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A thousand times the mysteries unfold like galaxies in my head.


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"Do you ever wonder if--well, if there are people living on the third planet?' 'The third planet is incapable of supporting life,' stated the husband patiently. 'Our scientists have said there's far too much oxygen in their atmosphere." - Chapter 'Ylla' from "The Martian Chronicles"
What better way is there to start a book than by denying the existence of its readers? Especially when this literary trick accurately marks the ironic absurd that consecrates Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" not as an encounter between the human and alien races, but as a cheeky and silly human monologue whose puniness contrasts deeply with the magnificence of the universe.

In the universe of Wells, there is no such thing as the rationally elevated human being. Whatever traces of humane feelings and reasoning arise throughout the narrative, they are sure to be destroyed through the sudden arrival of exceptionally and stressing situations.

While reading Hawthorne's short stories, I noticed a deep tension between knowledge and beauty, as if they are two antithetical principles that automatically cancel eachother and cannot coexist. In my opinion, Hawthorne identifies beauty with a heightened kind of knowledge that opposes the earthly one: it is the latent and chaotical knowledge of the unmanifest, a sacred knowledge that reflects the fragile balance of the universe and one which cannot be grasped by the "scientific" mind.

Long story short, I've been missing my literary self. That's why I've taken up a course in "Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World" this summer. It's being offered through Coursera, under the University of Michigan. Since I'll be going through a lot of nifty literary pieces anyway, I though I should  post them on my blog as well, to have them here for the whole eternity. Or at least until the Internet breaks down. Nevertheless, my first assignment - a little bit of good ol' food for the childish soul inside me - Grimm's "Children's and Household Tales" or simply fairytales. I have chosen to focus on the symbolism of eating in some scarce 300 words. Enjoy below. 

Virginia Woolf admitted that life reflected in fiction is not a regularly patterned universe with an objective existence, it is a state of mind.
Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
Because existence is not objective, it cannot be absolute. And even time, as thoroughly interwoven into the fiber of being, cannot be absolute itself.  This is why all of Virginia Woolf’s novels are, in one way or another, experiments upon the concept of time.

The First World War was one crucial event that changed the face of literature forever.  A generation of writers became paralyzed by the extreme destruction that war brought about, showing a face of human nature that was never before seen. Gertrude Stein liked to refer to this generation as „the lost generation” because for the first time the vision upon the world was fully shattered and writers could not find anything else to envision but the absurdity of human destiny in the cataclysmic context. The changing times demanded different, new modes of expression. Modern writers, like James Joyce made use of stream of consciousness techniques to crystallize the inner monologue of characters. But these were not simple stylistical devices. Their main role was to convey the irregularities of thought, but this further led to underlining the irregularities of human experience. For the first time, existence is hopeless, idenitity is void and writers themselves sought to discover a new sense of identity, as if the human spirit had once again lost its innocence and had been cast away from the Garden of Eden. Among all the writers, Virginia Woolf is probably the best one to describe this modern interbelic search of identity.

The "Fanny and Annie" short story is part of D.H. Lawrence's "England, my England" short story collection. D.H. Lawrence is the first writer in English with a truly international reputation to have come from the working class, and this is reflected in his work both in terms of subject matter and some of his attitudes. Many of his short stories, for instance, deal with elemental conflicts between men and women, but are set amongst ordinary working people. “Fanny and Annie” is no exception from the rule, as it presents the potential marriage between Fanny, a lady’s maid and Harry, a foundry worker, all taking place in a very realistic working class community.