- Feb 28, 2009
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Sick fit, but... if you try to re-approach this with a more bookcore mindset, try uglier shoes. I'm mostly not joking. Derek put ugly shoes on the list for a reason. Tyrolean shoes and NBs are stupid-looking, yes, but in the best ways. It's almost like a paradox -- all the pretty dress shoes the CM hive mind loves are... still kinda nice, but sometimes harder to wear, more like pieces of art. Ugly shoes look dumb on your shelf, but blend into an outfit beautifully.I make no bones about being a huge fan of DWW and his website, and this latest post particularly spoke to me, as "bookcore" is pretty much the way I've been dressing for the last couple years, despite not having a proper term to describe it. Heres a pic I posted on the SW&D WAYWT thread a few months back which I think unintentionally fits well into this category. Everything is thrifted, though high quality stuff. Vintage raglan sleeve tweed coat, western pearl snap denim shirt, tweed jacket and trousers and vintage logger boots. View attachment 1742290
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I got the Egerton as well and here are my thoughts.I mean, I think Lyngstad's is the only decent translation available, right? I've never heard anyone rhapsodize about it, which doesn't necessarily mean that it's not worth rhapsodizing about. But I do know that it's supposed to be much better than the one it replaced, and this isn't a novel where there's a wealth of choice (as far as I know, which isn't terribly far). I've read it and liked it quite a bit, although haven't read the others so can't personally compare.
This is fascinating, thanks! When recommending the Lyngstadt translation, I was contrasting it to the Bly translation from the 60s, which was the standard translation prior to Lyngstadt’s. I had never heard anyone say anything, positively or negatively, about Egerton’s original translation, so had just assumed it was a period piece that was incredibly important for introducing much of the world to Hamsun, but didn’t have value as a work of its own beyond that. I’ll definitely revisit and revise that assumption based on your endorsement.I got the Egerton as well and here are my thoughts.
Lyngstadt goes for a decidedly modern (as in our generation) style. Punchy. Short sentences. Strip the fat. Contemporary words. It's effective. Turns the mood on a dim. Which Hamsun (and the stress-hallucinating narrator) do all the time. But... it's an author writing. I think a James Joyce style would have been more appropriate than writing in a hallucinating illiterate tramp. We lose some suspension of disbelief.
Egerton is, first, not Bowdlerised. Egerton was a pioneer of the women's sexual liberation movement! I feel like I should preface with this since this is the most common accusation. The style is very much of its time, a little Oscar Wilde by way of Jane Austen, or perhaps Orwell's parent. And Orwell uses that style to great effect in his earlier works, such as Burmese Days, which grips you by the throat and drags you to its conclusion keeping even the moments of intense boredom of the characters delightfully engaging. I'd argue the beginning of Keep the Aspidistra Flying, especially the Bovril rant, are certainly musty today - and before one can argue for this being deliberate (after all who keeps aspidistras today?) the narrator is supposed to transcend the middle class fashions he so disdains (or is this the point? maybe I'm too stupid to see it).
I don't speak Norwegian, and don't intend to learn (never say never). I look for the closest thing: a Norwegian of action from a century or two ago: Fridtjof Nansen, who froze his boat in Arctic ice for 2 years and drifted with it to get closer to the North Pole, and wrote 30,000 words thereafter in... English. And his work, which cannot be accused of being literature, is closer to Egerton than Lyngstadt.
This leaves the reader with an interesting choice: to trust Lyngstadt's vision, and enjoy a work that is transformed from the original, a modern person's vision? Or go for something closer to how people of the time would have communicated? I personally prefer the second, or rather see the first as its own work to be enjoyed separately (such as Nabokov's translation of Pushkin). So, I read both and would recommend it, after all, it's only 140 pages. They really result in quite different experiences.
I certainly agree about trying new things.Ugly, in this case, truly is in the eye of the beholder. While I don't have any Tyrolean shoes, I have a number of New Balance. I personally wouldn't call either stupid looking, and actually love the look of a good Tyrolean, I just haven't pulled the trigger on a pair yet. But again YMMV. I picked logger boots in this instance because they worked best for that fit. I think the problem with a large chunk of the CM crowd is that they are so stuck in their ways, they are afraid to try anything new. That is boring, sad, and deeply uncool in my opinion.
I started life on this forum on the CM side, where I learned all of the so called "rules". But it wasn't until I crossed over to the SWD side that clothes became truly enjoyable. And I think thats thats what I like most of this so called "bookcore", combining the best of both worlds into cohesive outfits that look good and are comfortable.
Hm, I don't know if I have anything interesting to say about ugly shoes. I like a lot of casualwear that's not conventionally attractive, such as Engineered Garments and Kapital. To me, funky footwear is just part of that vibe.
I didn't know who Tom Brady was (had to Google him). Is he the American David Beckham??Hm, I don't know if I have anything interesting to say about ugly shoes. I like a lot of casualwear that's not conventionally attractive, such as Engineered Garments and Kapital. To me, funky footwear is just part of that vibe.
I think it was Fran Lebowitz who said that the fashion industry is excellent at churning out clothes that are so ugly, they can only look good on extremely beautiful people. I actually find it to be the opposite. I think if you know you're not a conventionally handsome person (and I am not), then you may realize at some point that you don't look like a sexy Italian man in that sexy Italian clothing. You may not even feel like yourself in those clothes.
When I realized that I have physical limitations for looking conventionally attractive, I stopped caring about only conventionally attractive clothes. I also became more OK with wearing "ugly" things.
I actually find that conventionally attractive people look weird in offbeat casualwear. Like, imagine Tom Brady in Engineered Garments or Kapital. He would look super weird because there's such a disconnect between his conventional handsomeness and the offbeat quality of this clothing. Pete Davidson would do better in those clothes because he's kind of odd-looking. You can imagine him at Nepenthes, whereas I can only imagine Tom Brady at Tom Ford or whatever.
Anyway, since I like offbeat casualwear, I also like offbeat shoes. I'm sure I'm also influenced by Free & Easy, where Tyroleans and New Balances showed up on their pages for many years. I'm also interested in outfits that I think look "cool," however that's defined, and a lot of cool things are anti-mainstream (and thus anti-conventional in terms of aesthetics).
Ah, perhaps we are talking over each other there. By modern I mean, sort of, what is modern to the contemporaneous reader may not be to others.The one place where I’ll take slight exception is with your characterization of Lyngstadt’s style as “modern” and perhaps out of step with Hamsun’s own. Like you, of course, I don’t read Norwegian, so can’t personally verify the accuracy of these claims, but the consensus of those who do is that the Lyngstadt translation captures Hamsun’s style better than any of the other translations of his novels, Hunger or otherwise. Which doesn’t mean that it’s the best translation, of course, as I’m actually not opposed to translations that do something novel with a work. A Joycean Hamsun would, I agree, be wonderful, but Hamsun’s style isn’t Joyce’s.
Lyngstadt:He stopped directly, and we both stared at one another fixedly. "A halfpenny for milk!" he whined, twisting his head askew. So that was how the wind blew. I felt in my pockets and said: "For milk, eh? Hum-m--money's scarce these times, and I don't really know how much you are in need of it." "I haven't eaten a morsel since yesterday in Drammen; I haven't got a farthing, nor have I got any work yet!" "Are you an artisan?" "Yes; a binder." "A what?" "A shoe-binder; for that matter, I can make shoes too."
"Ah, that alters the case," said I, "you wait here for some minutes and I shall go and get a little money for you; just a few pence." I hurried as fast as I could down Pyle Street, where I knew of a pawnbroker on a second-floor (one, besides, to whom I had never been before). When I got inside the hall I hastily took off my waistcoat, rolled it up, and put it under my arm; after which I went upstairs and knocked at the office door. I bowed on entering, and threw the waistcoat on the counter. "One-and-six," said the man. "Yes, yes, thanks," I replied. "If it weren't that it was beginning to be a little tight for me, of course I wouldn't part with it." I got the money and the ticket, and went back. Considering all things, pawning that waistcoat was a capital notion. I would have money enough over for a plentiful breakfast, and before evening my thesis on the "Crimes of Futurity" would be ready. I began to find existence more alluring; and I hurried back to the man to get rid of him. "There it is," said I. "I am glad you applied to me first." The man took the money and scrutinized me closely. At what was he standing there staring? I had a feeling that he particularly examined the knees of my trousers, and his shameless effrontery bored me. Did the scoundrel imagine that I really was as poor as I looked? Had I not as good as begun to write an article for half-a-sovereign? Besides, I had no fear whatever for the future. I had many irons in the fire. What on earth business was it of an utter stranger if I chose to stand him a drink on such a lovely day? The man's look annoyed me, and I made up my mind to give him a good dressing-down before I left him. I threw back my shoulders, and said: "My good fellow, you have adopted a most unpleasant habit of staring at a man's knees when he gives you a shilling." He leant his head back against the wall and opened his mouth widely; something was working in that empty pate of his, and he evidently came to the conclusion that I meant to best him in some way, for he handed me back the money. I stamped on the pavement, and, swearing at him, told him to keep it.
Do you not find the former more believable? The style reminds me of the world of Charles Dickens. There is a story I read somewhere that when he worked at a shoe polish factory, he would carefully spend a long time cleaning his nails afterwards, for which he was mocked by the other workers. The outdated style and long form is a bit like Nansen going to the North Pole in furs and wool clothing with a wood ship. It's part of what makes it work because that story is a product of its constraints and circumstances and to fully retell the tale you'd need a new frame, which Lyngstadt does not provide.Without thinking, I took three or four furious strides forward, caught up with him and tapped him on the shoulder. He stopped short. We both stared at each other. ‘A bit of change for milk!’ he finally said, cocking his head. Well, now I was really in for it! I fumbled in my pockets and said, ‘For milk, right. Hmm. Money is scarce these days, and I don’t know how badly you may need it.’ ‘I haven’t eaten since yesterday, in Drammen,’ the man said. ‘I don’t have a penny and I’m still out of work.’ ‘Are you an artisan?’ ‘Yes, I am a welter.’ ‘A what?’ ‘A welter. For that matter, I can make shoes, too.’ ‘That alters the case,’ I said. ‘Just wait a few minutes and I’ll go and get some money for you, a few øre anyway.’ I hastened down Pilestrædet Lane, where I knew of a pawnbroker on the second floor, someone I had never been to before. When I got inside the gate I quickly took off my waistcoat, rolled it up and stuck it under my arm; then I walked up the stairs and knocked on the door to the shop. I made a bow and threw the waistcoat on the counter. ‘One krone and a half,’ the man said. ‘All right,’ I said. ‘If it weren’t for the fact that it’s getting a bit tight for me, I wouldn’t have parted with it.’ I got the money and the slip and retraced my steps. All things considered, this business with the waistcoat was an excellent idea; there would even be money to spare for an ample breakfast, and by evening my monograph about the crimes of the future would be ready. Life began to look sunnier right away, and I hastened back to the man to get rid of him. ‘Here you are,’ I said to him. ‘I’m glad you came to me first.’ He took the money and began to look me up and down. What did he stand there staring at? I had the impression that he examined especially the knees of my trousers, and I found this piece of impudence tiresome. Did that louse imagine I was really as poor as I looked? Hadn’t I just about started writing a ten-krone article? On the whole, I had no apprehensions about the future, I had many irons in the fire. So, what business was it of this total stranger if I handed out a gratuity on such a bright morning? The man’s stare annoyed me, and I decided to give him a piece of my mind before leaving him. Shrugging my shoulders, I said, ‘My dear man, you have fallen into a nasty habit of staring at a man’s knees when he gives you a krone’s worth of money.’ He leaned his head back against the wall, all the way, and opened his mouth wide. Something was stirring behind that tramp’s forehead of his; thinking, no doubt, that I meant to trick him in some way, he handed the money back to me. I stamped my feet, swearing he should keep it. Did he imagine I had gone to all that trouble for nothing?
For me at least, they don't qualify as ugly enough. They are just kind of normie / ordinary. Like Hush Puppies. I remember an author once describing a character as "heroically ugly" - with something like Tyroleans, their ugliness is undeniable, hence more interesting.i suppose Mephisto "ugly" shoes are part of the look...
Funnily enough, I've always though that EG's collaborative footwear has often been an aesthetic failure and doesn't really go with their own clothes very well. I'm also aware that I'm something of a minority in this...Hm, I don't know if I have anything interesting to say about ugly shoes. I like a lot of casualwear that's not conventionally attractive, such as Engineered Garments and Kapital. To me, funky footwear is just part of that vibe.
Galibiers worn in town qualify?For me at least, they don't qualify as ugly enough. They are just kind of normie / ordinary. Like Hush Puppies. I remember an author once describing a character as "heroically ugly" - with something like Tyroleans, their ugliness is undeniable, hence more interesting.
Ugliness is subjective I guess. You can be attracted or love something (or someone) ugly. As you seem interested by literature see Barbey d’Aurevilly « Une vieille maîtresse ».For me at least, they don't qualify as ugly enough. They are just kind of normie / ordinary. Like Hush Puppies. I remember an author once describing a character as "heroically ugly" - with something like Tyroleans, their ugliness is undeniable, hence more interesting.
Funnily enough, I've always though that EG's collaborative footwear has often been an aesthetic failure and doesn't really go with their own clothes very well. I'm also aware that I'm something of a minority in this...