Like seriously, I spent as much time unraveling terrible sentences as I did translating legalese into either English or math, and there is no universe in which I should be able to truthfully make that statement.
*headdesks ad infinitum*
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A booklist which includes Tropic of Cancer and Little Women:
And some of those are Very Long Important Novels but some of them are quite short, and not even short in the sense of 'compressed and elliptical and dense'.
And some of them are challenging reads on account of subject matter but others, really, not so much I would have thought.
And, generically, quite a mishmash.
But a list that includes Clarissa and Coraline?
Okay, some of those books look like set texts that people had to struggle through and then found worth the journey, but others, presumably, are not the kind of books that feature in lit courses.
And some are even in the category I would have considered rattling airport reads...
Oh dear, another blooper from David Mitchell in this week's Observer New Review.
Or, at least, a classic case of writing about something before reading it properly.
The first was that Cambridge University lecture timetables are being labelled with “trigger warnings” about the plots of various literary works, including The Bacchae and Titus Andronicus. So English literature undergraduates are being protected from the knowledge of, among other things, what one of Shakespeare’s plays is about, in case it upsets them.That is so not what the furore about this that I saw across my bits of social media was: what I saw was the push-back against the elitist assumption that eny fule already no that Titus Andronicus contains murder, rape, mutilation, and involuntary cannibalism (not to mention massive amount of racism).
And trigger-warnings aren't about protecting people from the knowledge that works of art contain disturbing material: they're precisely about letting people who haven't yet encountered them know that they contain material some people may find upsetting. Like the warnings you see at the beginning of a movie, just so you know what you're letting yourself in for.
And I'm really not sure that one can assume general cultural familiarity with one of the less-produced of Shakespeare's plays (the one that suggests that, had he been writing in the 1960s, he'd have been working for Hammer Horror - while some of the early comedies suggest also possibly moonlighting for the Carry On films, but I digress). Okay, there has been a movie version of the play itself, and Theatre of Blood alludes to it in one of the vengeances taken against the critics of the protag. But I doubt it's all that well-known to the individual on the Clapham omnibus.
Deuce of Gears
A cog in the machine. Pawn of powers beyond your control.