Friday Open Thread (with returning to books)

Dear Friends,

I’m teaching a course this term called Fantasy, Myth, and Language, and I’m enjoying it so much; it’s the first time I’ve designed a course completely from scratch (previous syllabi have usually had some inheritance of other profs’ structure/content) and filled it with a (small, undergrad-oriented) fraction of things I like to talk about.

One of the first things I got them to read was Hope Mirrlees’ Lud-in-the-Mist, a 1926 novel about, among other things, the deleterious effects of fairy fruit—and in re-reading it, I found I remembered almost nothing about its plot, only how it had made me feel. That feeling had been, at the time—when I was 19—uncomfortable, unwelcome, sometimes frustrating; now, re-reading it, I felt warmed by melting sympathy with the protagonist’s anxious state of mind, his coping mechanisms for being haunted by a strangeness that unsettled his youth.

I’m going to write much more about this, either on the other side of the move or by means of procrastinating against its realities, but for now—tell me about a book you returned to and found, to your surprise, a much better book than you remembered.

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