Poll Closing Date: Thursday, 28 May 2020 00:00 (in 2 days)
World fiction and genre fiction starting to get rolling...
― Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 23 May 2020 11:39 (two days ago) link
James Wood twenty years ago on Sentimental Education:
So it is not really that Flaubert withdraws from his books to become God, for God does not exist. No, he withdraws only to the place that God would occupy if God existed. This strange, vacated metaphysics is reflected in the fiction. The insistent thrust of Flaubert's fiction is towards nullification. He looks upon his fictional world like an angry God who no longer exists. He lays waste to his people; he is disappointed in them. Henry James, who admired Flaubert, rightly complained that Frédéric, the young hero of Sentimental Education, is an uninteresting blank, and that the novel is thus something of an "empty epic." The only burning question of Sentimental Education is whether Frédéric is going to have sex with his various lovers. Frédéric has no other apparent preoccupation.
Perhaps Flaubert wanted to create a character so foolishly vain and empty that he would wander through Paris during the 1848 revolution and nullify the excitements around him. And that he does; bin then the novel also nullifies them, and rather nullifies itself, despite its many ravishments. (It is certainly a great novel.)
― TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 23 May 2020 11:42 (two days ago) link
Voting for Therese Raquin, not Zola's best, but his only great standalone novel.
― Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 23 May 2020 11:43 (two days ago) link
I'd say Dostoevsky, Alcott, Flaubert and Tolstoy all have a good shot here.
Personally I will cast what is sure to be the lone vote for Júlio Dinís and A Morgadinha Dos Canaviais, a novel of rural life that is like a warm hug to me, and which I managed to love despite living in rural Portugal myself at the time and knowing he was full of shit. I think of his description of a Portuguese christmas dinner on the regular.
If I could vote for two I'd also cast a vote for The Moonstone, fondly remembered Summer reading, crazily entertaining.
― Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 23 May 2020 11:45 (two days ago) link
voted for Our Mutual Friend as I hadn't given Dickens a vote yet. plus having been an English major my classic world lit knowledge is super weak
― dip to dup (rob), Saturday, 23 May 2020 12:33 (two days ago) link
this is brutal
Dostoevsky will suffer from vote splitting ... The Idiot > The Gambler > Crime and Punishment imo
Sentimental Education and Our Mutual Friend are my favorite Flaubert and Dickens novels
the correct answer is probably War and Peace, even though Tolstoy said it wasn't a novel
I voted for Uncle Silas because Sheridan LeFanu rules
― Brad C., Saturday, 23 May 2020 17:20 (two days ago) link
― A White, White Gay (cryptosicko), Saturday, 23 May 2020 17:48 (two days ago) link
Some really strong contenders here. Not ready to vote, yet.
― A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 23 May 2020 18:44 (two days ago) link
Not voting here because there's too many books I haven't read which I can't deny are probably better than the ones I have read.
― Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:02 (yesterday) link
Alice is such a literary unicorn it is impossible to assess it in the same universe as Tolstoy, Flaubert, Dickens, or Dostoevsky. It is as iconic as Shakespeare. But how can one say it is 'greater' than those other pinnacles of literature? If one tries to form objective measures by which they may be compared, Alice still scores amazingly high for popularity, familiarity, imagery, metaphor, quotability, even (yes) serious intent.
I just wish Alice's stans weren't such egregious fanboys and that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson weren't such a damaged and creepy human being. It makes it hard to want to endorse them, even if the book itself is innocent of these heavy faults.
For me, if I don't vote Alice, it will have to be The Idiot. It feels better if I don't reveal which.
― A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:47 (yesterday) link