the Werepoet's Tolstoy

I have a feeling the werepoet is growing weary of her long posts about War and Peace. Well, this is too bad. Winn has a rare talent for not only cutting a plot down to its elements (something I am always trying to do as a reviewer), but rebuilding it as a comic tour de force. How terrible to subject my hero Tolstoy to such fine sacrilege! yes - sometimes Winn shivers my timbers, especially when she casts an evil eye on Tolstoy’s regrettably sexist lapses. But the werepoet is no snark meister – like certain NY writers – for instance, Matthew Sharp, in Jamestown – Winn has the ability to merge spleen and an oddly innocent humor. I believe this is the temperament of our era – we (Americans at least) all have this odd combination of imperial experience and disappointed expectation, it creeps into the way we talk, the way we pre-load failure into our hopes. The way, in essence, we try to trick our own naivete. It is another transmutation of irony - and I'm not speaking of post modernism here, that bugger all phrase for failed exercises in wit. Fuck that. I am speaking of the irony that comes out of being surrounded, as we all are, by constant lures set for our desires which are absolutely transparent to us, and to which we absolutely succumb. We embody both the conmen and the victim, it is the way we live. These are the dreams, crafted by the worst, forced upon us by every fucking old song blasting through a grocery store sound system, by every movie ad campaign, by every political hoax. We've built this irony on the ruins of authenticity, with the knowledge that nothing can be more authentic than what we experience, and what we experience is utterly bogus. I feel this style in myself, but I am too old to have it entirely.

However, Winn hasn't just been stuck in one register - as she went through the books, she gave the reader a fair sense of what it means to be caught in the trance-like pull of the book

So, here’s a link list. Start here. Then go here , here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Anonymous said…
That is such a nice way of describing my impudence in addressing a masterpiece of literature.

I'm almost done reading the last four books. Almost home!
roger said…
Winn, impudence??? I'm of the Mailer Hemingway school which believes that you gotta box a masterpiece - and you are doing a great job of boxing!