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Thread: European Authors or Books that were significant to you?

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    European Authors or Books that were significant to you?



    I think that many of us had the experience that some books that you read, specially during your childhood or youth were very memorable or had a significant impact on you.

    Could you mention some of them?

    I personally was still in primary school when I was cautivated by the novels of the French author, Jules Verne...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Verne

    I specially mention:

    Around the World in 80 days.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_...in_Eighty_Days

    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty_..._Under_the_Sea

    From the Earth to the Moon.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_Earth_to_the_Moon


    Later, in Secondary School (= High School) I was trapped again by the novels of Hermann Hesse...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Hesse

    Specially to mention:

    Der Steppenwolf.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steppenwolf_(novel)

    Untem Rad
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_the_Wheel

    Narziss und Goldmund
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_and_Goldmund

    Das Glasperlenspiel.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Glass_Bead_Game

    ... I have no problem in answer that "Glassperlenspiel" is for me the best novel of the 20th century.

    +++++++++++++++++

    I feel that my early mentality was also shaped by these two British authors and their novels

    Rudyard Kipling: "The Jungle Book".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle_Book

    Olaf Stapledon: "Sirius"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaf_Stapledon

    +++++++++++

    Collectively, these books made me the man I currently am.

    (Naturally, I have read other books from some other authors, which were not Europeans... but I don't mention them here).

    What about yourself?

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    I started with The Five, Agatha Christie, then I remember a stolen white elephant, the prince among many others, but Story of O, Lady Chatterley's Lover, I Claudius, Claudius the God and his wife Messalina, Don Quijote de La Mancha, The Art of Love, Crime and punishment, one of my favorite books, The Family of Pascual Duarte, Eloisa is under an almond tree, Aunt Tula and a myriad of wonderful books, now I'm rereading Les Miserables, I floor fans to the author, let books come to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlitos View Post
    I started with The Five, Agatha Christie, then I remember a stolen white elephant, the prince among many others, but Story of O, Lady Chatterley's Lover, I Claudius, Claudius the God and his wife Messalina, Don Quijote de La Mancha, The Art of Love, Crime and punishment, one of my favorite books, The Family of Pascual Duarte, Eloisa is under an almond tree, Aunt Tula and a myriad of wonderful books, now I'm rereading Les Miserables, I floor fans to the author, let books come to me.
    My father was an asiduous reader of Agatha Christie... but I never.

    "Lady Chatterley's Lover" (D.H. Lawrence) was a revelation to me. I think that it showed much more than mere passages of eroticism, but also some strong social critique.

    Now, regarding fine eroticism, I recomend the books of the Cuban-Spanish-French writer Anaïs Nin (e.g. Delta of Venus).

    "The Art of Love" (Erich Fromm) have been in my shelves for decades, and I have not decided to read it yet, I don't know why. I however, appreciated the book of Fernando Savater "Etica para Amador".

    "Don Quijote de la Mancha" I read no more than 5 years ago. Of course, I read a version in "castellano moderno" - de hecho, latinoamericanizado hasta cierto punto. What impressed me most, was the kind of modern style in the prose (not result of the "translation").

    The Biography of Miguel de Cervantes is also very impressive. The most fabulous thing, is that he spent I don't remember if 20 years of his life imprissoned, and he was able to create that extraordinary novel. In fact, he ended definitively the "Middle Ages" in literature, ending the "chivalry genere", an aim that was proposed by the author himself conciously, from the very beginning.

    I have to read it again to fully appreciate some detail.

    Regards.

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    Agatha Christie books I forced myself to read them, do not know why, but it is, only the titles and shook me, such as The twisted House, mentally repeat the title made me shudder. I tried to read a book by Anais Nin, but I could not continue reading, perhaps a code too feminine, as I did with Virginia Woolf, I read the book Waves and I heard nothing. No doubt the life of Miguel de Cervantes is writing a book.

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    Books by Britiish writer, Seven Runciman. A History of the Crusades volumes I, II, and III. And his "other, books.

    Melusine

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    hmm, we had to read lots of stuff at school (in german and english) like the catcher in the rye, die Nibelungen, Goethes Faust, Romeo and Julia, the jungle book, girl against the jungle, Herman Hesse... I also love Agatha Christie and stuff from Charles Bukowski. My favourite book however is written by an American, the physician (german title: Der Medicus) from Noah Gordon.

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    ..and not to forget.. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry :)

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    Chronicle of a Death Foretold, was also a reading of adolescence that I left a trace, also East of Eden also another of my favorite books and The Hive, tremendously impressive.

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    Re: The Little Prince.

    Years ago I found a used book and inside it there was this discription of Antoine de Saint-Exupery: (don't have date of article).

    From Readers digest;

    The Most Unfogettable Character I've Met by Lewis Galantiere pg 174).


    On a penthouse terrace overlooking Central Park in New York in the summer of 1942. Our host was Antoine de Saint-Exupery airline pilot and author. His very looks were unforgettable, he stood six feet one (tall). He had a round close cropped head, bull neck , barrel chest , slim waist. His large protuberant eyes set almost sidewasy in his head, he looked the bird-man he was.

    From front of English translation of the Little Prince there is this drawing and words:

    "I believe that for his escape he took advantage of the migraton of a flock of wild birds"

    ( a drawing with a boy holding multipule strings with birds attached ,instead of balloons lifting the Little Prince aloft.

    Melusine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glückspilz View Post
    My favourite book however is written by an American, the physician (german title: Der Medicus) from Noah Gordon.
    The name Noha Gordon looked familiar, and I checked...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Gordon_(novelist)

    I read a shortened version of "The last Jew" some years ago.

    I liked the novel.

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    Well, now that not European authors have already been mentioned, I guess none will be hurt...

    La Investigación Cientifica (Philosophy of Science ), by Mario Bunge

    An extraordinary book about the Philosophy of Science and how it differs from Pseudoscience, Dogma or Religion. An extraordinary book, however little know even in Spanish-speaking countries.

    Really, a book that make me proud of being Latin American. According to me, never has been explained the concept of "Science" in a so clear and profound way, and a how can it work together with Philosophy in a productive way for both realms.


    ++++++++++++

    Gödel, Escher, Bach... an Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstandter.

    A book full of intuitions about the concepts of "Intelligence" and "Logic". Many people have failed (according to the author) to grasp the real meaning and the profound intuitions of this book. So I will not try myself to describe it.

    The MIT even created a course "Gödel, Escher, Bach"... I guess mostly attended by students of Artificial Intelligence, and here we have an introduction of the course in YouTube, for those interested.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jFhq3Rj6DI (1/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbgSJuFhv9U (2/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj6hP8Ge4zs (3/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSh0XY67CE4 (4/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEKGwl2PBZU (5/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sx_80v0-8JU (6/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbOyGFphnTE (7/7)

    (trully fascinating!!)

    Another book - together with Philosophy of Science - that probably will be legacies to coming centuries.

    Regards.

    P.S.

    Sorry, couldn't stop seeing this course of GEB.... so I share the third class here... (I know that some of you will like it so much, and for others will be just a bit extra text... so no big deal).

    Third Class of the MIT course "GEB"...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxhft2RY8t4 (1/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxlx5Vy0UUU (2/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIMswd72ezE&NR=1 (3/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOPIWgpkP-8&NR=1 (4/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlwig7xSHO4 (5/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKMpLATioWA (6/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd6xEjOf484&NR=1 (7/7)
    Last edited by Sirius2b; 02-03-11 at 04:02.

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    An interesting interview to Mario Bunge...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPmCiFSUvQk (Spanish)

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    I love poetry, so...the works of Montale, Lorca and Pablo Neruda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I love poetry, so...the works of Montale, Lorca and Pablo Neruda.
    Lorca a legend in Spain, I also love Juan Ramón Jiménez, Benedetti and Gioconda Belli.

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    Benedetti was Uruguayan...

    Pablo Neruda was Chilean ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius2b View Post
    Benedetti was Uruguayan...

    Pablo Neruda was Chilean ;)

    Nobody is perfect.

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    Neruda is an honorary Italian in my book!

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    I do have a long list of books that have meant something to me or that I adjudge to have played some role in developing interests I later explored more deeply. I don't think this tiresome list would have much relevance for anyone else.
    A few items from my early literary awakening I will risk sharing: Gilbert Frankau's poem 'How Rifleman Brown Came to Valhalla'; 'The Ghost Ship' by Richard Middleton; 'Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1940'; 'The Golden Wonder Book for Children'.
    An honourable mention must go to two books from the oversize section of my one-time local public library - I borrowed them many times - 'ffoulkes Fanfare' and Charles Adams' 'Monster Rally'. Another flagged item was 'The British Museum Is Falling Down'.
    In my early years on the planet I also discovered in that same library a slim limited edition volume 'Verses of a Fighter Pilot'. This was a collection of F/O Archie Weir's poems collected and published by his mother after he was shot down and killed fighting the facist menace on behalf of all humanity in November 1940. I borrowed this book many times until it was removed from stock. Through the inter-library loan system a seach was made and a copy was located at Mansfield library, and from time to time I continued to requested the loan of this distant copy. Years later I unexpectedly came across the title in the catalogue of a New York aviation bookseller and I bought it.
    I will now cease my ramblings to avoid the trap of self-indulgent nostalgiaizing.

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    Well.. Another good book is..

    Fromm, E. (1942) The Fear of Freedom

    http://www.infed.org/thinkers/fromm.htm

    Erich Fromm was born in Germany, but escaped the Nazi regime to the USA.
    Great thinker and writer.

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    Now that @Reineart mention E. Fromm... I want also mention Thomas Mann... one of those Authors that flee from the Nazis...

    Books like the "The Magic Mountain" and "Dr. Faustus"... really are examples of those books that I think only could have been produced in the turbulent first part of the XX Century...

    (Unfortunately I have only read them "piecewise"... ... but one day I will give myself time to read them from begininng to end.)

    An interesting documentary about the Exile of Thomas Mann...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5TMUdoIMK0

    *

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    Friedrich Nietzsche!

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    Jane Austen - purely epic and highly addictive. A modern female Shakespeare. Pride and Prejudice is one of my most favorite books followed by her Emma... I love the understated heroic protagonist that is so affirmative and aware of herself at any given point of time. Elizabeth and Mr Darcy follow my famous couple competition taking first runner up right after Romeo and Juliet and their tragic love story of a love that was meant to be but not accepted

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    Jules Verne is definitely something (or was, you'd find it boring if you were born in this digital age...), and le Petit Prince is one of these timeless yarns. I am surprised nobody named Charles Dickens. I used to read a lot of Arturo Perez-Reverte, his Alatriste is as good as the columns he used to write in El País. Tartarin de Tarascon from Daudet has a special place on my shelves, as Flaubert's Salambo has, and a lot of the European myths (Irish, germanic, scandinavian,...) as well as lots of folktale books from all corners of the continent. The only living European author I still read is belgian writer Amelie Nothomb, her mastery and usage of the french language has no equal.

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    Not to disparage any of the many other great European authors I've read, but Jules Verne had a big early influence on me. I was also struck deeply by Hasek.

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