Tag Archives: Classic American Literature

The “music of decline” had sounded, as in that wonderful Chinese fable; like a thrumming bass on the organ its reverberations faded slowly out over decades; its throbbing could be heard in the corruption of the schools, periodicals, and universities, in melancholia and insanity among those artists and critics who could still be taken seriously; it raged as untrammeled and amateurish overproduction in all the arts.

Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game: (Magister Ludi) A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Hesse Glass  Bead Game music decline sounded over decades corruption schools periodicals universities melancholia insanity artists critics raged all arts

Slow Learner

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Slow Learner: Early Stories [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon Slow Learner

This aptly-titled collection of short fiction is a superfluity that I keep on my shelf only for the satisfaction of approaching completeness in my Pynchon collection. While none of these stories are really terrible, it is clear that by the time he had written Vineland, Pynchon had already cannibalized his early shorts for everything of value, recycling the elements to much greater effect in his novels. I’d recommend it to scholars and sleuths contemplating the genealogy of Pynchon’s writing I guess, but for most readers I’d say the contents are better encountered in their later, consummated forms.