This month’s question from The Classics Club is super specific, but after almost two years I guess they would have to be start getting specific.
Contemplate your favorite classic to date. When was the book written? Why would you say it has been preserved by the ages? Do you think it will still be respected/treasured 100 years from now?
My immediate thought was any of Jane Austen’s novels and those will definitely be around for many years to come. Her wit and way with words is excellently placed when she was living but her stories and characters have a timelessness about them. So I went to my next thought, the works of Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
This month’s question from The Classics Club is a great one! I’ve struggled with many of the other questions and this one wasn’t any different. I loved the reflection required and as with the other questions asked so far, I’ve looked outside of what I’ve read for the club to find an answer, but perhaps not the answer. This month the moderators have asked us
What is your favorite “classic” literary period and why?
For me it’s hard to explain as geography/location/setting plays a bigger role in books for me than time period, but I realized that a lot of the books I thoroughly enjoy that qualify as classics are from the mid 1900s, but not the standard books. I was thinking along the lines of Bastard Out of Carolina, The Color Purple, To Kill A Mockingbird and anything by Carson McCullers and Truman Capote.
Fair warning: 1) This isn’t meant to be offensive or dismissive; 2) I got distracted and went off on a tangent; 3) This is probably not the most well thought out post I’ve ever written; and 4) I think these types of dialogue building questions are important and as I mention near the end, this is just a gut response.
“Dead white guys” are all too often the focus when it comes to discussions of the Western Canon. We’d love to see members highlight classic works or authors that are overlooked in the canon that deserve recognition. Pick one/or more and tell us how their work resonates for our century and/or for you. As always, you determine what is a “classic” in your point of view, including works from 2000+, and works from anywhere in the world. // Or, if you have trouble thinking of an author/work to highlight, you could simply discuss the topic itself: What is “The Western Canon” — have you thought about who/what determines which works are recognized from human history?”
As someone who is pale (white), male (born), and will one day be stale (old) not to mention western (American), I’m not sure how to think about this question. I do completely understand the necessity of asking the question and the vital importance of broadening the definition of classics, but for some reason the way the question is phrased it got under my pale skin. ;)
As with my other monthly posts I’ve taken a two (almost three) month hiatus from participating. However, I figured a new year, a new time to try again!
For January the hosts of the Classics Club have chosen another user submitted question:
“Which character from classic literature is most important or influential to you and why? Or which character do you most despise and why?”
Now once again I have to ask why didn’t they chose an easier question! Even if I limit myself solely to those Classics on my list, or even more so those I’ve read only since starting the project I’m still hard pressed to narrow down my choice.
And with this book I completed ALL of my reading challenges this year! I will do a wrap up post (year, challenge and month) on either the 31st or 1st, but for the record this was the 11th book of the Back to the Classics Challenge, the 6th book (but 8th counted – two were double) for the Tea and Books Reading Challenge and the 25th Mount TBR book!
But what is MOST shocking is how much I enjoyed this novel. There were portions I hated that I think were decisions of the translator and there were definitely parts that were beyond boring (the war parts, obviously), but overall I actually am glad I read this book and the investment of just over three weeks was definitely worth it. I’m not going to lie and say that I was excited about this novel and I won’t even say that it was easy, but I was a bit confused after reading this in the forward:
“The first readers of War and Peace were certainly surprised, but often also bewildered and even dismayed by the book. They found it hard to identify the main characters, to discover anything like a plot, to see any connection between episodes, to understand the sudden leaps from fiction to history, from narration to philosophizing. There seemed to be no focus, no artistic unity to the work, no real beginning, and no resolution. It was as if the sheer mass of detail overwhelmed any design Tolstoy might have tried to impose on it.” (loc. 140)
I didn’t think that the novel was that confusing. I can definitely see where the characters names are confusing! The introduction discusses the multitude of ways a character’s name can be modified and that did cause me to stop a few times but if I kept reading the context clues almost immediately told me who Tolstoy referred to.