Options, options

"What do you think is the meaning of true happiness?" Calvin asks Hobbes. "Is it money, cars and women? Or is it just money and cars?"

It’s hard to believe Calvin and Hobbes signed off ten years ago.

Tolstoy wrote War and Peace over a hundred and fifty years ago, but it remains "so various and so new," to misappropriate Matthew Arnold. A review in the Guardian offers a startlingly fresh perspective on this "loose baggy monster" of a novel:

… everything in this novel is small. Because War and Peace is a great novel not because Tolstoy’s characters worry about God and death and nations, but because they make up weird words. Its subject is not grandiose: it is chance. And the only way to show this is minutely. Tolstoy is the greatest miniaturist in the history of the novel.

A couple of links for Sunday reading, albeit over a day late.



Filed under Notes on Readings, Readings in Media

5 responses to “Options, options

  1. Hi. I agree fully about Tolstoy. It sometimes amazes me that his works were publish more than a century ago, but the style and eruditeness remains incomparable to this day…

  2. I learned to read him in earnest many years after college, which was probably a good thing, because in those days, at least in the circles I orbited, the omniscient third-person narrator (and thus by extension the 19th century novel) was met with almost hostile suspicion.

  3. Hallo Mr. D,
    It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know I still haven’t gotten to read Tolstoy “in earnest” or in anything, for that matter. But I sure loved my daily Calvin & Hobbes. 🙂

  4. Hey, G. Calvin and Hobbes WAS the best. (I like Doonesbury a lot, it is incredibly funny, but perhaps because it’s so topical it won’t be as timeless as C & H?)

    Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d end up liking Anna Karenina. I suppose it is the nearest thing to a perfect work, but don’t let these superlatives get in the way. That Guardian review got it right; Tolstoy works small, revelling in the tiniest details.

  5. I have long wondered what the longevity of Calvin and Hobbes would be – could it become a Tolstoy of comic strips? Societies sense of humour changes over time, yet to me, the humour in Calvin and Hobbes is almost timeless. The jokes are based around what kids think (consciously and unconsciously) which I would imagine has the best chance of standing the test of time.

    The fact that there are so many Calvin fan sites out there even 10 years after the strip stopped is pretty impressive.

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