Monday, April 01, 2013

Most popular posts

While messing about because my man-flu leaves me incapable of doing anything useful, I came across the Google list of the most popular pages on this blog. They make interesting reading:

Racism in Heart of darkness 2810 hits
Scotland by Alastair Reid 2069 hits
Suttree by Cormac McCarthy 1697 hits
Sanctuary by William Faulkner 1178 hits
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 953 hits
Life of Pi by Yann Martel 895 hits
Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner 845 hits
Homer and Langley by EL Doctorow 814 hits
Impressionism: Sensation and Inspiration 809 hits
Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse 790 hits

I'm not surprised by number one on the list. It's my bugbear at the start of every academic year, kids googling "racism in Heart of Darkness". Chinua Achebe, who died last week, is simply wrong to state that Heart of Darkness is a racist novel, and I hate the fact that generations of students are being taught this masterpiece almost solely, it seems, in terms of whether or not it is racist.

Scotland is a poem by Alastair Reid which is linked to quite regularly from Facebook and other groups, so I'm not surprised by that one either. Suttree is clearly the most popular of my reviews of Cormac McCarthy, which does surprise me somewhat. I would have expected the Border Trilogy or Blood Meridian to be more searched for. Two Wiliam Faulkners on the list is very interesting. I had supposed Faulkner was falling out of fashion, but perhaps I'm wrong.

I can see why The Bell Jar is popular. Plath remains a cult author and, of course, it has recently been the fiftieth anniversary of her suicide so she's been in the news. And it's a brilliant novel, so I'm pleased people are reading it. I imagine most searchers for Life of Pi are looking for the recent film, rather than the novel. Homer and Langley is an interesting one. For some reason, I get a lot of hits from French readers looking for "Homer et Langley". I don't know why the story of these two Americans should be so popular in France. Anyone know?

Impressionism: Sensation and Inspiration was an exhibition in Amsterdam. I don't know why that one should be so searched for. Finally, we have Steppenwolf. Again, I would have thought that Hesse was largely out of favour, and I'm surprised to see so many people searching for him.

Altogether, an interesting list. And there are notable omissions too. I've written about Roth, Updike, Marilynne Robinson and others on here. Perhaps it's just that there is so much already written about them that people don't find their way to this particular, obscure part of the internet.

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