Saturday, 13 August 2011

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

When I was doing my MA in Life Writing (the study of biography and autobiography) at the University of East Anglia a few years ago, one of the set texts on the Autobiography module was Rebecca West's 'Black Lamb and Grey Falcon'.

I remain bemused as to why exactly it was on the reading list, for at 1,150 pages, it is a massive tome. As it was set halfway through the module, I also found it impossible to finish if I was going to read the other texts as well. Somehow, though, I managed to write an essay on it. I don't think it was very good.

The book still fascinated me though. Part travelogue of Rebecca West's journeys through Yugoslavia and part social history of how the country came into being and what shaped it's people, it is truly an epic read.

I've decided that the time has come for me to finish it (I seem to be reading a lot of books on or by strong women at the moment), and therefore I plan to take you on the journey with me. I've no fixed plan on how this will take shape (I'm not entirely sure Rebecca West did either when she sat down to write ....) but hopefully it will give insight into what is a powerful book about a powerful and enthralling country.

1 comment:

Madhubanti said...

I think I was the only one reckless enough to actually finish it,although I make no claims for what/if I understood what I had read! The essay I wrote on it remains my most unsatisfying one, although it also testifies to my (now-honed) powers of academic blagging.
Anyway, M.A. nostalgia aside, I also remain fascinated by the book (and its writer), and of course, I too share your interest in strong literary women (writers and their creations alike). So, I look forward to going on your journey with you! :)