The Rear-View Mirror: Mrs Dalloway (1925)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

Ah yes, modernist literature. It’s suspicious, isn’t it? No other literary epoch is so well-known by its titles and authors, and yet so un-read. Go to your bookshelves. Find Ulysses. It might just be the most bought and least read book of all times. Go to the chapter that’s set in the maternity ward. See? Have you read it? Have you? Almost no-one has, at least not the one in the novel. And if you want to read it right now, chances are you will need linguistic help. Just as with the whole of Finnegans Wake. Here, just gave you the whole novel. Something tells me you have more time than usual on your hands, but you probably won’t read it.

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The Rear-View Mirror: Don DeLillo (1936)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

Two weeks ago, I sang the praises of Raymond Carver’s short stories, their lean, almost terse language. If that is way, way too short for you, then you might feel right at home in some of the novels by Don DeLillo (born in 1936), the longest of which is a weighty tome called Underworld, published in 1997 and clocking in at a whopping 827 pages, something that some of my university tutors called a two-hander. It’s true, you can’t read it in bed, holding it over your face, because if you let it fall, you die.

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