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Deserted Dessert Desert Island

I was speaking about desert island books with Lance Olsen last week. Which three would you choose? But for the sake of difficulty, there are rules. No Complete Works of Shakespeare – only one play or the sonnets, etc. Also Ulysses by Joyce is so widespread that if it is a pick of yours, simply leave an * at the end of your three picks. Also at least one of the three must be a small press book. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what a small press book is. Mine:

The Complete Poems of Wallace Stevens
King Lear
I Looked Alive
– Lutz

Olsen’s (we didn’t get so far)

The Unnameable – Beckett

18 thoughts on “Deserted Dessert Desert Island

  1. this was surprisingly difficult. i might switch out the faulkner with Kafka’s Diaries. does that count as a single work?

    but, here’s my list:

    Go Down, Moses – Faulkner
    On the Yard – Braly
    Nightwork – Schutt

  2. Why not the whole Beckett trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, +…), or was that considered cheating by your rules?

    I would say:

    Dante – Divine Comedy (if this is considered cheating [as above], then sub in Milton’s Paradise Lost)
    Complete Oxford English Dictionary
    Codex Seraphianus

  3. Also, Ulysses is kind of a poor choice, since realistically if would have to be

    1) James Joyce – Ulysses
    2) Don Gifford – Ulysses Annotated
    3) Harry Blamires – The Bloomsday Book

    which uses up your three slots right there…

      1. The Rousell is great, but there aren’t any good English translations (same problem exists with Locus Solus). Although I think Dalkey’s putting out new editions…? If so, it’s about time.

    1. Why the Faerie Queene? I just remember the Green Knight. Something about a Green Knight. Spenser’s on my reading list though, along with a lot of other epic poets. I’m excited to revisit it these many years later.

      1. I only know Sir Gawain from studying for the GREs back in the day… yeah: something about a Green Knight…

        I think The Faerie Queene is the great English epic — I prefer it over Paradise Lost…it’s a wonderfully labyrinthine text that splinters into many directions. And Spenser was a brilliant versifier and he played around with archaic diction to wondrous effect.

  4. But who needs books? A TV, a DVD player, a generator, and the back seasons of Survivor would be pretty good…

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