Saturday, 16 July 2011

Malc's Readings in the Modern Library

It was super thoughtful of you to send the list of books: the Modern Library always afflicts me with nameless and wonderful senses of early draughts and distillings: McTeague I think was the first book I ever read, the the Seven That Were Hanged the second, both in Modern Library editions my brother, come back from Dallas, gave me. Letter to Albert Erskine 24 June 1947

Frank Norris McTeague 1899

McTeague is a novel by Frank Norris, first published in 1899. It tells the story of a couple's courtship and marriage, and their subsequent descent into poverty, violence and finally murder as the result of jealousy and avarice. The book was the basis for Erich von Stroheim's film, Greed. Read more on Wikipedia

Malc doesn't mention Von Stroheim's Greed in his work or letters which is surprising because he was an admirer of his work. Greed (1924) was starred Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt, Dale Fuller, Tempe Pigott, Sylvia Ashton, Chester Conklin, Joan Standing and Jack Curtis.

The plot follows a dentist whose wife wins a lottery ticket, only to become obsessed with money. When her former lover betrays the dentist as a fraud, all of their lives are destroyed. The movie was adapted by von Stroheim (shooting screenplay) and Joseph Farnham (titles) from the 1899 novel McTeague by Frank Norris. (The onscreen writing credit for June Mathis was strictly a contractual obligation to her on the part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the parent studio), as she was not actually involved in the production.) Originally over ten hours long, Greed was ultimately edited against von Stroheim's permission to about two and a half hours, and the full-length version is a lost film. Read more on Wikipedia

Leonid Nikolaievich Andreyev The Seven That Were Hanged 1908

Leonid Nikolaievich Andreyev 1871-1919 was a Russian playwright, novelist and short-story writer. He is one of the most talented and prolific representatives of the Silver Age period in Russian history. Andreyev's style combines elements of realist, naturalist and symbolist schools in literature. Read more on Wikipedia

The Seven That Were Hanged depicts the fates of five terrorists foiled in their attack and two common peasants who have received death sentences. These condemned men are awaiting their executions by hanging. In prison, each of the prisoners deals with his fate in his own way.

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