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ITT: Books that changed your life.
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You are currently reading a thread in /lit/ - Literature

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ITT: Books that changed your life.
Pic related
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>>7678948
Anyone have no idea what Whitman's supposed to be about? It's all like, "I jizz over all the trees, the mountains, and glorious rivers, and over my soul, which is not myself, but in all your hearts," and I have no idea what it's supposed to me about.
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>>7678953
>not sure if serious
Well if you're not kidding:
You should start from the very beginning and do your best to understand the message behind each poem. It's more about life being too precious to be concerned with anything else but love and nature. When Walt refers to himself its usually not about him physically. It's about the thing inside all of us that keeps all of us connected: Consciousness.
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Siddhartha tbqhwufam
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>>7678953

leaves of grass is basically an exalted hedonism. just look up american transcendentalism, it will explain a lot.

i did like leaves of grass btw, just doesnt jive with my personal outlook
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That one book written by that famous Austrian painter.
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>>7678975
> just doesnt jive with my personal outlook
why not, Anon?
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>>7678973

Understanding the message behind each poem is kind of hard when I already have no idea what he's even ranting about.

>>7678975
>just look up american transcendentalism,
Okay I'll do that.
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>>7678953
it is heavily influenced by Brahman literature, such as the Upanishads. Thou art that!
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>>7678984
>Understanding the message behind each poem is kind of hard when I already have no idea what he's even ranting about.
That's why I said start from the beginning because if you actually take the time to understand it for yourself you'll see that he outlines the entire purpose of all his work in the first few poems.
Ex: He is alone in his room and a spirit visits him(God). The spirit tells Walt that he will act through him and his songs to share the love of life with everyone.
I'm really paraphrasing it here but yeah don't be lazy and read it with an open mind.
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>>7679001
>in the first few poems.

So I have to read them all in order?
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>>7679006
yea it won't make any sense if you don't.
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>>7678948
Modern Library Plutarch's Lives

Got me into literature, ethics, and reading at a level that was above Dune and Warhammer books.
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>>7679632
Was Plutarch a cat? How many lives did he have?
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>>7678973
>>7679001
>>7679010

Jesus Christ...an Anon who knows what he's talking about? I didn't think I'd live to see the day.

Also, >>7678953, it's important to note that Whitman is one of the only writers to explicitly state he was better than Shakespeare and had the stuff to back it up. People often misunderstand the significance of this because they usually misinterpret or misread one or the other.

Joyce tried to bring the title to Ireland by trying to be a blend of Shakespeare/Chaucer, but he was never able to outdo Whitman, even if he was fantastic in his own way.

And yes, I'm talking about the title of Greatest Writer in the English Language, and there hasn't been another true contender since Joyce.
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>>7679797

You must be joking. I love Whitman, but he cannot begin to contend with the sheer breadth and consistent quality of Shakespeare and Joyce. Whitman has a few masterpieces, truly transcendental works of genius, and quite a lot of useless baggage in his oeuvre. Sure, some of Shakespeare's early stuff is pretty trite, and Joyce's Chamber Music isn't stellar (as he himself admitted even before it was published), but once Shakespeare and Joyce reach a certain maturity, it seems they have the Midas' Touch of art. Whitman, while not less of a genius in his best moments, is a more imperfect genius, and I daresay a narrower one.
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Lyrical Ballads was my gateway to a more literary existence.
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>>7678979
was about to ask if you meant the letters of van gogh (who was Dutch, but thought maybe you were just confuse)
then i realized who you meant
i chuckled briefly
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>>7679797

Afraid I'm going to have to agree with >>7680329
and with Bloom on this one. In the mid-period of Whitman's life, he wrote a loot of shit that could have been done better. Although there is no poem like "Song of Myself", Whitman just isn't as consistently great as Shakespeare. Joyce, perhaps.
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>>7680329
>>7680381

I'm not going to hard argue with either of you because you both have valid opinions. And there was a time in my life that I thought Shakespeare was wholly better than Whitman, and I may return that opinion again in the future.

The only thing I would really disagree with is Joyce's consistency. I think Joyce was the only writer since Whitman and Shakespeare to make a genuine attempt at the title, but I don't think he was as consistent as either of them. In any case, I rank Shakespeare and Whitman at the top. Joyce behind both.
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>>7678948
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'my' life is an empty abstraction.
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this marked the start of my bildungsroman journey

picking up gravity's rainbow was my first step away from childhood and a foundational part of who i am today
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>>7678948
I'm with OP. Song of Myself is phenomenal, possibly the best poem I've ever read. Had that been the only thing he ever published he would still (imo) be one of the greats.
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>>7678948
this is the pdf.

your welcome
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>>7680945
http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Hunger-by-Knut-Hamsun.pdf

woops
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>>7678986
moth eaten moldy Indian literature is probably one of the weakest influences on leaves of grass. It's mainly influenced by the psalms
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>>7680329
>Shakespeare and Joyce.
Let's not pretend that Joyce is on Shakespeare's level, or even near it senpai. Not even close.
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>>7680955
No one is tbeh. But one can argue he's the closest there is.
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>>7680960
>But one can argue he's the closest there is.
One can do many things, but there's no reason to place Joyce's work above that of Pope or Yeats or Melville. And that's just in English.
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>>7680329

Whitman is hella close to Shakes. Shakes wrote a buncha crap too -- Whitman a lot more, sure -- but 10 of Shakes' plays are mediocre, a quarter of the sonnets are mediocre, and another quarter are derivative of some of his better sonnets. I mean that still leaves him with like 70 GOAT sonnets (Sidney is the only real sonnet contender in English really after him) and 17ish Great plays and 10ish GOAT GOAT GOAT ones. Whitman has 5 GOAT GOAT GOAT poems, and about 20 great ones.

I mean, it's always possible to argue for Chaucer, Joyce, Melville, Hawthorne (yes, really), Wordsworth, Pope as being really up there. Milton too though he's more English than he is Universal like those others.
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>>7678948
I fucked Faye Reagan once and she asked me if i'd read Leaves of Grass. I fell in love with her instantly.

I am now officially stalking her in my spare time.

So as you can see, that book changed my life.
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>>7678986
Actually its impossible that Leaves of Grass was influenced by Indian literature, as there is no way Whitman would have come into contact with it.
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>>7681035
>Chaucer, Joyce, Melville, Hawthorne (yes, really), Wordsworth, Pope
But Shakespeare's best parts could fill up an entire book, that can't be said of any of the others. Their rare moments are common in Shakespeare. Moreover, there wouldn't be a Melville or Joyce without Shakespeare
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>>7681051

eah I know I'm trying devil's advocate the best I can and it (rightly) failed

Shakes' only REAL competitors are Homer, Dante, and Chaucer. Whitman is the only one I'd consider adding after. Also I forgot Tolstoy/Dickens in the mix but while both are fantastic I don't think either can make a cut of this calibre
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>>7681059
>Homer, Dante, and Chaucer.
Why Chaucer? I would include Virgil or Milton over him.
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>>7681065

> Virgil

really not a large increase over Homer's true abilities as a philosopher-poet. Homer is so varied, so myth and yet human, that it's easy to say he is the beginning of real literature. Virgil is a very flawed poet who wrote a character far less interesting than Odysseus. Aeneas is neat but dated. Odysseus will never be dated.

> Milton

I would put Blake over him in terms of imaginative power. Satan is to Hamlet or w/e Shakespeare you wish as Aeneas is to Odysseus. More impressive outwardly, but dated, far less really "human", and not Universal. God/Adam/Eve/etc. aren't really even considerations. Milton isn't even close to Shakes or anyone else I listed.

> Chaucer

Wife of Bath alone was the most human character in literature to date at that time other than maybe Dante (the narrator) or Odysseus. Also he was enormously skilled with language far beyond all I listed other than Shakes, consolidated medieval tradition, ridiculed it, humanized it, and reminded everyone to look at ourselves and our faults and our humanness in an era where Dante looked to the skies (and found something just as genius)

I mean I'd love to argue further but I'm copy-pasting the letter "t" over and over again since my "t" key is broken so this is a pain to type. Besides I could argue it out loud for days awake and not be finished with my argument
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>>7681081
Forget an argument, I read Chaucer in the original English a few weeks ago and it just didn't stand out to me. I can see how he's influential, but I simply can't appreciate his art. To me Milton, hell even Spenser, is miles ahead.
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Which version of leaves of grass is best? Been dying to pick up a copy but every time I look there's 2-3 different ones.
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>>7681145

there's no way you can do all the work of reading chaucer properly in middle english and still have that opinion. stop lying on the internet.
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The Outsiders was the first book I read and enjoyed. They made us read it in grade school and it was got me into reading.
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>>7681047
Deathbed edition is certainly influenced by Indian concepts. First edition certainly not.

>>7678953
Hey if you're still here make sure you:
- Start by reading Whitman's first 1855 edition
- Fully read his prose introduction
- Read the entire work from beginning to end (it is very short don't worry).

You will still have trouble understanding 100% of it but just enjoy the poetry and keep reading. The larger spiritual ideas will be very clear if you read it all.
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>>7681059

>Dickens mentioned among Shakespeare, Homer, Dante, Chaucer, Whitman, and Tolstoy.
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>>7681081
which Blake do you recommend reading? The Four Zoas seems to be his best work...
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>>7681206
exactly my thoughts lel
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>>7681046
I believe you
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>>7680664
IS THIS WORTH LISTENING TO ON AUDIO
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>>7678948
Leaves of Grass is great. I normally hate poetry and verse, but this shit is just wonderful.
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>>7678974
I agree
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>>7678948
Thus spoke Zarathustra
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Life is unchanging.
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>>7680945
i reckon its quite heartwarming, but how it changes your life?
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>>7681162
the original 1855 edition is essential. Then I would read the deathbed edition, which reworks some of the original poems and adds a significant amount of additional material. You can find compilations that have both the original the deathbed editions.
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>>7681275
NO
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>>7681051
>there wouldn't be a Melville or Joyce without Shakespeare
There wouldn't be humans without monkeys. Monkeys are therefor better than humans
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>>7681046
How was the sex?
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>>7682747
embarrassing. I couldn't perform
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>>7681046
>I fucked Faye Reagan once
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How does it feel to know that your best poet was not even English?
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>>7681059
>>7681035
>>7680329
>>7679797
>>7680421

>no mention of Cervantes
Don can stand with Hamlet and Odysseus imo.
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>>7682737
Low tier analogy
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>>7684128
Lol no, fuck off spic
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>>7678953
Whitman is part of the post-Romantic effort to preserve the Particular in the face of a voracious Modernity condensing the world pursuant to the Universal.
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Yukio Mishima's Patriotism.
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>>7684595
that sounds ominous
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>>7684595
Me too. It made me think life of in a pessimistic way and hence i was happier.
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>>7685549
*of life
need coffee
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