the ideal is the present and the succession of present moments before an ever-conscious spirit." Confronted with this "quantitative ethic," all values collapse. Projected into this world, the absurd man, rebellious and irresponsible, has "nothing to prove."

>And now we fully understand the title of Camus's novel. The stranger he wants to portray is precisely one of those terrible "idiots" who shock a society by not accepting the rules of its game. He lives among strangers, but he is a stranger to them too.

>Meursalt does not seem to be indignant about his death sentence. He was happy, he did as he liked, and his happiness does not seem to have been affected by any inner gnawing so frequently mentioned by Camus in his essay, which stems from the blinding presence of death. His very indifference often seems like indolence, for instance on that Sunday when he stays home out of pure laziness, and admits to having been "a little bored." The character thus remains singularly impenetrable, even from a vantage point of the absurd... He is there before us, he exists, and we can neither understand nor quite judge him. In a word, he is alive, but his fictional density is the only thing that can make him acceptable to us.

I hope some of that helps! I really enjoyed reading Sartre's commentary on The Stranger and I felt as though it made me appreciate Camus's work more than my first reading. Somewhere inside the commentary Sartre explains that Meursalt is much less a key player in the events of the story as an impartial observer and that to truly live the "absurd" is simply to experience it. He likens the events in the book to our looking in on them through a window in which we can see what is happening, but are completely cut off from the context and meaning of such events.

I haven't read The Myth of Sisyphus yet, but Sartre claims that it amounts to Camus's spelling out of his theory of the absurd. The Stranger attempts to expose us to the "feeling" of the absurd, while TMoS attempts to expose us to the "idea" of the absurd in a much more philosophical way. If you're interested in Camus's ideas, I would probably have to second his recommendation.

u/hipsterparalegal · 27 pointsr/books

The rise of "literary fiction" as a genre and belief that it is the sole genre of literary merit can be described by a multi-stage process:

  1. The Modernist idea that art should be difficult. The Modernists had contempt for the common man and thus set out to create art works that required education to understand. Joyce, Le Corbusier, abstract expressionism (read Clement Greenberg on art and kitsch) all fit in this category. See John Carey's The Intellectuals and the Masses for more on this: http://www.amazon.com/The-Intellectuals-And-Masses-Intelligensia/dp/0897335074

  2. After WWII, the GI program resulted in tons and tons of money being poured into universities. MFA programs like the Iowa Writers' Workshop became popular during this time. The professors at Iowa and these other universities were schooled in Modernism. At the undergrad level, "arts appreciation" courses also taught the Modernist conception of cultural history. Look at the way 19th century Academic painting is still dismissed in favor of the Impressionists.

  3. The rise of databases to track sales to bookstores. Bookstores began categorizing their inventory like never before. Science Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Westerns, Fantasy, Fiction, Classic Fiction, Literary Fiction, etc.

  4. The impact of movies. In many ways, movies are a far more emotionally engaging storytelling medium than novels. Novels are pages and pages of black and white text. Movies offer story, photography, music, actors, production design, and editing to present an overwhelming sensory experience. Just as the impact of photography hit painting hard (and was a big influence on the rise of nonrepresentational art) so too movies hit novels hard. Instead of focusing on story and character, things that in many ways movies do just as well as novels, writers began to focus on language at the sentence level.

    All of these trends together created the genre of "literary fiction" as we know it.
u/goneharolding · 1 pointr/books

The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi had a great impact on how I see the world and my life.

Flesh in the Age of Reason by Roy Porter. A great overview of the evolution of philosophy since the beginning of the Enlightenment. A surprisingly engaging, easy read.

And, I can't believe no one has said this yet - How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It's a classic for a reason, and nowhere near as Machiavellian as it sounds :P

u/wineBot · 1 pointr/bicycling

http://www.bicycles.net.au is one I failed to mention, there's also the other bicycling subreddits - /r/bicycletouring and /r/fixedgearbicycle are my favourite. I'm more interested in the touring side of cycling, so I can recommend a few good touring nooks:

"Full Tilt: Ireland to India by Bicycle," by Dervla Murphy is a great read

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Psychogeography-Will-Self/dp/0747590338 <-- not quite a bicycle touring book, but I know that Will Self rides a brompton and this is a book about travelling

Also, a book called "The rider" by (I think) Tim krabbe. That's more of a racing book, but it is an excellent one.

Click through links, google and generally read around and you'll stumble on more resources. Happy hunting :)

u/avenirweiss · 7 pointsr/books

I know I must be missing some, but these are all that I can think of at the moment.


Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

White Noise by Don Delilo

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by DFW

Infinite Jest by DFW

Of these, you can't go wrong with Infinite Jest and the Collected Fictions of Borges. His Dark Materials is an easy and classic read, probably the lightest fare on this list.


The Music of the Primes by Marcus du Sautoy

Chaos by James Gleick

How to be Gay by David Halperin

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Secret Historian by Justin Spring

Of these, Secret Historian was definitely the most interesting, though How to be Gay was a good intro to queer theory.

u/thornybacon · 3 pointsr/lotr


I've got both versions and I'd say yes, The Annotated Hobbit has lots of interesting annotations/notes on the text, reprints several rare/unpublished writings by Tolkien (including the longest version of The Quest Of Erebor which had only portions published in Unfinished Tales), more than 150 illustrations and it includes the 1937, and 1951 versions of the text (including the original Riddles In The Dark Chapter) in the sidebars, alongside the 3rd edition text (which is the standard text of all modern editions from 1966+) making it easy to compare the various versions.

If you are interested in learning more about The Hobbit I'd also recommend The History Of The Hobbit by John D Rateliffe which publishes the early drafts of The Hobbit and traces its evolution over the years, with extensive commentary and essays on the characters and themes of the novel:


(Of the three editions, I'd recommend the 2011 one volume hardback, at 960 pages long, it has substantially more content than the other editions):


u/imsoeffingtired · 1 pointr/AskReddit

If you are interested in Watts' idea of nothingness you might be interested in the philosophy of Existentialism. If you want this idea put in layman's terms Existentialism is a Humanism is a great place to start. Honestly though, I would steer away from Alan Watts, although he is interesting, after reading a few of his books his philosophy seems rather empty and repetitive... Kierkegaard, Camus, and Sartre are all very interesting reads. Despite our resentful convo you should check them out.

u/CapBateman · 15 pointsr/askphilosophy

In general, academic philosophy of religion is dominated by theistic philosophers, so there aren't many works defending atheism and atheistic arguments in the professional literature.

But there are still a few notable books:

  • J.L Mackie's The Miracle of Theism is considered a classic, but it's a bit outdated by now. Although Mackie focuses more on critiquing the arguments for God's existence rather than outright defending atheism, he is no doubt coming from an atheistic point of view.
  • Michael Martin's Atheism: A Philosophical Justification is a lengthy book with the ambitious goal of showing atheism is the justified and rational philosophical position, while theism is not.
  • Nicholas Everitt's The Non-existence of God is maybe one of the most accessible books in the "case for atheism" genre written by a professional philosopher. He even presents a new argument against god's existence.
  • If you're more into debates, God?: A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist is a written debate between atheist philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and famous Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig. It's far better than any debate WLC had with any of the New Atheists in my humble opinion.
  • On the more Continental side of things, there a few works that could be mentioned. There's Michel Onfray's Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (although I must admit I didn't read it myself, so I can't attest to how good it is) and of course any work by the atheist existentialists, a good place to start will by Jean-paul Sartre's Existentialism Is a Humanism.

    I didn't add him because others have already mentioned him, but everything written by Graham Oppy is fantastic IMO. He is maybe the leading atheist philosopher in the field of philosophy of religion. A good place to start with his writings is his 2013 paper on arguments for atheism.
u/eremiticjude · 56 pointsr/tolkienfans

this, more or less. the Hobbit, in its original conception, is basically Tolkien deconstructing Faerie stories and making his supercut of all the most classic elements. he just happened to slip in a bunch of references to his own world as well to make it sound unique. Then when it took off, and the publisher wanted more "hobbit stories" he tried to sell them the Silm. They weren't having it, so we got LOTR, and he found himself having to wrap a work he'd not intended originally to be in Middle-earth into his world. he ended up justifying the revised second edition as being the "truer" version of events that Bilbo told Gandalf, while the first is the one he told the dwarves, in order to explain why the ring is passed off as just a bauble in the first edition. but the other discrepancies (stone giants, the staggering differences in behavior you see in the elves, etc) you just have to chalk up to how the piece was conceived.

if this is an interesting topic for you, i cannot recommend enough John D Rateliff's The History of the Hobbit which is i think the single most exhaustive and best researched work on the Hobbit. The history of Middle-earth has great stuff on it too, but Rateliff goes into the wider context of how it was conceived as a faerie story, rather that just its place within the context of middle-earth and the various iterations of its development.

edit: i should have replied to OP, as the person i'm replying to probably knows at least some of this.

u/Honey_Llama · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

You can get a lot out of it without one. I think I mentioned I read it cover-to-cover twice in a row. The second time I had the pleasure of figuring out one or two of the puzzles on my own.

Later I picked up this by the world-renowned Nabokov scholar Brian Boyd.

But I recommend reading the book itself first a few times. Otherwise it's like seeing the answer key to a puzzle before you have even tried to solve it. You can go, "Oh yeah! That's clever!" but you miss the joy and satisfaction of discovery.

u/Evan42 · 2 pointsr/Norse

Ok well I tried harder and I found a few on amazon, I'll share links in case someone else has trouble and googles something like the name of this thread.

Egil's saga in monolingual old norse

A series of dual language sagas I have one of these, It's ok but I should mention that while it's dual-lingual, the languages are not parallel. the Norse version is in the back. Another thing is that some of them are actually modern Icelandic, though that shouldn't make a huge difference because the language used is still archaic, just with updated spellings (og vs ok, hestur vs hestr)

Here's a good one, The poetic Edda in parallel text old-Norse and English That's the version I have and I think it's a really nice, high quality volume, but one thing I should mention is it's a scan of an older edition. Personally I don't mind that, I actually think it's kind of cool, but if that idea bugs you maybe check out this version which I don't have so I can't speak for the quality of it but it seems to be newly printed instead of scanned.

u/Surtrlljos · 2 pointsr/asatru

these are from what i found. i haven't read them yet but i'm getting to them.



Amazon costs more, this is from publisher:

edit: The Edda saemund sigfusson olive bray, there is a free PDF you can find on google but i don't remember how i got to it.

HA!! i found it!

u/theoldkitbag · 5 pointsr/ireland

The Táin is one of our greatest national epics - you can find an excellent translation by Kinsella (a famous Irish poet) online, no problem.

As a more pop-friendly alternative, Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick (the guy who designed the famous Che Guevara image) produced two illustrated volumes of the Book of Conquests - the founding mythology of Ireland. They are the Book of Conquests and The Silver Arm

Irish legends are primary sorted into what are called 'cycles'. There are four: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle, and the Cycle of Kings. Each has a different flavour and revolve around different characters. You may enjoy one more the other. Our most commonly known heroes come from the Ulster and Fenian Cycles.

u/laspopo · 5 pointsr/poland

I have a good book edited by Czesław Miłosz that is a collection of a shit ton of Polish Poetry (with some of Miłosz's poetry in it as well). I put an amazon link to it at the end of my post.

Also I really suggest Wisława Szymborska. She and Miłosz are the two most known in western culture - both received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Miłosz taught at UC Berkeley.

One other great one is Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz.

Also Bruno Schulz if you're looking for some prose.


u/Mattyocrazy · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Norton Edition of "The Wasteland" comes with critical commentaries, essays, copious footnotes, and Eliot's own dubious footnotes to the piece. Pretty good if you really want to dive into Eliot's masterpiece.


u/FabesE · 1 pointr/IAmA

Kierkegaard makes for dense reading, real dense.

Existentialism is a Humanism by Sartre is my go-to recommendation for an entrance into Existentialism. It's actually a lecture, so it reads like an essay; it's short, so it is manageable; and it is significantly less dense than Kierkegaard. "Existence precedes essence". Such a simple and wonderful idea that needn't scare or lead to malaise.

Edit (to include links):

Wall of text version

Affordable paperback version

u/RoarK5 · 1 pointr/books

Tough call. Eliot and Emerson are both in my top 20. I think I'd go with the Eliot one though, Pound is way more fun than Nietzsche. Also, I recommend this copy of The Wasteland.

Edit: Fixed link

u/small_far_away · 1 pointr/ireland

My gf has

A Handbook of Irish Folklore for college. I don't know if it is really academic or not.
She also has The Táin.

Hope that is useful for you.

u/apostrotastrophe · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

I haven't actually read it yet, but it's burning a hole on my bookshelf and looks really good - Psychogeography by Will Self and Ralph Steadman.

u/curizen · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

I recommend Magick (or Book 4) reminded me of Wilson's writing style even. very accessible.

If you want more of his crazy cool ideas and poetry I recommend Book of Lies

Also this website has everything

He covers so many diverse topics everything is worh checking out!

u/PipettesByMouth · 1 pointr/chemistry

Writing the Laboratory Notebook is a very good resource, though possibly in excess of what your class requires.

The ACS puts its name on it, for whatever that's worth.

u/CBFisaRapist · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Just click the other options. You can get a hardcover for $30.

It's a GREAT set if you're interested in this sort of thing.

If you only want it for those three chapters, though, take a pass. Not sure if they're out there somewhere, but I wager someone has scanned them.

u/rtb · 1 pointr/reddit.com

A collection of works by Samuel Johnson, such as
this one. His dictionary of English was the standard for nearly 200 years, and he did it with only clerical assistance. It's probably the single most impressive feat of scholarship ever, and his writings on many subjects are powerfully illuminating.

u/ohmanchild · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Thanks. I actually ordered Meditations right after I read Epictetus. Is this the other book? How do you apply reason when you talk to people and look at tasks you need to do so it's not so overwhelming?

u/Peralton · 3 pointsr/steampunk

"What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England"


It's a reference book of all the mundane info you need to write a living, breathing world. You need to know the rules before you cnasteampunk them.


This review describes it nicely: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R15YUTEEGOWF7V/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0671882368



u/the_unfinished_I · 2 pointsr/books

Existentialism is a humanism, by Jean Paul Sartre. Very short, easy to understand, and (speaking personally) quite life-affecting.

u/muckomatt · 2 pointsr/literature

My personal favorite, somewhat obscure find: Post War Polish Poetry edited and compiled by Lithuania poet Czeslaw Milosz. This collection completely changed how I write poetry. The Poles have a rich history of punctual experimentation, mind-blowing personification, and plenty else. Here's a taste of some polish poesy: Anna Swir

u/eatcrayons · 5 pointsr/LateStageCapitalism

Here's "The Intellectuals and the Masses," which is just on the opinions of "the masses" by people in the literary world in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

u/DeShawnThordason · 2 pointsr/writing

You should read Brian Boyd's analysis of Pale Fire, it really gave me an insight into some of the crazy depth of the book (plus fulfilled the tinfoil itch that /r/asoiaf has given me).

u/BonkTink · 2 pointsr/Existentialism

"Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world—and defines himself afterwards"

—Jean-Paul Sartre

From Existentialism and Humanism (later published in English as Existentialism is a Humanism)

u/Trotter999 · 2 pointsr/tolkienbooks

You could also look at the one volume hardback edition, instead of the paperbacks, as an alternative, as suggested by thornybacon.


u/-JWF · 2 pointsr/AskLiteraryStudies

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages would be my recommendation. It's the book I used when I took a class on Medieval Lit.