Posted in History

Reading Notes, 1/25/21

Finished Reading

“The Abbot’s Ghost” by Louisa May Alcott ended up being a DNF for me. I wasn’t following along with everyone’s machinations and Alcott wasn’t helping me out by leaving out the majority of dialog tags.

Read “A Descent into the Maelstrom” because I wanted to see how Poe describes the seas.

Willa Cather Short Story Project

January’s story is “Lou, the Prophet,” originally published in 1892 in The Hesperian, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s student newspaper. Chris Wolak has some good information about Cather’s involvement with the paper in her “reminder” post for this month.

Lou is a young immigrant from Denmark. He came to the US when he was 15, which means he’s old enough to truly remember and compare his old home with the new. At age 22, he’s working his plot of land, but it isn’t going so well. He’s said to be “weak in the head,” but it feels like his misfortunes have been due to fate rather than mismanagement. The winter took his cattle and the dry summer is taking his corn. He has a dream one night that the Devil is holding back the rain clouds, that the sinfulness of man is why it hadn’t rained. He becomes a prophet, but his only proselytes are a group of young boys.

The life of a farmer is full of hardships, but through his dream, Lou conjures up a reason for his misfortune that is more than that. The other adults in this story think Lou has gone mad and that maybe he’s a danger (maybe they don’t want to hear that their sins might be responsible for their troubles), but the boys believe him. They’ll continue to tell his story.

Deal Me In

3♦️: “The Great Carbuncle” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I added a few Hawthorne tales to my DMI list this year after Dale @ Mirror with Clouds had a few on his 2020 list. Here, a party of “adventurers” seek a legendary stone. This is a story with a firm moral compass, which is pretty obvious: the name of one characters is Ichabod Pigsnort… Only the best of this party will have any chance at the stone. Will it be the scientist? Will it be the Seeker? Will it be the Poet? Or will it be the ridiculously sweet newlyweds? (It won’t be Mr. Pigsnort. That’s not a spoiler.)

Currently Reading

Dune. Dune by Frank Herbert is the only thing on my plate this week. I’m about half way through. I want to have it finished by Sunday. I think I’ll read William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland next.