How useless, how extraordinarily painless, it is to take a child’s life… It’s so much worse (and more pleasurable) taking the life of someone who has hit his or her prime, who has the beginnings of a full history, a spouse, a network of friends, a career, whose death will upset far more people whose capacity for grief is limitless than a child’s would, perhaps ruin many more lives than just the meaningless, puny death of this boy.
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

i remember clearly the deaths of three men. one was the richest man of the century, who, having clawed his way to wealth through the souls and bodies of men, spent many years trying to buy back the love he had forfeited and by that process performed great service to the world and, perhaps, had much more than balanced the evils of his rise. i was on a ship when he died. the news was posted on the bulletin board, and nearly everyone received the news with pleasure. several said, “thank god that son of a bitch is dead.”

john steinbeck (east of eden)

The importance of Hugo in the mythmaking of the capital is fundamental; first, because Paris was ‘la grande affaire de sa vie' and his passion for the capital is to be found in much of his work. Second, because his sense of the epic together with his use of symbolism and his 'metaphysics' make him a major contributor to what Claude Millet called 'le dispositif legendaire' of 19th-century France. Finally, it can be argued that Hugo was characteristic of a period in French history which produced a rather optimistic discourse while, at the same time, being submerged by a very dark imaginary (and particularly a dark urban imaginary).

Nineteenth-century France lived in the shadow of the guillotine (to put it in a Hugolian way), and had to cope with the ambivalent legacy left by the French Revolution. Uncomfortable with the past, uncertain about the present, France rushed frantically into the future, a process which, far from healing its deep anxiety, increased it dramatically. The faith in science and progress barely hid the bourgeoisie’s social phobia of darkness, both material (how the city looked) and moral (what kinds of perversion it generated). Hugo’s work, it may be argued, is a particularly pertinent illustration of this anxiety: anguished, oppressive, suffocating, claustrophobic and fearful, the Hugolian imaginary highlights the fears of his time as much as it encapsulates the dark side of a phantasmagoria where ‘l’humanite […] fait figure de damne’.

Hugo will be considered mainly as a symbolist and poet, even when he writes novels. In his use of metaphors—which are never gratuitous, but are carefully chosen—Hugo leaves symbolic clues which the reader must decode. Recurrent metaphors, which are to be found both in his poems and novels, play a central role in the texts’ construction of meaning, rather than acting as mere poetic illustrations. 'Closer to romance and myth than the realist tradition, projecting linguistic and metaphoric structures that achieve what has been called the roman-poeme, […] he translates private obsessions into collective symbols'. In other words, not only is Hugo representative of the imaginary of his time (in his expression of its obsessions), he also appears as a main contributor to the myth of Paris, first because his use of symbolism makes him a natural ‘mythmaker’, and, second, because of his devotion to Paris.

As we have seen, parallel with the official, optimistic, and perhaps naive glorification of Paris (as the symbol of a bright future) there existed a dominant, pessimistic representation of Paris, in which darkness illustrated the moral concern felt by 19th-century France towards this ever-growing urban monster. According to the physiology of the time, darkness is not only the city’s prevalent tone; it also reveals its moral depravation. Hugo, through his combination of the fantastic and the realistic, the sublime and the horrific, is part of a tradition which, since Balzac, has delighted in representing Paris as a dark, and, consequently, as an evil place. The perception of the city as evil was not created by the 19th century. There was already a Rousseauesque tradition of suspicion towards the city in general, as opposed to an idealistic vision of the country. For Paris, this tradition was reinforced by the trauma caused by the Terror: the people of Paris leading the whole country into a bloodbath was a nightmarish memory in France. According to Jean Tulard, the September Massacres in particular remained engraved on the collective memory: ‘[D]esormais, Paris inspire peur et degout. Les massacres de Septembre peseront lourd sur l’avenir de Paris, un Paris que l’on souhaite a nouveau enchaner.’ From Napoleon onwards, the capital was kept under tight surveillance. As a revolutionary city, it was still able to overthrow regimes, but its power over the rest of France was to decrease throughout the 19th century. Nevertheless, the image of a bloodthirsty capital remained: ‘le sang efface des pierres de la capitale s’est incruste dans les memoires. Paris still represented a threat.


character alignment according to claudius (i, claudius)

  • virtuous men with golden hearts
  • virtuous men with stony hearts
  • scoundrels with stony hearts
  • scoundrels with golden hearts
The Western Lit Survival Kit (Part I)
Greece: Cradle of (Greek) Civilization
  • Homer: IliadOdyssey
  • Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days 
  • Sappho, Pindar
  • Aeschylus: Promotheus Bound, The Oresteia
  • Sophocles: Oedipus Rex / Oedipus at Colonus / Antigone
  • Euripides: Medea
  • Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Clouds, The Frogs, The Birds
Rome: When the World Was Ruled by Italians 
  • Catallus, Propertius, Tibullus
  • Virgil: The Eclogues, The Georgics, The Aeneid
  • Ovid: The Metamorphoses, The Art of Love
  • Horace: Epodes and Satires, Odes
  • St. Augustine of Hippo: Confessions
The Middle Ages and Points Between
  • Beowulf
  • The Song of Roland
  • Chrétien de Troyes: Lancelot, le chevalier de la Charrette (Knight of the Cart)
  • Thomas Mallory: Le Morte d’Arthur
  • Peter Abélard and Héloïse d’Argenteuil: The History of My Misfortunes, Letters
  • Romance de la Rose (Romance of the Rose)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde, The Canterbury Tales
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Dante Alighieri: La Vita Nuova, Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
The Renaissance: Back to the Future
  • Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch): Il Canzonierre
  • Giovanni Boccaccio: The Decameron
  • Benvenuto Cellini: Autobiography
  • François Villon: poems
  • François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • Michel de Montaigne: essays
  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: Don Quixote
  • Christopher Marlowe: The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus, Edward II
  • Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene
  • William Shakespeare: see below
  • Ben Jonson: Volpone, The Alchemist
William "Look At Me, I Get My Own Chapter" Shakespeare
  • The Tragedies: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, Coriolanus
  • The Histories: Richard II, King Henry IV (Part One, Part Two), Henry V, Richard III
  • The Comedies: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shew, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night, As You Like It
  • sonnets
Here Come the Puritans: Parade, Meet Rain
  • Cavaliers: Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, John Suckling, Thomas Carew
  • Metaphysics: John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughn, Abraham Cowley, Richard Crawshaw, Andrew Marvell
  • John Bunyan: Grace Abounding, Pilgrim’s Progress
  • John Milton: Paradise Lost, poems

you’re fucking welcome

Anonyme asked:
"What do you think of Tolstoy, Pushkin, and James Joyce? Also what books do you recommend? (for a fan of Hugo, especially)"

tolstoy & pushkin - still a virgin sorry; in regards to russian literature, i’ve read dostoyevsky and fucking all of anton chekhov’s shit, and although i try and force myself to like russian lit, i can’t. won’t tackle more russian texts until i can read russian bc i’m one of those hardcore believers in the author’s essence ie that every translation is a distancing, every adaptation a decay — ill get all nativist on your ass i like to go to the roots literature-wise, etc. so maybe i’ll like russian lit more then (i’ll let you know) — this goes for eastern european/slavic literature in general (fucking czechs) // although one book i really did enjoy was the master and the margarita by mikhail bulgakov

james joyce - have only tried to tackle him in bits so no final consensus as of yet

i can recommend books from my own taste profile but i think theyll do sorely for a strict hugophile/hugonaut because itll be my own personal palette of victor but hey everything helps right!!!

  • i read v hugo in my formative years so ive been ruined in the plot department. nothing has ever rivaled him. so i tend to like texts that are character-driven sound sex (this is also why i have a hard time getting into the fantasy genre & detective shit because archetypes bore me and i literally do not give a fuck about what happens) (this is also my philosophy when it comes to films because i am all about every aspect of development and production except the plot. stories bore me. storytelling, though, is fascinating)
  • french-related lit: i read phantom of the opera in 5th grade so i cant remember if its good or not but give it a try (i dont want to know whether/not my first obsession was a shitty one i aint about this self-reflexive life) // the vhugo fanclub meets on sundays at notre dame and balzac is a side door // eugene ionesco is my shit
  • i, lucifer by glen duncan is my absolute fav; and along that theme: paradise lost, dante’s divine comedy
  • gabriel garcia marquez 
  • try and read parfum by patrick suskind in german or french its fucking gorgeous
  • um
  • wow
  • this is a really
  • shitty 
  • list
  • im sorry
  • imagefrom my facebook (also wow this needs to be updated i dont even like good omens

damn im sorry

Anonyme asked:
"What do you think of The Three Musketeers/Dumas?"

never read the three musketeers. only thing by dumas i’ve read is the count of monte cristo (abridged, translated). i was kinda underwhelmed so that venture marked the end of my experimentation w his literary works

count of monte cristo is okay imho i tried to read the unabridged but couldn’t power through

yea!!!! literature!!!!! thanks for the ask anon

Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn’t know yet that her husband was dead. We knew. That’s what gave her such power over us. The doctor took her into a room with a desk at the end of the hall, and from under the closed door a slab of brilliance radiated as if, by some stupendous process, diamonds were being incinerated in there. What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I’ve gone looking for that feeling everywhere.”

Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson

"You got me there. And since I can’t be your wife, I won’t be your whore."

Anonyme asked:
"do you have a goodreads account?"



watching: les revenants
reading: a world of ice and fire
next convention: ctn expo | los angeles
working on:

dreamworks animation intern | ctn expo | currently in los angeles