Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories

Written by: E. M. Forster

First line: Eustace's career--if career it can be called--certainly dates from that afternoon in the chestnut woods above Ravello.

Why you should read this book: These romantic ("romantic" as it applies to Nathanial Hawthorne, not a Harlequin novel) short stories, written approximately a century ago, glorify the Dionysian freedom of unspoiled nature, as experienced by the Apollonian Englishman. In three of the six stories, the awesome power of nature's mystic majesty (typified, in some cases, by the little goat-legged god) transforms a thoughtless fellow into one brimming over with joy, while a fourth story shows how a pristine patch of woods provides an already unusual woman (Irish and unpolished) with an escape from the stiff and dreadful Britishness being thrust upon her. In the eponymous tale, "The Celestial Omnibus" transports a small child to innocent and epic delight, while casting a pompous and disbelieving academic to his doom.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You fear nature.

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