Saturday, September 21, 2013

E Rice burroughs, Tarzan of The apes

To re-read a well written book is not only plesant but also inspiring. While the oeuvre of authors such as O’Hara, Hemingway, and Mailer are by now buried in the dunes of oblivion, Burroughs’ Tarzan remains vibrant and beloved. But, why? There may be many reasons, but I think the following two have something to do with it: (1) The presence of a prototype, and (2) Sentence beginnings.

In contrast to the three mentioned authors, Burroughs bequeathed for posterity a prototype character: Tarzan. This feat together with a wise use of English syntax—in particular his sentence beginnings—make Tarzan a masterpiece. A classic.

If one applies this reasoning to lasting authors, one can see that there’s some validity to my thesis. Truman Capote not only created Holly Golightly, but he wrote with great respect for grammar and syntax. The same may be said of Jane Austen (Mr. Darcy), Nabokov (Lolita), Kafka (Gregor Samsa, Joseph K), Salinger (Holden), Fitzgerald (Gatsby), Cervantes (Don Quijote), all of whom created prototypes.

Without a prototype and without due respect for the sound structures of the English language, the dunes will close in. Let’s test this thesis. Who do you think will survive the dunes of amnesia and oblivion: Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Grisham, Tom Clancy, or Capote?

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia
Lindsey Vonn

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