Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today's topic: 20th Century Lit

I'm going to play a little game here.  I pulled two paragraphs out of a novel by one of my favorite authors.  
Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean towards each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter more terrible than any sadness - a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild. ...

...They travelled on without speech, saving their breath for the work of their bodies. On every side was the silence, pressing upon them with a tangible presence. It affected their minds as the many atmospheres of deep water affect the body of the diver. It crushed them with the weight of unending vastness and unalterable decree. It crushed them into the remotest recesses of their own minds, pressing out of them, like juices from the grape, all the false ardours and exaltations and undue self-values of the human soul, until they perceived themselves finite and small, specks and motes, moving with weak cunning and little wisdom amidst the play and inter-play of the great blind elements and forces. 
Any guesses from what work these quotes are taken?   No googling (or binging, or yahooing...).  The author will probably be an easier guess than the book, for anyone who's interested in such things.  I'll write more tomorrow about why I like this author and how these paragraphs pull at me.


A Stafford said...

My guess is Jack London....based on the words frozen, Northland, vastness, remotest and elements. You said that would be the easy part- I'll guess "Call of the Wild", since the word "wild" is in your quote. I haven't read any of that since high school, so I don't recognize the passage.

theMom said...

Oooh, Amy, you are my only taker. I know I have other readers who enjoy books, too, but nobody else was so inclined to participate in my little challenge.

You were right on the author. The above excerpt was written by Jack London. But is is from White Fang rather than Call of the Wild.

Good job, Amy!

I could say I'd send you some sort of catchy little prize or gimmick, but it would sit on my counter anyway, and someday, when my kids dig out from under the clutter that chronically consumes my kitchen, they'd have to look you up and get it to you then.

So I'll just say "Congratulations, you win," and leave it at that.