frank-norris

10

Stephen King’s favorite books from “The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books."  Mr. King’s choices reflect that the notion that terrifying fiction lies not in the invention of otherworldly creatures, but in the examination of what is monstrous in human nature…

1. ‘The Golden Argosy,’ edited by Van H. Cartmell and Charles Grayson
2. ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,’ by Mark Twain
3. ‘The Satanic Verses,’ by Salman Rushdie
4. ‘McTeague,’ by Frank Norris
5. ‘Lord of the Flies,’ by William Golding
6. ‘Bleak House,’ by charles
7. ‘1984,’ by George Orwell
8. ‘The Raj Quartet,’ by Paul Scott
9. ‘Light in August,’ by William Faulkner
10. ‘Blood Meridian,’ by Cormac McCarthy

Read more here.

Did she love McTeague? Difficult question. Did she choose him for better or for worse, deliberately, of her own free will, or was Trina herself allowed even a choice in the taking of that step that was to make or mar her life? The Woman is awakened, and, starting from her sleep, catches blindly at what first her newly opened eyes light upon. It is a spell, a witchery, ruled by chance alone, inexplicable–a fairy queen enamored of a clown with ass’s ears.

The Pit: A Story of Chicago. Frank Norris. New York: The Modern Library, 1934 (first published 1903). Original dust jacket.

“Even beneath the opera cloak it was easy to infer that her neck and shoulders were beautiful. Her almost extreme slenderness was, however, her characteristic; the curves of her figure, the contour of her shoulders, the swell of hip and breast were all low; from head to foot one could discover no pronounced salience. Yet there was no trace, no suggestion of angularity. She was slender as a willow shoot is slender—and equally graceful, equally erect.”

‘Of all the arts, music, to my notion, is the most intimate. At the other end of the scale you have architecture, which is an expression of and an appeal to the common multitude, the whole people, the mass. Fiction, and painting, and even poetry, are affairs of the classes, reaching the groups of the educated. But music - ah, that is different, it is one soul speaking to another soul. The composer meant it for you and himself. No one else has anything to do with it. Because his soul was heavy and broken with grief, or bursting with passion, or tortured with doubt, or searching for some unnamed ideal, he has come to you - you of all people in the world - with his message, and he tells you of his yearnings and his sadness, knowing that you will sympathise, knowing that your soul has, like his, been acquainted with grief, or with gladness; and in the music his soul speaks to yours, beats with it, blends with it, yes, is even, spiritually, married to it.’
—  Frank Norris, The Pit, Chapter VII
She— perhaps McTeague as well— felt that there was a certain inadequateness about the ceremony. Was that all there was to it? Did just those few muttered phrases make them man and wife? It had been over in a few moments, but it had bound them for life. Had not something been left out? Was not the whole affair cursory, superficial? It was disappointing.
—  Frank Norris, McTeague

So in my research I came across a really ill-informed article about Frank Norris’ use of Medieval Romance conventions in McTeague - one that completely neglects the author’s own relationship with the Romance…

As a result my paper is now set up to go toe to toe with hers in an attempt to refute her claim that his use of the Romance is based in parody.

TL;DR: My proposal is getting a little salty.
(But really her arguments are bad and she should feel bad.)