Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering?

–I’m neutral to the (deleted) scene of Castle Dracula’s collapse at the end of Dracula. The book ends acceptably enough as it stands. (The reason Stoker gave for cutting it was he didn’t want to invite comparison to Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”, but honestly, unless the Poe estate was getting a buck and a quarter every time someone wrote about a house falling down, that reason it pretty lame. Certainly such considerations never bothered Poe, who was glad to rip off E.T.A. Hoffman and Horace Walpole in order to write, among other things “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Besides, it’s not as if both stories don’t already start with naive protagonists responding to letters calling for help that lead them to lodge in spooky residences haunted by ancient evils. If you’re going to steal, steal shamelessly, I always say.)  But I’ve always preferred the ending where Estella and Pip parted bitterly in Great Expectations’s last chapter (unpublished during Dickens’s lifetime). These and the deleted chapters to eight other famous books here.

–By the way, here’s George Orwell writing about that Dickens ending, and a lot of other stuff about Dickens’s works.

–And here’s Margaret Atwood writing about George Orwell. (I guess I’m now obliged to write about Margaret Atwood, to keep the thread going.)

–I’m not sure if this is the worst possible way to open a column about a sexual assault, but it is pretty damn bad: (from Jezebel)

She lost a womb but gained a penis.

The former was being removed surgically – full hysterectomy – while the latter was forcibly shoved into her slack mouth.

The passage is not only describing a revolting situation per se, but its phrasing is creepy. The first line sounds jokey: a kind of play on the old wedding sentiment “you’ve not lost a daughter but gained a son.” It attempts cleverness without really thinking about what it’s saying. The second line, with its parallel former/latter clauses, is weirdly formal, as if the writer wants us to feel an ironic distance from the woman’s ordeal. The writer’s is more appropriate for a story written from Patrick Bateman‘s point of view than for a nonfiction piece on a woman’s testimony in a rape case.

–My beloved Raiders have hired an offensive coordinator who seems committed to doing things that the players on the roster do well. It’s so crazy it just might work.

–You’ll see Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech a lot this weekend (or clips from it, anyway). But as important and iconic as that speech was, this speech, given four years later, in which King describes the Vietnam War as an “enemy of the poor”, is the one that needs more of a listen, because it speaks to the breadth of King’s concerns.


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