LET’S TALK ABOUT LITERATURE

So this is my last text like that here and I decided to dedicate it to my one of my big passions, namely to the literature. This was also one of the reasons why I decided to study French Language and Literature in the University of Tartu. These were the best years of my life! I really enjoyed being a student. Now, after I’ve graduated, I try to continue using critical thinking while reading books, without loosing the ability to enjoy the story.

I’ve read a lot of books in my life and some novels have left a deep impression on me. So this time I’ve decided to talk about some of my favourite books and/or writers.

Firstly, one of my absolute favourite authors is Sir Terry Pratchett. I love his Discworld series (Serie del Mondo Disco). All the activities take place on a flat, circular, disc-shaped world which sits on the back of four big elephants, which in their turn stand on the carapace of a giant turtle. Some popular characters who appear in different books, are for example gods, a failed wizard and the DEATH.

I really like his writing style. Pratchett’s books are very funny and enjoyable to read, especially because he treats in a comical and satirical way real world issues and problems. You can also find references about different religions. For example the characters called The Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse are described in the last book of the New Testament (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). Also, The myth of a giant turtle/tortoise supporting the world occurs in Hindu, in Chinese and in Native American mythology.

My another favourite book from Russian literature is “The Master and Margarita” (Il maestro e Margherita) by Mikhail Bulgakov. He imagines very well the Russian/Soviet society of that time. At first sight, the text seemed too weird and confusing to me. But the more I read the more interesting it seemed. Finally I got used to the characters like the giant talking cat and the devil Woland, who had come to Moscow, and all the weird things that happen. This book has been considered as one of the best novels of the 20th century. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend reading it for those who haven’t done it yet.

The next book series doesn’t need a long introduction, I guess. I really like “Harry Potter by British author J. K. Rowling. In my mind, it’s absolutely amazing how she has described all the characters, all the places and all the mystical events.

A German-speaking Bohemian author who I quite like is Franz Kafka. I have read his books called “The Castle” (Il castello) and “The Trial” (Il processo). At the beginning, his writing style seemed very weird and it was very hard to understand what he wanted to say. While analysing the text a bit more closely, I found the books actually quite interesting. The main characters of both of the books have to deal with ignorance. There are events and circumstances that don’t depend on them.

In “The Trial”, the main character called Josef K. is unexpectedly arrested one morning. Nobody never explains him what he had done wrong (if he had done anything wrong at all), he only has to go to the court. Even the lawyer doesn’t seem to have any intention to help Josef K.

In “The Castle”, the main character is called simply K. He arrives to a village where he should have had a job. it’s impossible to speak to an official named Klamm. K tries to go to the castle to ask for any information, but he fails.

Another great book that I enjoyed a lot is “The picture of Dorian Gray” (Il ritratto di Dorian Gray) by Oscar Wilde. It’s a great story about double life, supernatural events that reflect the reality. In Gothic fiction, that this book also represents, the paintings have often a sinister role. In this book, Dorian Gray stays young and beautiful while the painting of him becomes more and more ugly and finally it’s so disgusting for Dorian himself that he hides it. Although “The Picture of Dorian Gray” might be a bit terrifying, I believe it’s still worth reading.

Concerning Italian literature, I really love “The Divine Comedy” (La Comedìa/Divina Commedia) by Dante Alighieri. I have read only the first part (Inferno). Other two parts include Purgatorio and Paradiso. It’s a poem where ‘sweet new style’ (Dolce Stil Novo) was used for the first time. It represents the vision of the afterlife through the medieval world-view that had been developed by the 14th century in the Western Church. In teh forst part, the main character travels with Virgil throught the underworld.

Another book from the Russian literature that I really like is “The Idiot” (L’idiota) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I should read it more attentively myself, but I still believe it’s a great book. It’s a story about social issues and norms in Russia that cause a lot of problems for the main character called Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin who has returned to his homeland from abroad and who is not able to integrate to this society any more.

As last recommendations, I decided to choose something also from the French literature. The first book, that is quite difficult to read, but that is still an amazing piece of work, is “Nausea” (La nausea) by Jean-Paul Sartre. The protagonist, Antoine Roquentin, tries to finish one of his researches, but he often feels that the world is weird and absurd that evokes him a sense of nausea. The only way how he can deal with it, is music. Sartre’s philosophical approach and existentialist concept makes it a bit difficult to read, but it’s still very interesting novel.

And the final one… I’m a huge fan of Molière, a 17th century playwright, actor and poet. Strongly influenced by italian commedia dell’arte, his comedies treat social issues in a satirical way. Although commedia dell’arte was based on improvisation, Molière’s early comedies were based on its scenarios, but with scripted dialogue and not improvised. Some of his plays I really like are: “The Imaginary Invalid” (Il malato immaginario), “Tartuffe”/“The Impostor”/“The Hypocrite” (Il Tartuffo), “The Ridiculous Précieuses”/”The Affected Ladies” (Le preziose ridicole).

A French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist René Descartes has said: “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.” In my mind, reading is fun, educative and a perfect leisure time activity. So I would like to invite everyone to read books and to think about what the writers have to say.

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