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Book coversSome of the reading suggested by professors Louis Cabri, Thomas Dilworth, and Jeremy Worth for the lockdown.

Lockdown literature: profs offer reading recommendations

Looking for recommendations for a good read? The Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences polled members of the departments of English and Creative Writing and Languages, Literatures and Cultures for their suggestions.

Here is the first installment of the many responses received:

Louis Cabri, English and Creative Writing

Miriam Nichols’s A Literary Biography of Robin Blaser: Mechanic of Splendor (Palgrave, 2019). Dr. Nichols was the Department of English and Creative Writing 2019 distinguished speaker.

Robin Blaser (1925-2009): Canadian-American poet of great and singular distinction, on whose work I based a graduate course.

Also reading: Donato Mancini and Ted Byrne’s translations of “nonsense poetry” from the Old French, A Flea the Size of Paris: The Old French ”Fatrasies” and “Fatras” (Black Widow, 2020). Dr. Mancini was University of Windsor's Fall 2017 writer-in-residence. British poet Sean Bonney (1969-2019) and his “reckless voyage into the apocalypse,” his poetry collection Our Death (Commune Editions, 2019).

Thomas Dilworth, English and Creative Writing

Here are a few selections from “Dilworth’s suggestions for future reading, etc.” that he gives to students for after they’ve graduated:

Models of clear personal expository (non-fiction) style: Virgil Thomson, Modern Music, The Virgil Thomson Reader. Short essays.

History: H.D.F. Kitto, The Greeks. Short, wonderful. Christopher Dawson, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture. Paul Johnson, Modern Times.

Novels: Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. The greatest novel. Best read after age 25. Andrew MacAndrew’s translation for Bantam is readable and cheap.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick, best read after 40.

John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Jeremy Worth, French Studies, Languages, Literatures & Cultures

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Fantasy, childhood, loss, memory, identity, magic realism. I really appreciated this.

Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot. Read this novel before I’d read any actual Flaubert and would recommend it to anyone.

Biographies: was reading Edmund Gordon’s The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography but it’s in my office on campus. Very good so far! Have also been dipping back into Antonia Fraser’s Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter. Have recently read and appreciated Piers Dudgeon’s Lifting the Veil: The Biography of Sir John Tavener and John Lydon’s autobiography, Anger Is An Energy. Recommend any of Alan Bennett’s volumes of diaries, into which I often dip. Also, any of Clive James’s memoirs and essays. His gift for simile was extraordinary (his late poems also are very moving).

Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music by Rob Young. On the history of British (particularly English) folk music and the influences that shaped the development of 1960s-70s British folk rock. An exciting, dazzling read that keeps sending me over to the turntable and CD player.

Erebus: The Story of a Ship by Michael Palin. Account of ship, its crew, its loss, and Victorian arctic exploration. Have only just started this one but it promises to be unputdownable.

Poetry I’ve been reading recently: Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Robert Desnos.