Thursday, November 11, 2010

Literary Blog Hop: Nov 11-14

Welcome to this week's Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

This blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion. If your blog does not fit this description, it may be removed from the Linky List. 

How do I know if my blog qualifies as "literary"? Literature has many definitions, but for our purposes your blog qualifies as "literary" if it focuses primarily on texts with aesthetic merit. In other words, texts that show quality not only in narrative but also in the effect of their language and structure. YA literature may fit into this category, but if your blog focuses primarily on non-literary YA, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, or chick lit, you may prefer to join the blog hop at Crazy-for-books that is open to book blogs of all genres.

Instructions for entering the Literary Blog Hop:

1. Grab the code for the Button.

Literary Blog Hop
2. Answer the following prompt on your blog:

This week's question comes from Debbie Nance at Readerbuzz
What is the most difficult literary work you've ever read? What made it so difficult?

(Suggestions for future prompts? Email them to us at

Our answer this week comes from Ingrid:

The most difficult literary work I've ever read was probably Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann. The reason that this book was so difficult is primarily because it has five "themes" going on at once. The first is the surface story, which is about a German composer named Adrian Leverk├╝hn who contracts syphilus on purpose in order to fuel his creativity and write his greatest piece of music. This story parallels the traditional German Faust legend, with Adrian as the Faust figure, as he makes a sort of "pact" with the devil in that he gives himself over to the disease to be able to become a better composer. Adrian's story also runs parallel to the life of the notoriously anti-Christian philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche down to the smallest details. The story also contains important references to music theory, mentioning certain notes at key points in the story that all work together to create a resonant "chord." Lastly, this novel also acts as a metaphor commenting on the politics in Germany leading up to World War Two, essentially suggesting that Germany is also making a pact with a "devil." Besides the surface narrative itself, these other themes are veiled and not mentioned directly. Readers would miss out on this novel's incredible amplitude and depth of its message without recognizing the allusions and understanding the significant relationship between traditional German folklore, Friedrich Nietzsche, music theory, and pre-World War Two Germany. Luckily, I read this book in a class was able to study it in depth ... otherwise I certainly would not have appreciated the absolute genius that is Thomas Mann. This book also contains the most powerful and resonant last line I have probably ever read. So there you go, the most difficult literary work I have ever read!

3. Put your link and the name of your blog in the Mr. Linky below. 

4. Visit the blogs in the list and leave a comment. Thanks for participating!