Discussion in 'Community' started by droideka27, Aug 31, 2005.
I love good historical fiction. Sounds right up my alley!
I did! Heigl wasn't the best choice IMO but it was still a fun rendition of the book.
Bab Ballads (1970) - W.S. Gilbert, James Ellis
Roll on, thou ball, roll on!
Through pathless realms of Space
What though I’m in a sorry case?
What though I cannot meet my bills?
What though I suffer toothache’s ills?
What though I swallow countless pills?
Never you mind!
[it rolls on]
Gilbert is mostly known to modern audiences as half of theater duo Gilbert and Sullivan. Most people, however, despite their knowledge of at least one or two of the duo’s light operas couldn’t, if pressed, be sure which was the composer and which the lyricist. This book ought to put that to rest.
A series of comic poems, complete with brilliant illustrations drawn by Gilbert himself, these were originally published in periodicals in the eighteen hundreds. No true canonical list exists, but the poems have received their title because Gilbert signed the drawings “Bab,” a slang term for baby during the period. James Ellis’ magnificent reprinting has trumped just about everyone in this category however, including Gilbert himself.
Gilbert oversaw three printings of the Bab Ballads, collections of various ones and in the third, he combined the first two and omitted the poems he thought somewhat lacking. Like most artists, he was not the best judge of his own work and it was the poems he omitted that the public seemed to love the most. Ellis has taken a utilitarian approach, even including three or four poems of rather dubious authorship, simply because they contain a Bab drawing. Regardless, this collection of over 150 poems is absolutely side splitting.
Gilbert was more or less accused of cruelty by critics in his day, but it’s that very sense of detached misery that makes his poems so hilariously funny. He was, frankly, ahead of his time in many ways and these poems are desperately funny when they lampoon imperialism, gender relations, the passions of first love, familial responsibilities. Some people find offense in his caricatures of Africans and Arabs. And perhaps I would too if not for the fact that he lampoons the English even more; no racism here; Gilbert is an equal opportunity offender. All men, politicians, policeman, African natives, missionaries, curates, bishops, lovers, businessmen, Frenchmen, actors, writers . . . all are fools. And, yes, women too. All utter fools. The only difference is that they are all fools in slightly different ways.
If this seems a dim view of human nature, it doesn’t feel like it because the poems are so incredibly hilarious. There are occasionally more serious poems, particularly the tragic Eheu! Fugaces! Which finds an elderly sinner returning to the church he had shunned, afraid of what awaits him beyond death’s door. But the vast, vast majority of these poems are hilarious romps of political incorrectness and all too accurate satire on all aspects of society.
As well, Gilbert has an incredible gift for poetry in the technical sense; his rhymes are often as amusing as the words he’s actually writing and the way he absolutely murders meter, often making the reader lean on the incorrect syllable of a word for a line to work, is side splitting. The drawings as well show great talent as an artist; they are beyond grotesque. Gilbert himself was uncomfortable with these and replaced them with more dignified drawings in later printings. Ellis gets this right too, returning to the original drawings.
As one critic stated, every Gilbert libretto is simply three or four ruined Bab Ballads. All too true; all too true. Here is the cynical satirist in his purest form. Brilliance and if you think humor can’t be art, read this book.
5 out of 5 stars.
And started on Star Wars: Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber
I managed to purchase nothing today. I may reread I, Lucifer or The God Engines or Excession. I might even have a go at a reread of Dante Valentine. I am really waiting for the next Ian Banks Culture novel due out during my birthday week.
Island by Aldous Huxley - I've just finished Brave New World, and this is supposed to be a counter-point to it. Also I hear it was written after heavier drug intake.
What kind of book are you looking for?
Well, I am sort of in a holding pattern until a new Culture bookd comes out next month. It's all scifi and fantasy for me. I am right now for this week rereading WHITE PLUME MOUNTAIN You do not need to be a d&d fan to enjoy this awesome book.
Finished The Fermata. It's a little bit pervy, but in just the right way. I love Baker's prose style and was desperate to read more of his stuff after accidentally getting a copy of The Anthologist.
I feel ya; I'm an SFF girl myself (well, mostly fantasy). If you're ever looking for a new author and you haven't tried Brandon Sanderson already, do it. He's amazing.
"A bit pervy, but in just the right way" would make a killer custom title.
Vector Prime, first book in the New Jedi Order series!
Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Giving these Dresden Files books a whirl... So far, I'm not too crazy about it.
"You against Me" by Jenny Downham
Unfinished Tales (of Numenor and Middle-Earth) by J.R.R. Tolkien.
I"m not a huge fan. JediSolo really liked them, though.
Just over 3 hours until A Casual Vacancy is released. I am still yet to decide whether to purchase the book simply because it is written by J K Rowling.
It doesn't sound like my kind of thing ... and I don't necessarily like her enough to read it on principle (unlike, say, Brandon Sanderson ... -- though, of course, I adore HP). Read it and then let me know
All is not as it seems.
Leviathan Wakes was awesome. I hate having to wait for the next one.
As cliche as it might be, I'm finishing the Last Command by Tim Zahn.
Medieval Marriage: Two Models from Twelfth-Century France. Absolutely RIVETING, let me tell you. The one saving grace is that the book is only about 110 pages long.
Isn't Caliban's War already out?
Oh damn. You are right. I got my titles mucked up. I await the third book impatiently.
Hey, that Zahn trilogy is a classic!
I'm going to expose myself as a true nerd when I say that actually sounds kinda interesting. Are you reading it for a class?