Today’s post is dedicated to my first bookhaul of the month of February and it only consists of books for uni. Boring? I hope not, because I see I have quite a lot to read in the coming weeks.
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Goethe
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, a novel of self-realization greatly admired by the Romantics, has been called the first Bildungsroman and has had a tremendous influence on the history of the German novel. The story centers on Wilhelm, a young man living in the mid-1700s who strives to break free from the restrictive world of economics and seeks fulfillment as an actor and playwright.
So, let’s start with admitting that I think this book is quite boring. And not just boring, but ‘I-would-really-like-to-throw-this-book-across-the-room’ frustrating. It’s a little less than 400 pages long and nothing really happens. I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish this book before Wednesday next week. That’s also my trouble; the story is not even that bad, but it’s mostly the deadline that frustrates me.
Maria, or the Wrongs of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
In her classic manifesto A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) embraced an egalitarian social philosophy as the basis for the creation and preservation of equal rights and opportunities for women. In the posthumously published Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman, Wollstonecraft drew upon similar reasoning, presented in a fictional framework to illustrate the grim reality of a woman’s life in the eighteenth century.
Inspired by the writings of Rousseau and William Godwin, her husband and editor, Wollstonecraft was determined to depict “the misery and oppression, particular to women, that arise out of the partial laws and customs of society.” The tale of a woman locked up in an asylum by her abusive husband, Maria dramatizes the effects of the era’s draconian English marriage laws. Combining the spirited rhetoric of a philosophical treatise with a narrative as gripping as any gothic fiction, this is the book that laid the groundwork for modern feminism.
I’m actually quite looking forward to reading this book, mostly because I’m getting more and more interested in the rights of women and the way women were treated in the past. It’s pretty weird to think that women weren’t thought of being as ‘human’ as men were. Another plus to the book is that it’s only 125 pages long!
Toussaint Louverture by C.L.R. James
In 1934 C. L. R. James, the widely known Trinidadian intellectual, writer, and political activist, wrote the play Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History, which was presumed lost until the rediscovery of a draft copy in 2005. The play’s production, performed in 1936 at London’s Westminster Theatre with a cast including the American star Paul Robeson, marked the first time black professional actors starred on the British stage in a play written by a black playwright. This edition includes the program, photographs, and reviews from that production, a contextual introduction and editorial notes on the play by Christian Høgsbjerg, and selected essays and letters by James and others. In Toussaint Louverture, James demonstrates the full tragedy and heroism of Louverture by showing how the Haitian revolutionary leader is caught in a dramatic conflict arising from the contradiction between the barbaric realities of New World slavery and the modern ideals of the Enlightenment. In his portrayal of the Haitian Revolution, James aspired to vindicate black accomplishments in the face of racism and to support the struggle for self-government in his native Caribbean. Toussaint Louverture is an indispensable companion work to The Black Jacobins (1938), James’s classic account of Haiti’s revolutionary struggle for liberation
I have the same reason to looking forward to reading this book as for Maria by Wollstonecraft, but then of course because of the rights of POC. And I like the fact that it’s a play (it reads so much easier (most times) than normal prose)
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return
The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humour – raw, honest and incredibly illuminating.
Again, I’m looking forward to reading this book. Ever since I read Fun Home by Alison Bechdel I’ve wanted to read more graphic novels. I never did, so I’m happy that we get to read another one for uni!