The Literary Horizon: Reading for the Plot, Trickster Makes this World

While I didn’t like Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends as much as I liked Manhood for Amateurs, I did walk away with a lot more book recommendations from it. If Chabon liked it—or found it useful—then I think it’s worth a shot at least… hence today’s highlights from the reading list, two nonfiction works on literature and mythology.

Reading for the Plot by Peter Brooks

A book which should appeal to both literary theorists and to readers of the novel, this study invites the reader to consider how the plot reflects the patterns of human destiny and seeks to impose a new meaning on life.

via Amazon

There’s not really much to say here—it looks like it looks at how humans organize the world around them in stories, so I’m interested in seeing a more academic approach to it.

Because this is an academic text, there’s almost no reviews of it to be had online save the customer reviews on Amazon—both reviews there, however, award it a five star rating.

Reading for the Plot was published on June 12, 1984.

Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde

Always out to satisfy their inordinate appetites, lying, cheating, and stealing, tricksters are a great bother to have around, but paradoxically they are also indispensable culture heroes. Here Lewis Hyde’s ambitious and captivating study brings to life the playful and disruptive side of the human imagination as it is embodied in the trickster mythology.

via Amazon

Tricksters are an enduring archetype—hence the fact that Pirates of the Carribbean is surviving well past the original one-off film. And I love them, but I’ve never really considered the fact that they can be and often are instrumental in the creation of the universe. Out of the two books featured here, I’m more interested in this one.

Eric Nehrlich “thoroughly enjoyed” it, and David Lan, writing for the Guardian, enjoyed it, although he doesn’t enjoy the repetition that comes with comparative anthropology.

Trickster Makes This World was published in January, 1998.

2 thoughts on “The Literary Horizon: Reading for the Plot, Trickster Makes this World

  1. Some schools of literary theory tend to look down on “reading for plot,” as it were. In some ways I think that’s a reaction to the fact that plot is all many “lay” readers are consciously aware of as they read, but maybe it’s an overreaction. Plot is only one aspect of a novel, it doesn’t by any means have to be the most important, and many people do put too much emphasis on it, it’s true. But it’s still worthy of scrutiny.

  2. I think I’m going to add these ones to may non fiction list. I’m in a book buying ban so I’ve to be creative to find them because I doubt I can find them in my library.

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