- Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot,
The Brothers Karamazov.
- George Eliot's Silas Marner.
(“George” was a woman, for those of you who keep track of these sorts of things.)
- Alessandro Manzoni's I promessi sposi (The Betrothed),
if only for its superb recounting of the Plague of Milan.
- Leo Tolstoy’s Война и мир (War and Peace).
It took a year to read it, but it was worth it.
- Eugenio Corti's Il cavallo rosso
(The Red Horse).
- Luigi Pirandello's Il fu Mattia Pascal
(The Late Mattia Pascal).
I don't really know enough about poetry for anyone to take this too seriously.
- Dante, of course. Some of his passages in are spectacularly evocative in Italian.
Era già l’ora che volge il disio
ai navicanti e ’ntenerisce il core
lo dì c’han detto ai dolci amici addio;
e che lo novo peregrin d’amore
punge, se ode squilla di lontano
che paia il giorno pianger che si more;…
- Gerard Manley Hopkins.
THOU art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? ...
(Also see Poetry, above)
- St. Bonaventure’s The Mind's Road to God
struck me as one of the most beautiful books I had ever read,
when I read it. I tried rereading it about 20 years later, and it didn’t
have quite the same impact.
Science fiction and fantasy
- Algys Budris’ Who? Good luck finding it, though.
- Frank Herbert’s Dune.
- Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
Huxley hit the nail on the head, but after discovering a different sort of drug
than the kinds his novel railed against,
he seems to have expressed second thoughts in Brave New World Revisited.
- Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz.
Miller, like Huxley, hits the nail on the head, but he, too,
had second thoughts later in life.
- J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.
Tallis' Spem in Alium was a magnificent surprise.
Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven, …
but some of my favorites are the ancient chants used at prayer,
and the modern “folk” hymns used at Italian masses.
This is a bit dated; I have to think about more recent films,
though in all honesty cinema seems to have gone downhill over the last two decades.
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