In my first post I mentioned how intrigued I am by the War and Peace Project. Lola Baltzell writes about “why War and Peace?” In her first post as follows:
I was a Russian studies major in college. I was drawn to learn Russian in part because I love the script. It took some week to learn how to read and write the letters. I loved the complexity of the grammar. All of my collage work involves script in various languages. I also liked the size of War and Peace. The edition we are using is in Russian and is in excess of 800 physical pages.
Seeing the “Team Tolstoy” project got me thinking about what books have been most influential in my life. The book that first opened all the keys to literature for me was The Sound and the Fury which I read in an honors high school English class. (I think it was the first honors class I got into so it was maybe my first exposure to big, big ideas),
I’d love to be doing this collage-for-every-page project using The Sound and the Fury. The story is told from multiple points of view, each character’s perspective on events interspersed with other the characters’ accounts, and not at all chronologically arranged. The novel is so difficult to parse out that Faulkner had wanted the book printed in different colors to assist the reader in identifying the strands of the novel. But, Faulkner’s publisher nixed that idea. (The Folio Society did print a multi-colored ink edition but only 1480 copies were printed and are all spoken for at this point.)
However, I need a longer block of time and more experience working in collage before I take a challenge of the magnitude of The Sound and the Fury.
Hence this shorter, smaller project. Book I of Euclid’s Elements is how I started my freshman year at St. John’s College. “Doing a proof” continues throughout the four years of St. John’s in many guises. So the Elements is a book that’s had a profound impact on my college career as well as the teaching career I have now. In fact, I would venture that every freshman at St. John’s College has a pivotal relationship with Euclid,, whether it be auspicious or atrocious.