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Faculty Library Spotlight: Dr. Larson Powell

This month, we've partnered with Dr. Larson Powell to display written works he loves. Powell, a Film Studies professor at UMKC, chose his reading list from diverse works he loves to read and reread.


You can visit the display throughout May on the library’s first floor between the service desk and café. Every book is available for checkout, so grab whatever looks best!


A Note from Dr. Powell: 


In German, a partner or companion is a Lebensgefährte, ‘life’s (fellow) traveler.’ Books can be this too; one reads and rereads them at different stages in life, keeps them in one’s library, with a date and place in the frontispiece noting where (on what trip) one acquired them.


As in pieces of music, they have particular sections that are especially moving, recognized like an old friend every time one goes back to them; as in geology, one’s own changed experience of life uncovers new strata at each reading. Beloved passages of poems or novels are like lighthouses in one’s life, remembered at moments of great difficulty or joy. This is why Borges thought that his favorite books “spoke of him:” we might not know who we are as individuals if we had not found our writer-soulmates to tell us.



This collection is of books that were important to me outside the classroom, over many years, in various languages studied and learned with more or less fluency; every one has led me to spend time trying to read the work in the original, to catch its tone of voice and enter its imagined world more fully. (If I had also included philosophy, the list would have become longer.)


Dr. Powell's Reading List:


Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time 

Franz Kafka, stories

Philippe Sollers, Drame/Event

Francis Ponge, Le Parti pris des Choses/Taking the Side of Things

Czeslaw Milosz, Native Land

Cyprian Kamil Norwid, poems

Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin

Charles Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil

Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell

Stéphane Mallarmé, poems

André Breton, Nadja

Gottfried Benn, Primal Vision

Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities

Mikhail Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

Alain Robbe-Grillet, In the Labyrinth

James Joyce, Ulysses

Natsume Soseki, Kokoro

Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber)

Antonin Artaud, The Theater and its Double

Georges Bataille, Inner Experience

Andrei Platonov, Chevengur

Marina Tsvetaeva, poems

Yevgeny Zamyatin, stories

Rainer Maria Rilke, poems

Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Siebenkäs or The Titan

Goethe, Elective Affinities 

E.T.A. Hoffmann, stories/tales

Stendhal, The Charterhouse of Parma

Henry James, The Wings of the Dove

Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

Strindberg, A Dream Play or The Ghost Sonata

Poems of the Late T’ang, translated by Angus Graham


Posted: May 10, 2019