Monday, May 1, 2023

Books finished in April 2023

 I continue the practice of posting a list as a substitute for real writing.

Coming soon: a long overdue loot at Seneca's plays, a glance at Gide's Counterfeiters, and some messing around with Plato's Republic.

If I did not write in April, I at least read:


The Republic




Critias, 4th C. BCE, Plato

Classical Philosophy, 2014, Peter Adamson


The Storm and Other Poems, 1956, Eugenio Montale

Sicilian Uncles, 1958, Leonardo Sciascia

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, 1962, Giorgio Bassani

Midnight in Sicily, 1996, Peter Robb - many thanks to those who recommended this book. The big surprise was the literary criticism, outstanding chapters on The Leopard and the place of Sciascia in Sicilian politics and culture.


Kristin Lavransdatter: The Cross, 1922, Sigrid Undset

Surfeit of Lampreys, 1940, Ngaio Marsh

A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947, Tennessee Williams



When I Sleep, Then I See Clearly: Selected Poems, 1917-85, J. V. Foix

As for Love: Poems and Translations, 1987, M. L. Rosenthal - contains some good Foix translations

Complete Poems, 1934-44, Keith Douglas - the curse of the war poet

Transport to Summer, 1947, Wallace Stevens

This Afterlife: Selected Poems, 2022, A. E. Stallings - a major work

Meet Me at the Lighthouse, 2023, Dana Gioia



La Légende des siècles (Première Série), 1859, Victor Hugo

A Nova Califórnia e Outros Contos, 1910-22, Lima Barreto - a second-rate Machado de Assis, which is not a bad thing to be. Perfect for the language learner.



  1. Looks like you have Sicily in mind? Unless Finzi-Contini is not the outlier. In any case, enjoy.

    Roman plays don't seem to have been especially popular. (Well.) Still, I'm looking forward to Seneca. Then we can jump straight to Roswitha.

  2. Naples and Palermo. So Bassani and Montale are just somehow in the cultural sphere or something. The Primo Levi novel I am reading now is not even set in Italy. It does not even have Italian characters. But it is Italian literature.

    How is Roswitha? I have not read her. I vaguely wondered if anyone would want to continue on to Roswitha and the York mystery plays and so on. I am too ignorant to put this readalong together myself, but I would join in if someone else did it.

    1. I'm hardly an expert but we did do Dulcitius in Latin when I was an undergraduate. She played well, I thought, with drama enough, though the message--go to your great reward rather than lose your virginity--is perhaps (?) a bit dated now...

  3. Was A Streetcar Named Desire a revisit or your first reading? I love the film.

  4. A revisit, but I last read it in the summer of 1988 when I first got serious about American literature, so it has been a long long time. I do not remember when I saw the Kazan movie. Also a long time ago.

  5. I have long been meaning to read Kristin Lavransdattir. Will I be disappointed? In other words, were you?

  6. I was not disappointed. Even the less interesting parts of the novels pay off. I think you would like them. I will warn you that when Kristin is a teenager, she is a real teenager, meaning she is annoying. I wrote about that a bit with help from Dion. I wrote about the second volume here.

    1. Thank you for such a complete response, Tom. Teenagers and annoying…that goes without saying. No one could annoy me as much as Briony in Ian McEwan’s Atonement, though, so I will venture forth with Kristin.

  7. Hello, what a nice variety of books!
    Have a great trip to Sicily. I hope you plan on visiting Villa Casale, it's stunning.
    For entertainment, check out books by Andrea Camilleri, his sense of place is wonderful. Eldorado by Laurent Gaudé is also worth reading.

  8. It's been ages since I read Camilleri. I always enjoyed him just for the sense of place, as you say, even if the story was one of the weaker ones (there were stronger, and there were weaker).

    Would you believe our library has the Gaudé novel in French? Definitely reading that - thanks!