Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Welcome All Literary Book Blog Hoppers-Dec 9 to Dec 12th

 To me the Literary Book Blog Hop is a great event.    I read and post on mostly classics, short stories, Asian Fiction and what I see as literary novels.   Lately I have been very into the work of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf but I am also reading through the work of Kenzaburo Oe and Junichiro Tanizaki, for example.

I admit sometimes I have felt out of place on events where it seems almost all the other bloggers post on young adult books, paranormal and vampire books.   

Every week the Literary Book Blog asks that participants answer a question-here is the question for this week

What is one of your literary pet peeves?  Is there something that writers do that really sets your teeth on edge?  Be specific, and give examples if you can.

I really  find most attempts by authors to capture the speech patterns of characters from lower economic levels annoying.   For example I recently read Stephen Crane's "Maggie:   Girl of the Streets" and I found I was being distracted from the core experience of the story by the need to figure out what the characters from the streets of New York were saying.      I love her prose but I nearly abandoned  Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South because of all the dialect discourse.   In many cases authors are depicting the speech patterns of people with whom they have no contact.   One exception to this for me recently was the marvelous use of colonial speech patterns in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

Here is an example of what I do find annoying-from The Provost by John Galt

Na, na, gudeman, ye need na be sae mim; every body kens, and I ken too, that ye’re ettling at the magistracy.  It’s as plain as a pikestaff, gudeman, and I’ll no let ye rest if ye dinna mak me a bailie’s wife or a’ be done”—
I was not ill pleased to hear Mrs Pawkie so spiritful; but I replied,
“Dinna try to stretch your arm, gude-wife, further than your sleeve will let you; we maun ca’canny mony a day yet before we think of dignities.

I return all follows from fellow literary book bloggers

Mel u


Anonymous said...

In books like these, it would be nice if the authors would somehow translate the words for those of us not familiar with the lingo/dialect/accents. I agree, Mel.

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

I agree! That made Joseph's speech so difficult to understand in Wuthering Heights!

Anonymous said...

I don't mind a bit of it, but if it is going to make the book too tedious to read, then it can become a problem. I have a pile of Irvine Welsh's books to read for instance, but I keep putting it off because I know it will be a struggle.

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

Why did the Jean Rhys work for you, when the others did not?

With Galt, for example, the dialect writing is an essential part of the art of his novels. The Provost does not exist without the voice of that character.

Red said...

I have the same literary pet peeve! It's so annoying and just takes you out of the story while you try to figure out what the person is saying.

Mel u said...

here is another example-from a short story by Alcott ""We don't think much o' boys daown aour way; they're 'mazin resky stock to fetch up,--alluz breakin' baounds, gittin' intew the paound, and wurry your life aout somehaow 'nother. Gals naow doos waal; I got six o' the likeliest the is goin', every one on 'em is the very moral of Bewlah,--red hair, black eyes, quiet ways, an' a mold side the nose. Baby's ain't growed yet; but I expect tew see it in a consid'able state o' forrardness, when I git hum, an' wouldn't miss it fer the world."

Mel u said...

bookbirddog-very glad you agree

emeire-yes bit is ok

Red-that is one of the reasons I dislike too much dialect-it distracts you

Sarah-yes good point on Wuthering Heights

Amateur Reader-Red articulated part of my reasons-I guess in most cases I am making reading life value decision-is it worth it to read a book partially in dialect that cuts my reading speed way down and in the time I could read the dialect book I could read 2 other works-of course maybe I am sometimes missing out-ok for sure sometimes-I liked the use of dialect in Wide Sargasso Sea because I thought the speech patterns were beautiful and it was not over done-your points are as always well taken

Suko said...

Hoppin' by! I suppose dialect depends on the attitude and the skill of the author. I've vowed to read Wide Sargasso Sea in 2011.

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

Another problem - these dialect passages, dialect novels, are nightmares for translators.

I know Huckleberry Finn has been translated into many languages. I would enjoy reading about the different choices the translators made.

That Alcott passage is pretty bad.

Mel u said...

Amateur Reader-yes for sure dialect must be very difficult for translators-it would be interesting to see, if example, if translators of Huckelberry Finn into Japanese try to somehow recreate the dialect portions or do they just all go for standard college graduate Japanese?-