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Author Topic: The Literature Thread  (Read 1123 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: March 08, 2013, 02:01:34 AM »

A thread for discussion of texts in a bit more depth than the "What are you reading?" thread. Discuss books, debate, compare translations, give many reviews, discuss authors, etc.
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 02:25:14 AM »

I posted this elsewhere, but I thought it would be appropriate for this thread. I know I will leave something out, so I may chime in later with a few more. But off the top of my head, here are a few of my favorites:


Orthodox Literature

The Way of A Pilgrim

The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church  by Archbishop Yesehaq

The Life of St. Anthony by St. Athanasius

Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works by Hiermonk Damascene

The Gurus, The Young Man, and Elder Paisios by Dionysios Farasiotis

Comparative Theology by H.H. Pope Shenouda III

The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos Markides

Confessions by Blessed Augustine




Nonfiction

The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy

Why We Can't Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Attack Upon Christendom by Soren Kierkegaard

Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin

The Dark Sacrament by David Kiely and Christina Mckenna

Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

Duende: A Journey in Search of Flamenco by David Webster

Rasta Heart: A Journey into One Love by Robert Roskind

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties by Mike Marqusee

Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman




Biography / Autobiography

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thoman Merton

The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

Catch a Fire by Timothy White

Radical Son by David Horrowitz

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz) and Alex Haley

Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Autobiograpy: The Storey of My Experiments With Truth by Mohandas K. Gandhi

Ready for Revolution by Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael)
  
Raven: The Untold Storey of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People's Temple by Tim Reiterman

Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis




Sports

The Courting of Marcus DuPree by Willie Morris

Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Houser

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Season on The Brink by John Feinstein

The Fab Five by Mitch Albom



Fiction

Everything written by Earnest Hemmingway

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


(I obviously need to read more fiction.)



Selam
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2013, 01:01:01 AM »

On my list of Russian authors to read...

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Leo Tolstoy
Anton Chekhov
Nikolai Gogol
Vladimir Nabokov
Ivan Turgenev
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Alexander Pushkin
Maxim Gorky

Who can I add to this list? (preferrably something that I can get through interlibrary loan, but at a minimum something that's been translated into English)
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 04:26:43 AM »

On my list of Russian authors to read...

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Leo Tolstoy
Anton Chekhov
Nikolai Gogol
Vladimir Nabokov
Ivan Turgenev
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Alexander Pushkin
Maxim Gorky

Who can I add to this list? (preferrably something that I can get through interlibrary loan, but at a minimum something that's been translated into English)
Haha good old Nabokov.

Hey read this thread:

Nabokov on Dostoevsky (And Tolstoy)
http://www.online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?24521-Nabokov-on-Dostoevsky-%28And-Tolstoy%29
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2013, 07:32:23 AM »

Everything written by Earnest Hemmingway
That's interesting. Only read The Old Man and the Sea.
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2013, 07:39:37 AM »

On my list of Russian authors to read...

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Leo Tolstoy
Anton Chekhov
Nikolai Gogol
Vladimir Nabokov
Ivan Turgenev
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Alexander Pushkin
Maxim Gorky

Who can I add to this list? (preferrably something that I can get through interlibrary loan, but at a minimum something that's been translated into English)

Mikhail Bulgakov
Alexander Kuprin
Boris Pasternak
Fyodor Sologub
Irene Nemirovsky (by extension)
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2013, 09:25:58 AM »

A question:  Under the "Literature" category does that include books that some call "Genre Fiction"?  I ask because there are some books in, for example, Science Fiction or Mysteries, that are classics in their own right or that address such things as ethics or human behaviour.

I'll just go against the current of Russian authors (which I have nothing against I assure you) and mention

Beowulf which is available in a number of translations.  The Seamus Heaney one is rather good, I think, but there are others 
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2013, 01:31:43 PM »

I've recently read The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus. The book is really strange at times but the overall story is quite good. Also Plutarch's Parallel Lives are a must read. I really liked Demosthenes, Cicero, Aristeides and Alexander.
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2013, 01:57:35 PM »

I'm listening to Moby Dick on audiobook. I'm about 2/3 of the way through now. I had read it in abridged form in high school and I'm still not sure how I feel about abridging the book. Granted, Melville can be quite the windbag; sometimes I find his discussions of the practical or metaphysical points of whaling tedious, but sometimes fascinating and occasionally hilarious, and the abridgers seem to chuck the baby out with the bathwater. I think, bloated and rambling as it can be, it's a wonderful rich book.
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2013, 05:53:27 PM »

Can anyone recommend some good fiction? I don't read much fiction. I'd like to read some fiction that has good philosophy or Christian themes. But I'll be honest and tell you up front that I don't like laborious reading. For example, while I loved both "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Don Quixote", I really felt like those books could have been half as long without losing much. It seemed like it would take ten pages before something really profound was said. But those profound parts kept me reading through to the end. But it was a lot of work in between. That's what I liked about Hemmingway. I didn't agree with his worldview at all, but his writing is so simple and easy to read. I liked Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" very much too. I found that to be very readable. I've thought about trying Dickens again. "A Christmas Carol" is a work of genius. I may try "A Tale of Two Cities" again. Years ago I started it but couldn't get into it. So basically I need y'all to recommend some classic fiction for a simple minded man.  Embarrassed



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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 06:02:15 PM »

On my list of Russian authors to read...

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Leo Tolstoy
Anton Chekhov
Nikolai Gogol
Vladimir Nabokov
Ivan Turgenev
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Alexander Pushkin
Maxim Gorky

Who can I add to this list? (preferrably something that I can get through interlibrary loan, but at a minimum something that's been translated into English)
Haha good old Nabokov.

Hey read this thread:

Nabokov on Dostoevsky (And Tolstoy)
http://www.online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?24521-Nabokov-on-Dostoevsky-%28And-Tolstoy%29


That was interesting. Although it seems clear that Nabokov has a philosophical bias against Dostoevsky that probably clouds his objectivity. But I agree that Tolstoy is much more readable. I love Tosltoy's short stories. Beautiful stuff.

I try to judge art on the aesthetic merits without allowing my disagreement with the philosophy to impede my admiration for the beauty. Hemmingway and I are light years apart in how we see the world, but I love how he expressed his worldview. Of course, with some artists the message is so vile that it completely negates any aesthetic merits that may be present. That's just my opinion.



Selam
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2013, 01:01:29 AM »

On my list of Russian authors to read...

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Leo Tolstoy
Anton Chekhov
Nikolai Gogol
Vladimir Nabokov
Ivan Turgenev
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Alexander Pushkin
Maxim Gorky

Who can I add to this list? (preferrably something that I can get through interlibrary loan, but at a minimum something that's been translated into English)

BUNIN!!!! Gentleman from San Francisco (a short story) or Cursed Days (this one is a diary of the Revolution).

And Bulgakov, The White Guard or Heart of a Dog, both great. The second especially if you're looking for humor. His Master and Margarita is also considered a classic but I haven't read it yet.
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 01:18:10 AM »

Can anyone recommend some good fiction? I don't read much fiction. I'd like to read some fiction that has good philosophy or Christian themes. But I'll be honest and tell you up front that I don't like laborious reading. For example, while I loved both "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Don Quixote", I really felt like those books could have been half as long without losing much. It seemed like it would take ten pages before something really profound was said. But those profound parts kept me reading through to the end. But it was a lot of work in between. That's what I liked about Hemmingway. I didn't agree with his worldview at all, but his writing is so simple and easy to read. I liked Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" very much too. I found that to be very readable. I've thought about trying Dickens again. "A Christmas Carol" is a work of genius. I may try "A Tale of Two Cities" again. Years ago I started it but couldn't get into it. So basically I need y'all to recommend some classic fiction for a simple minded man.  Embarrassed

If you're looking for a novel with overtly Christian themes, I'd recommend the 1896 Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (so-titled after an apocryphal story in which St. Peter is fleeing Rome to escape persecution, only to have Jesus appear before him. He asks, "Quo Vadis, Domine?"-Where are you going, Lord?, to which Christ replies, "I'm going to Rome to be crucified in your place." Peter returns and is crucified by Nero). The book itself is less about this story than the tribulations of the early Christians, the decay and debauchery of the pagan Roman aristocracy, and a pair of lovers caught in the middle of it all.

For other classic fiction, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books are enjoyable, and I don't just mean the Sherlock Holmes series, but others such as The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard (about the extravagant exploits of a French officer during the Napoleonic Wars) or The White Company (about a company of mercenaries during the Middle Ages). Doyle considered this second novel his finest work.
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 01:41:24 AM »

Can anyone recommend some good fiction? I don't read much fiction. I'd like to read some fiction that has good philosophy or Christian themes. But I'll be honest and tell you up front that I don't like laborious reading. For example, while I loved both "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Don Quixote", I really felt like those books could have been half as long without losing much. It seemed like it would take ten pages before something really profound was said. But those profound parts kept me reading through to the end. But it was a lot of work in between. That's what I liked about Hemmingway. I didn't agree with his worldview at all, but his writing is so simple and easy to read. I liked Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" very much too. I found that to be very readable. I've thought about trying Dickens again. "A Christmas Carol" is a work of genius. I may try "A Tale of Two Cities" again. Years ago I started it but couldn't get into it. So basically I need y'all to recommend some classic fiction for a simple minded man.  Embarrassed

If you're looking for a novel with overtly Christian themes, I'd recommend the 1896 Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (so-titled after an apocryphal story in which St. Peter is fleeing Rome to escape persecution, only to have Jesus appear before him. He asks, "Quo Vadis, Domine?"-Where are you going, Lord?, to which Christ replies, "I'm going to Rome to be crucified in your place." Peter returns and is crucified by Nero). The book itself is less about this story than the tribulations of the early Christians, the decay and debauchery of the pagan Roman aristocracy, and a pair of lovers caught in the middle of it all.

For other classic fiction, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books are enjoyable, and I don't just mean the Sherlock Holmes series, but others such as The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard (about the extravagant exploits of a French officer during the Napoleonic Wars) or The White Company (about a company of mercenaries during the Middle Ages). Doyle considered this second novel his finest work.

Thanks NightOwl!



Selam
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2013, 03:35:52 AM »

Can anyone recommend any good Modernist fiction that deals with philsophical themes? I normally don't read fiction because, well, let's face it, I find it very boring and monotonous. I mostly just read non-fiction like history books, religious books and good old Nietzsche.
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2013, 03:39:15 AM »

Can anyone recommend any good Modernist fiction that deals with philsophical themes? I normally don't read fiction because, well, let's face it, I find it very boring and monotonous. I mostly just read non-fiction like history books, religious books and good old Nietzsche.

Franz Kafka's The Trial is the quintessential 20th century philosophical novel dealing with mankind's transition into modernity. IMHO. Orson Welles also made a great film adaptation of it which I might like even more than the book.

The prologue:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlKEybkVl0M
The trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCe98XTl-qw
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2013, 04:31:23 AM »

Can anyone recommend any good Modernist fiction that deals with philsophical themes? I normally don't read fiction because, well, let's face it, I find it very boring and monotonous. I mostly just read non-fiction like history books, religious books and good old Nietzsche.

I enjoyed "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley and "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. I read them both when I was about your age. "Brave New World" was quite prophetic.

Selam
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2013, 08:07:57 AM »

Can anyone recommend any good Modernist fiction that deals with philsophical themes? I normally don't read fiction because, well, let's face it, I find it very boring and monotonous. I mostly just read non-fiction like history books, religious books and good old Nietzsche.

It's not quite Modernist, but I think you might really dig Lautreamont's Les Chants De Maldoror.It is definitely one of the weirder, more frightening books ever written, and was a huge inspiration to the surrealists. You can get some taste for the book from the excerpts found here
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2013, 10:31:05 PM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2013, 10:33:39 PM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.

It always has been. Even before the advent of fire, no not that kindle thing from amazon.
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2013, 10:36:04 PM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.

It always has been. Even before the advent of fire, no not that kindle thing from amazon.

Actually it's a relatively recent phenomenon if we're talking about the written word; John Milton was allegedly the last to read every published book in existence during his lifetime.
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2013, 10:40:58 PM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.

It always has been. Even before the advent of fire, no not that kindle thing from amazon.

Actually it's a relatively recent phenomenon if we're talking about the written word; John Milton was allegedly the last to read every published book in existence during his lifetime.

OK.
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2013, 10:44:54 PM »

I read the Song of Songs last night.
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2013, 01:00:20 AM »

I've recently read The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus. The book is really strange at times but the overall story is quite good.
I was just reading an excerpt from this the other day (the segment where Apollonius dispelled all of the vampire's illusions). It certainly seems like a fascinating account, but my reading queue is quite booked (I might be able to pick it up in a month or so).
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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2013, 10:59:17 AM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.

It always has been. Even before the advent of fire, no not that kindle thing from amazon.

Actually it's a relatively recent phenomenon if we're talking about the written word; John Milton was allegedly the last to read every published book in existence during his lifetime.

Genius that he was, I'm pretty sure Milton didn't have a command of Sanskrit or classical Chinese.
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2013, 11:11:49 AM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.

It always has been. Even before the advent of fire, no not that kindle thing from amazon.

Actually it's a relatively recent phenomenon if we're talking about the written word; John Milton was allegedly the last to read every published book in existence during his lifetime.

Genius that he was, I'm pretty sure Milton didn't have a command of Sanskrit or classical Chinese.

According to a Google search he knew ten languages. In any case I'm sure Sinologists and scholars of Hinduism had made significant headway into the translation of prominent texts by the 17th century-by that point there had been contact between East and West for centuries.
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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2013, 11:52:48 AM »

It's really depressing to me that of the ~129 million books in existence, it's only possible to read at most a few thousand in a lifetime. We've reached a point where the full expanse of human knowledge and insight is far beyond the reach of any single individual.

It always has been. Even before the advent of fire, no not that kindle thing from amazon.

Actually it's a relatively recent phenomenon if we're talking about the written word; John Milton was allegedly the last to read every published book in existence during his lifetime.

Genius that he was, I'm pretty sure Milton didn't have a command of Sanskrit or classical Chinese.

According to a Google search he knew ten languages. In any case I'm sure Sinologists and scholars of Hinduism had made significant headway into the translation of prominent texts by the 17th century-by that point there had been contact between East and West for centuries.
Well, I am no expert on the history of orientalism, but I do know that the Bhagavad Gita wasn't translated into English until the 18th century and the Upanishads [or what was available] in the 19th century. I could be mistaken, but I do not believe there were any translations into a European language prior to this.

But even if he was capable of reading such works in the original format, acquiring them would have been extraordinarily difficult (especially the Japanese ones, seeing as the country was, at the time, sealed off from the west with very few exceptions).

Perhaps it would be accurate to say that Milton had read every book ever printed on an English (or European) press.

Of course, bear in mind that a vast expanse of knowledge is esoteric and certainly never published.
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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2013, 12:00:52 PM »

According to a Google search he knew ten languages. In any case I'm sure Sinologists and scholars of Hinduism had made significant headway into the translation of prominent texts by the 17th century-by that point there had been contact between East and West for centuries.

Actually, no - Jesuit missionaries Heinrich Roth and J.E. Hanxleden who lived in the 17th century only penned the first European grammars and a lexicon of Sanskrit. But no significant translations until a couple of centuries later. 

I don't know about Chinese, but - given its non-Indo-European nature - I imagine it must have taken even longer. 

« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 12:02:37 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2013, 12:06:56 PM »

Okay, if you want I'll modify my earlier post to "every published book in Western circulation." Happy?
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2013, 12:45:19 PM »

Okay, if you want I'll modify my earlier post to "every published book in Western circulation." Happy?

We'll pick at nits till nothing is left!
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Cyrillic
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« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2013, 02:21:07 PM »

I've recently read The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus. The book is really strange at times but the overall story is quite good.
I was just reading an excerpt from this the other day (the segment where Apollonius dispelled all of the vampire's illusions). It certainly seems like a fascinating account, but my reading queue is quite booked (I might be able to pick it up in a month or so).

It's quite popular with theosophists. I think you'll enjoy it immensely. I know I did. Conybeare's translation is available for free on archive.org.
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« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2013, 02:23:58 PM »

I've recently read The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus. The book is really strange at times but the overall story is quite good.
I was just reading an excerpt from this the other day (the segment where Apollonius dispelled all of the vampire's illusions). It certainly seems like a fascinating account, but my reading queue is quite booked (I might be able to pick it up in a month or so).

It's quite popular with theosophists. I think you'll enjoy it immensely. I know I did. Conybeare's translation is available for free on archive.org.

Talk about niche marketing . . .
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« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2013, 02:26:14 PM »

I've recently read The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus. The book is really strange at times but the overall story is quite good.
I was just reading an excerpt from this the other day (the segment where Apollonius dispelled all of the vampire's illusions). It certainly seems like a fascinating account, but my reading queue is quite booked (I might be able to pick it up in a month or so).

It's quite popular with theosophists. I think you'll enjoy it immensely. I know I did. Conybeare's translation is available for free on archive.org.

Talk about niche marketing . . .

I don't think Philostratus wrote it in the third century with them in mind.
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"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2013, 02:27:44 PM »

"Brave New World" was quite prophetic.


Interesting. One of my friends said the same today.
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"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2013, 02:30:36 AM »

I've recently read The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus. The book is really strange at times but the overall story is quite good.
I was just reading an excerpt from this the other day (the segment where Apollonius dispelled all of the vampire's illusions). It certainly seems like a fascinating account, but my reading queue is quite booked (I might be able to pick it up in a month or so).

It's quite popular with theosophists. I think you'll enjoy it immensely. I know I did. Conybeare's translation is available for free on archive.org.

Talk about niche marketing . . .
LOL, you guys...

But yes, Cyrillic, it certainly is (to be honest, I had never heard of him until HPB mentioned it).

Thank you for the site.
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« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2013, 08:14:40 PM »

 From the public library, I checked out Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time / Joseph Frank.  It is the one volume abridged edition, as Joseph Frank actually wrote a 5 volume set about Dostoevsky. I am reading the 1 volume edition because I did not want to spend 10 years reading about the author before reading any more of his works, but even the 1 volume abridged edition is 900+ pages long.  I read the first 1/4 of it and it will still take me a few weeks to get the rest in.    I am appalled that Dostoevsky was sent into exile and amazed that he survived it.  Of course, a lot of authors were getting sent into exile those days. :police
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