Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Alas, poor Theology"

An extended period of reading time (the thankful portion of air travel) finally led to my second encounter with Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. After reading the introductory commentary to this edition by David Galef of the University of Mississippi, I perceived another struggle with this book, another failed academic exercise. Surpising to me, I worked through about 100 pages, though it wasn't much work. There's a reason this book ranks so highly--the prose flows well, with just enough notes and commentary to not be encumbered by the anachronisms. The settings are sometimes hyper-descriptive, but not painfully so. The dialogue is about as close to perfect as possible. The social commentary doesn't approach preaching, for which I am thankful.

My review will not be posted today, I still have a long way to go before completing the book--but I found a quote about which I cannot stop pondering:

"Alas, poor Theology [from the narrator]" Tess of the d'Urbervilles. This describes a scene where Tess meets a young man who paints Bible verses on steps with red paint. I won't dissect the scene quite yet, but I love the way this quote can be interpreted in so many ways. I've considered renaming my blog by this quote, but, alas, I shall use it to describe my writings. I don't think I'll finish the book by the time I return home, but I am well on my way.

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