Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE SHEIK by EM Hull - Discussion

book cover Original Publication Date: 1919

Genre: romance, adventure

Topics: sex, power, exoticism

Discussion by heidenkind and Anachronist from Portable Pieces of Thought:

Diana Mayo is a frigid, rich, spoiled noblewoman who was raised by her brother and has always done more or less exactly as she pleased. When her brother plans to go to America for some heiress shopping, she decides she'd rather take a trip through the desert, on her own, with no protection aside from an Arab guide. Of course the Arab men carting her stuff around the desert aren't as amenable to her telling them what to do as her brother was (and he wasn't), and before you know it she's been kidnapped by a sheik. But on the plus side, at lease he's rich and handsome!

I had many feels about The Sheik, so I asked Anachronist from one of my favorite book blogs, Portable Pieces of Thought, to help me discuss it here, since I was curious about what her thoughts would be. Read on!

Did you like the book?

HEIDENKIND: Like is a strong word. lol My feelings about this novel are actually kind of all over the place. On one hand I disliked it but on the other hand I found it interesting. And parts of it were entertaining. I don’t know. It’s not something I’d want to read again, but I am weirdly glad that I read it because I feel like I know something now. But I’m not sure what the thing is.

ANACHRONIST: ‘Like’ is rather a wrong word here. I agree it was an interesting book, I am really pleased I read it because it made me understand so many romance trends still floating around, repeated and recycled over and over again. It is, I believe, an important book, like a landmark. Would I like to read it again? No. Would I like to read any other Hull romances (this one was the first of the series)? No. Some aspects of it were outrageous, some were simply silly and unreal and it left me frustrated.

The Sheik has been called the first modern romance novel. Agree or disagree?

HEIDENKIND: It’s definitely not what I would consider a romantic novel, but I can see parallels between it and a certain type of romance that was popular in the ‘70s and early ‘90s, where the hero rapes the innocent heroine and then they fall in lurve. A type of romance novel that I HATE, by the way. On the other hand, Diana is a much different heroine than you see in those types of novels. Usually they feature innocent young girls down their luck; Diana is a rich bitch who thinks she’ll always get her own way.

ANACHRONIST: Modern romance novel? No way. What about The Taming of the Shrew? I know, it is a play but still it features a cock-sure, aggressive alpha male who has to tame an assertive, independent female by showing her the right place. True, they get married first but overall the formula seems to be the same.

Was EM Hull the EL James of her time?

HEIDENKIND: I can see some similarities. Not necessarily the completely-stealing-a-plot-from-another-author similarity (although maybe Hull did, who knows), but I was reminded of Fifty Shades a lot while reading this book. They both portray sex as a game of domination and submission, with the woman in the submissive position. Way to twist gender stereotypes. /sarcasm

ANACHRONIST: Mrs. Hull definitely created a stir with her novel similar to 50 Shades but actually her success was more flamboyant. The Sheik, was first published in England in 1919 and quickly became an international blockbuster. They sold over 1.2 million copies worldwide and then some, especially after the film adaptation with Rudolph Valentino in 1921.Within the first year of its release, that movie exceeded $1 million in ticket sales and helped to solidify Valentino's image as one of the first male sex symbols of the screen. I suppose E.L. James would love to follow that kind of success but I would hate to see it repeated.

Wikipedia says The Sheik is the, “depiction of a strong, self-sufficient woman being tamed and subdued by a man who rapes her repeatedly.” Do you agree with this statement?

HEIDENKIND: Diana is certainly raped all through this novel and not just by Ahmed; but I don’t agree that she’s a strong woman, and I don’t think she was subdued, I think she was psychologically obliterated. I think she was all bluster and pride, but she had been pampered all her life and had nothing to shore up her self-identity when she lost everything: no faith, no loving family, no purpose or accomplishments. There’s that line she feeds to her brother before she leaves, “I will do what I choose when and how I choose, and I will never obey any will but my own.” That’s challenging the gods, girlfriend, and you’re about to get whacked. She doesn't even have the foresight to take reasonable precautions when she goes on a trip by herself to a place that’s not exactly Disneyland. Diana sets out a journey arrogant and conceited and the world ground that all down to dust, as it does. Kind of like the Odyssey, actually, only if Odysseus got Stockholm Syndrome and never made it home.

ANACHRONIST: I completely agree that Diana is hardly strong or self-sufficient to begin with. Yes, she is financially independent, yes, she flaunts her disregard for social proprieties wearing trousers, smoking publicly, rejecting suitors left right and centre. Still she is just a brat - without brains, imagination or at least a healthy dose of self-preservation.

You mentioned already challenging the gods which is the very idea that came to my mind as well; I think Diana also was attention-seeking, immature girl who loved challenging the society at large. In my opinion she did so because she didn’t know how to express her frustrations connected to the age of puberty and a transformation into an adult woman better. I suppose she emulated Diana/Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunt, but she has forgotten about getting some backbone in the process.

Funnily enough, with her ‘liberated’ attitudes Diana was scaring all those ‘civilised’ men around her to death (or maybe they were just too lazy or too stupid?)  until Ahmed saw her, understood and accepted her challenge. Mind you he did so only for his own selfish reasons and he chose a wrong way to deal with Diana. Rape only creates more issues, never helping to solve any problems.

What was the most uncomfortable scene for you?

HEIDENKIND: The one where they broke the horse, definitely. It was like watching a gang rape. Horrifying, and not the least because you KNOW it’s a foreshadow for what’s coming. Hull might as well have added a banner above the corral that read, “Diana, this is what is going to happen to you.”

ANACHRONIST: Breaking the horse was ugly indeed but I also hated the scene in which Ahmed killed Diana’s lovely mare, Silver Star, just because Diana didn’t want to slow down and he knew his horse wouldn’t be able to overtake her mount. It was such a waste of a beautiful animal and all because of the stupidity and foolhardiness of one she-brat. It was completely WRONG.

HEIDENKIND: That was horrible, too. The horses in this book were all-around treated pretty terribly, actually.

What did you think of Diana’s sudden realization that she loved the sheik?

sassy gay friend slow down crazy

HEIDENKIND: laff ←what I did. I saw it coming, so I was just like, “SLOW DOWN, Crazy.” What made it funny was the bigotry she threw into it. “I love him, that filthy, godless brute of a savage!” “...few weeks [ago], she would have shuddered with repulsion at the bare idea, the thought that a native could even touch her had been revolting...” Ha! Yeah, you’re totally in love. This is a great relationship.

ANACHRONIST: I actually snickered and guffawed  in the most unladylike manner. Diana brought it unto herself with her own stupidity and I wished her, apart from a nasty bout of calf love, Stockholm-syndrome flavoured,  also a bad case of rash on her lovely, white bum. And everywhere else.

What do you think were Hull’s intentions with this novel?

HEIDENKIND: I’m not entirely sure. I don’t think she set out to write a novel about love. In a way it’s like a female adventure novel, but the final message isn’t like something you would find in an adventure novel whether the protagonist is male or female. Instead of finding herself, Diana becomes completely dependent on Ahmed for her self-identity. Maybe it’s a metaphor for British colonialism?

ANACHRONIST: I think (and I might be wrong) that a) Mrs Hull was one bored woman and wife who dreamed of adventurous romance with a dash of masochism as a form of subconscious punishment for her unholy dreams b) she, the ‘good’ and ‘conventional’ girl, secretly despised and envied all the ‘bad’, ‘intelligent’, ‘independent’ girls so it was also her form of revenge c) she wanted to earn some money of course and here she proved to be a very shrewd businesswoman who succeeded admirably.

What’s the difference between the sheik, Ahmed Ben Hassan, and the men Diana knew in England?

HEIDENKIND: Well, Ahmed’s a “GODLESS SAVAGE,” obviously. Basically all the men in this book want Diana because she’s wild and untamable, but Ahmed is also wild and able to tame even the most stubborn of animals (as we saw at the corral scene), so only he is able to turn Diana into his bitch.

ANACHRONIST: Ahmed is a sadist who flaunts his proclivities - and he does so for a reason (I can’t say more as it would be a major spoiler). Civilised men Diana knew  just tended to hide those tendencies far better and were, I suppose, more lazy. Ahmed loved to tame his animals by breaking them; English gentlemen despised work in any form and preferred their wives or horses to be brought to them completely tamed and docile. Work is for ‘niggers’ right?(/sarcasm)

HEIDENKIND: That’s a great way to put it. Do you think Hull was using Ahmed as an example of a “real man,” then?

ANACHRONIST: Hard to say. There was certainly some fascination with his brutality and physical prowess so perhaps she indeed wanted to indicate he was more manly than his ‘civilised’ equivalents but to me he was one sick case of a sadist.

Which was more annoying in this novel, the misogyny or the racism?

HEIDENKIND: There’s a toss-up question for ya. I think the racism was more annoying, just because Diana was the only female character in the entire book, aside from that one woman Ahmed’s rival stabbed in the throat. So the misogyny felt as if it was contained to her, whereas the racism was obviously applied to all non-whites.

ANACHRONIST: I think it was a draw. The racism was pretty ugly but in perfect accordance with the period. The misogyny, especially when coming from a woman, was more difficult to swallow but also fully understandable.

What did you think of the ending in comparison to the rest of the book?

HEIDENKIND: The ending felt really long and drawn-out. After Diana was rescued from Ahmed’s rival, the story lost a lot of momentum, but we had to sit through pages of backstory about Ahmed, and then Diana spiraled into psycho panic mode because wasn't raping sleeping with her anymore. It seemed like a tortured attempt to provide a “happy ending.”

ANACHRONIST: HEA was silly because in real life there would be no HEA for two such deranged individuals as Ahmed and Diana. Sooner or later he would kill her - no matter whether with his kindness or his rage. Or she would kill herself.

the sheik movie gif





HEIDENKIND: I think what REALLY annoyed me about the HEA was the fact that it only happened because Ahmed was a “secret Christian.” If he’d been an actual Muslim, Diana would have returned to England and the story would be about a love that was never meant to be, or something like that. And fiction STILL follows that rule. I’m thinking of the The English Patient, for example.

ANACHRONIST: The English Patient is an excellent example. When it comes to our sheik It wasn’t only about his faith, it was also about his parents - Ahmed was in fact an aristocrat, well-educated and rich, who chose to stay among Arabs on the desert and follow their lifestyle. Such a plot twist showed that deep down Mrs Hull didn’t want to test the tolerance of her readers. If your character is a brutal savage AND a British peer you have to forgive him a lot because he is simply entitled to it. If he is only a native brutal savage,’s better to kill him off or turn him into a baddie. Or both. What was the difference between Ahmed and that rival sheilk, Omair? Personally I saw none, apart from the fact that Omair was a real native. Now look at their fates.

Would you recommend The Sheik to others?

HEIDENKIND: Some others. I definitely think it was worth reading and that it deserves more attention than it has right now. But at the same time I think it has it a limited audience.

ANACHRONIST: It is a very interesting book from the history of literature’s point of view, especially if you are following the development of romantic novels. No, you won’t be entertained or awed by it, some parts will most probably make you sick, some will bore you to death but they will also make you understand a lot of current and past trends. A book only for discerning, motivated readers.

Download The Sheik by EM Hull at Project Gutenberg|Librivox

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Fyodor Dostoyefsky

Original Publication Date: 1866

Genre: Classic Russian literature

  Topics: poverty, crime, conscience, confession, justice

  Review by :  Patty @ A Tale of Three Cities 

I read Crime and Punishment by F. Dostoyevsky over a period of three months.  This is, in my opinion, the best way to read such a chunk of classic Russian literature - in a rythme that is manageable, with plenty of time to dwell on a plot written in a remarkable style and taking place in an era and a society that are mostly foreign to us.  

And yes, Dickens writes about similar circumstances but I find his writing style more "understandable".  Also, the British reality is perhaps nearer my vision of past history in Europe.  

Russia, mid-19th century. Our main hero, Raskolnikov, is evidence of a desperate society. He's estanged from his family and the little money he receives he almost immediately spends. He's also estranged from the rest of the world, and feels he's not suited to work. This is a problem -- he can not go on living like this and a solution will have to be found as soon as possible. 
The first part of the novel also serves as an introduction to the Russia of that era.  Raskolnikov is not at ease with himself, that is clear – but then I read about Dostoyefsky’s life and his experience of being in an execution camp, and witnessing a fellow inmate go mad — he was never the same afterwards, with bouts of epilepsy. Given the stark living conditions at the time, I can well imagine Raskolnikov having witnessed similar situations and having “taken” the decision to abstain from everything. 

The novel is full of descriptions of poverty and addiction that are heart-breaking, and I applaud Dostoyefsky for remaining true and not presenting everyday life through a coloured lens. We have to remember how lucky we are and how bad things can be (even to this day). Continuing on this, I’m also surprised to see how much things have not changed: while the standard of living has certainly improved since those days, I can still see a lot of people forgetting their problems/sorrows in drinking, and how people still get married for money. This lack of human contact, warmth, family closeness and support is evident even today around me. (Haven’t we learned anything from the past?)
The novel is also full of interesting little tidbits: the yellow ticket (yellow identity card for prostitutes), the reference to “a nigger in a plantation” (how did poverty-stricken 19th century Russians know what was happening in the US of that time?)

In any case, Raskolnikov decides that the solution to his financial problems will be the death of his landlady Alyona Ivanovna, who is also his money lender.  He has a dream sequence that I thought would make clear the incorrectness of the scheme.  But no, Raskolnikov has created a world of fallacy around him. I always thought that his conscience was eminent in him - yet, he turns out to think of himself above all others! All his theories about why he’s poor, why he’s not studying, why he’s drawn away from society, slowly give way to a very calculating person who gets away with murder (pun intended...) but then – he pretends to be a victim of fate... a very disagreeable character indeed! 

The deed done (with an extra dead body, just because), Raskolnikov is slightly “redeeming” himself and becomes disconnected with the world around him. He gives away some of the money and hides the rest - his disdain is evident for having wanted the money in the first place and committed the crime.  But he also wants to find out if he can really get away with it - with murder!

Raskolnikov almost immediately blurs out his confession. Of course people will not believe him! But I was intrigued that he went back to the house of the murders and, upon seeing that everything was being made up, he was puzzled: 
“he somehow fancied that he would find everything as he left it, perhaps the corpses in the same places on the floor”
So, is he disappointed that his actions did not have a lasting effect? The murders have completely changed his life but apparently not everyone else’s – what a let down...
Enter the two women in Raskolnikov's life:  Sonya, a daughter who has to sell herself so that there is money on the table.  It was very interesting to see Sonya's character developping: in stark contast to Raskolnikov, she may be facing similar dire situations, but she managed to emerge full of grace. And Dunya, his sister, who when faced with an attacker, has every “moral right” to kill him when she could – she is in self-defense. But she just did not have it in her to carry through with it. And this is what distinguishes her from her brother. One can have all the arguments needed for killing, but at the end of the day the importance is whether one can go through with killing another human being. No Napoleonean aspirations, no desire to “clean up” society of scoundrels will ever justify pulling the trigger and kill according to Dunya. Not so for Raskolnikov, who is still living in his dream world, where he looks down on everyone else. A little social remark perhaps by Dostoyefsky — women in full control, while the lead man only knows how to faint?

Dostoyefsky gives  us a superb insight into his views and his implication with the philosophical movements of the time.  When Raskolnikov writes an article on crime, we are introduced to the concept of Nihilism: actions are morally sound if they lead to the greatest possible “happiness” (Raskolnikov’s reasoning of the murder).
The rationalising of the act however gets worse:  from the logic of commiting the murder to help society get rid of Alyona Ivanovna – because she was a parasite, Raskolnikov now says he just wanted a dare – no ulterior motive, just a dare to prove he’s superhuman! We are left with a dangling question of whether or not justice will be served...

This complicated story of Raskolnikov and his entourage, with the question of whether or not he will confess, will remain so until literally the last sentence.  Never has a chunk of literature kept me interested and devouring the pages like this one.  An excellent work of fiction with little gems of serious research, philosophy and psychology.  Well done Dostoyefsky!

I must confess I did not like the Epilogue. I felt cheated – such a great complicated story, just to be “fixed” with a simplified and politically-correct ending...  

Download Crime and Punishment by F. Dostoyefsky at Project Gutenberg|Librivox|

Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, by L.M. Montogomery

Original Publication Date:  1908

Genre: children's novel

Topics: coming of age, nature, fantasy world vs. reality

Review by : Patty @ A Tale of Three Cities (

Sometimes I wonder how I went through childhood without any of the "classic" children's books.  True, I had Verne's fantasy novels and Charlotte's web, but I think I jumped too soon on to "adult" literature and am left wondering whether I've missed on something.  Making up for this, then, is to read such novels now - starting with Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery - and try to imagine whether I could have appreciated them at a younger age...

Anne is an orphan.  As an adult, I could not really see the purpose why all lessons have to be taught through the eyes of a "marginalised" person - no one lives on cloud no. 9 anymore.  I realised, however, that as a child, living under relatively "pampered" circumstances, I would have paid more attention to the experience of another child who did not have my luxuries, whose living conditions would have been new to me.  It's also a very good introduction to the notion of "social exclusion" and the great gift the majority of us have to actually belong to a family, a community, an organised society.

Through a misunderstanding, Anne is delivered to siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who were actually looking for a boy to help out with their farm.  After an initial mistrust towards her, she is welcomed in their little family as well as in the village of Green Gables.   She is the typical dreamy girl, ready to escape in her fantasy world within seconds, not understanding why adults cannot use this ability as well.  Having just seen "Peter and Alice" in theatre, which asks the question of when one stops being a child and becomes an adult, I had to rewind and get all the scenes in my mind again.  

The beautiful trait of children is that they have healthy imagination and are able to escape real life, into a world where all is wonderful, safe and warm.  There are no societal constraints yet.  This age is such a great lesson in still believing things can change for the better, that tomorrow is another great day, that we all need to lighten up a little - I myself don't think that often.  Now, don't get me wrong - I don't mean that we should all disregard reality and start living in fantasy worlds.  But this safety mechanism can actually prove a much-needed pillow that can ease the burden.  Just like grown-up Anne, we can find a compromise between our perfect world and the real world.  I would just like children to retain this ability the longest possible.  They'll have to deal with society and harsh reality for plenty more years...

Anne also breaks an unwritten rule:  she's not blonde, she's redhead.  What a scandal this must have brought about at the time of publication!  Of course she hates her hair in the beginning, just like all children hate something about themselves (some even into adulthood...).  After some hilarious incidents, where the colour goes to green instead of black, Anne grows older and accepts the colour of hair and comes to actually like it.  Just as I finally came to like my nose...

The book explores Anne's everyday life - her friends, her studies, her challenges (this is really a Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age-tale).  There is never a dull moment and we get to enjoy every little  mishap that can happen. 

"Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing"

(what a great sentiment, also disregarded in our present time...)

But Anne also quickly realises her potential:  she receives the Avery Scholarship in English, which will enable her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree.  In 1908?  A child's tale that promotes equality?  (That got me thinking and I soon discovered that many more of such children's tales are in reality full of ideas such as equality, compassion, support, tolerance...  Why are such grand schemes only to be found in tales and not reality...)

But life is not always spread with roses.  Anne will in the end decide to return to Green Gables to care for Marilla, who is now alone remaining in the house.  She will agree to tone down her ambitions because she wants to care for the person who cared for her.  Instead of reaching out for the stars, she is looking forward for 

"the bend in (the road). I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend"

And this is the gracious landing into the world of adulthood.  Where we can no longer avoid a nasty situation by slipping into fantasy world.  Rather, we accept our responsibilities, but remain optimistic.  We make decisions based on our convictions and on what we believe is best for us and our loved ones -- and we look forward to the whole great trip called life...

Download Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery at Project Gutenberg|Librivox|

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: RED NAILS by Robert E. Howard

book cover Original Publication Date: 1936
Genre: fantasy
Topics: adventure, revenge

Review by heidenkind:

Valeria is a female pirate who is on the run after killing a man who tried to rape her. In the remote jungles of, I'm guessing here, the Yucatan, she meets Conan. After killing a dragon, Conan and Valeria find themselves in a strange and ominous walled city home to two warring clans: the Tecuhltli and Xotalanc. Valeria and Conan are welcomed by the rulers of the Tecuhltli and agree to help them defeat of the evil Xotalanc--in exchange for a reward of course--but only after they complete their task do they realize they might have made a deal with the devil.

This is another really good Conan the Barbarian book. I've read several since The People of the Black Circle, and while all of them have been enjoyable, most are pretty short and I don't have a lot to say about them. Red Nails stood out because of the female characters, the twisty turns, and its sheer awesomeness.

There are not one, but TWO central female characters in Red Nails. The first is Valeria, who is like a proto-Xena (total Xena Warrior Princess fan right here). She's tough and she doesn't take any shit from anyone, including Conan, who basically spends the entire book trying to get into her pants.

The second female character is Tascela, the queen of the Tecuhltli who immediately becomes enraptured with Valeria. I don't want to say what her deal is because that would spoil the story, but she's also a really interesting character with her own agenda, and she's a lot more than she appears.

Second of all, Red Nails is so twisty! I never could have predicted where the story was going at the beginning. Toward the end I was like, "Huh-wha?" but in a good way. It's only about 150 pages, but it has a full three acts, the glory and decimation of an entire civilization, AND Conan gets the girl (actually Conan isn't in the story that much, it's mainly Valeria's book, and she's the one who saves the day).

Third of all, this is an awesome adventure. I'd put it on par with Captain Blood or a movie like Romancing the Stone. But Robert E. Howard also isn't afraid to ask questions, like what is the nature of a society driven by war and turmoil? I loved the scene where Techotl, the person who brings Conan and Valeria into Tecuhltli, is like, "But wait, what are we going to do with ourselves once we kill all the Xotalanc?" GOOD QUESTION, Techotl.

So basically Red Nails is the literary equivalent of bacon. IT'S IRRESISTIBLE GOODNESS. Everyone likes bacon, even if it's not healthy for them. And the Conan books are pulpy awesomeness. I love Robert E. Howard so hard, you guys.*

Download Red Nails by Robert E. Howard at Project Gutenberg|Librivox

*Side note: Have you read Howard's Wikipedia page? They make him sound like Norman Bates if he'd written novels instead of killed people.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: THE GOOD SOLDIER - Ford Madox Ford

Original Publication Date: 1927
Genre: British, English, classic
Topics: The Lost Generation, morality, wealth
Review by : Liz Inskip-Paulk (
This title has been on my TBR list for ages, and as I happen to be going through a phase of reading early 20th century books, this rose to the surface of the TBR pile. This is the story of two couples who get mixed up in each other’s affairs, all from the perspective of one of the husbands who happens to be an unreliable narrator (or is he?).
This is not a book to daydream through – it jumps across countries, it goes back and forth with time, and it discusses each of the characters in turn, so, as a reader, you’ll need to keep your wits about you in keeping everything straight. (Or I did, at least.) In fact, I would probably suggest that this would be a book to be read in great big swathes of time so you can dive into the story and experience the narrative as one continuous stream. Overall, it’s rather a bleak and sad read, but it’s still very good. Not every book has to be a happy read.
This reminded me of Fitzgerald’s writing (i.e. The Great Gatsby) in that it spotlights an opulent over-the-top and superficial lifestyle but with barebones morality – money can buy you lots of things, but it can’t buy you happiness. There is also a similar ennui that pervades the story – there are people having affairs with each other, but they’re not acknowledged or addressed in any way – only a vague sense, a hint of things gone awry and no energy is spent to change things…
This was published in 1915, so it’s set before the Great War (WWI) and before the Jazz Age (which might have been an American thing anyway). Ford (or Madox Ford?) founded several literary magazines, one of which was when he was in Paris in the 1920’s and hanging out with James Joyce, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and others of that “Lost Generation” group.

His writing in this book reminded me of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, but this was written and published years before, so I wonder who influenced whom in writing style. (If indeed, they did.) I know that Ford collaborated with Joseph Conrad, but not sure about others. They must have been familiar with each other’s writing though, so if one goes by chronological reasoning, Ford must have influenced Hemingway.
Ford was smack in the middle of the Modernist period (info of which can be found here from Wiki) and I was reading about this creative “movement” (good word for it as it was constantly changing and reflected the huge transformations going on in the world), I was struck by how inter-linked the worlds of painting, sculpture, literary and music are.
The early 20th century was a huge time of cultural unrest for many places – the uneasy acceptance of more machinery-based industry, a time of change and possibility, but also of disruption and unbalance, of questioning culture and the things about you… Having just read Forster, Fitzgerald, Madox Ford and others, learning about this time period helped to change it in my head from being a flat one-dimensional time to one of depth. It’s hard to explain, but it’s similar to the difference you see between normal TV and high-res.


Download The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford at Project Gutenberg|Librivox|