Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:11 pm
Let's talk about classic books!
I just finished Trollope's "Doctor Thorne" and wouldn't mind trading a few thoughts with anyone familiar with the story.
Hazlitt, I'm not familiar with Trollope's writings. My reason for posting here is at least threefold: an abiding interest in books, reading, most things "literate"; the classics - but I not sure if my classification fits (more in a moment); and I have a penchant for answering Interactions which have received few replies over a period of time.
The Classics - What books would you include, jespah? Our Book Club has recently read "Oliver Twist" - marvelous lively discussion in-depth! Also, the preceding "assignment" was "Midsummer Night's Dream." Ditto for the participation there ... PLUS we went to see a super stage performance just as we had finished reading and discussing the play.
Most of the chosen books I've read cover to cover. Only one I've not been able to stay with - the present "I Know This Much Is True." Due Jan. 16 - don't think I'll make it.
jespah, excellent idea but please define classics. my personal favorite would be Par Lagerqvist but i am not sure he would be in the context of "classic".
I love many of the classics - but 'tis a broad topic - any narrowing the field down a bit?
Classic: A book people praise and don't read. ....Mark Twain
Well, I was mainly thinking of the kinds of works that are normally covered in a standard literature survey course in college (and no, I haven't read all of these). E. g.
* The Iliad
* The Odyssey
* Huckleberry Finn
* Moby Dick
* The Magic Mountain
* Last of the Mohicans
* The Return of the Native
* Pride & Prejudice
* Madame Bovary
* Heart of Darkness
* 1,000 Years of Solitude
* A Tale of Two Cities
These don't all have to be by Dead White Males and certainly they don't have to all be written originally in English.
And it goes without saying, albeit such has hardly ever kept me from speaking up, The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy, Gent.
And, another e.g. of a non-White Male, though otherwise sufficiently dead, Middlemarch
ah ha i think i get the drift, so putting in my nominations:
The Dwarf-by Par Lagerqvist
The Glass Bead Game- by Herman Hesse
Heart of Darkness-by Joseph Conrad
The Stanger-by Albert Camus
I'm currently reading "Nicholas Nickleby". Not sure that counts as a classic, but I want to read it before I see the film.
I recently re-read "The Odyssey". Hadn't read it since freshman Lit & Comp. The scene with Odysseus washing up on the beach and being rescued by Nausicaa and her serving girls still got to me!
Oh, man, I read The Dwarf (if it's what I'm thinking of) in High School. I recall the teacher compared the dwarf to war. That reminds me, Machiavelli's The Prince is probably also a classic.
Global or American classics
Here are some classics I found for a foreign literature course, I'm thinking of taking:
The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Unknown Masterpiece
Tribute to Freud
Cat and Mouse
Don't know if I'll take the course...
Well, my take would be
Fielding, The History of Tom Jones
Dickens, Oliver Twist
Stendahl, Red and Black
Tolstoi, War and Piece
Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quichotte
Fontane, Effi Briest
von Grimmelshausen, Simplicissimus
NH, the only ones of those that I've read are Steppenwolf and The Aeneid.
Oh, definitely, classics from any country. There probably aren't a heckuva lot of American classics. Aside from Twain, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Melville, maybe Stowe, who are our classic American writers? I'm talking about fiction here, and I'd say to be a classic, it's got to be fairly old. Let's say at least 40 years old, just to have a date defined. I think that fits in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 at the tail end.
Eek, Don Quixote, a book that I read and kept thinking, "what's so great about this?" But that's just me.
Definitely Tolstoy, Stendahl and Goethe. Probably nearly everything ever written by Dickens. I don't know Fontane, Effi Briest or von Grimmelshausen, Simplicissimus. Can you shed some light on these, Walter? Thanks.
Don Quixote I have sitting staring at me..eventually I ll get to it.
I have collections of Dickens, Twain, Steinbeck, Poe, Hemmingway, Twain, The Illiad and the Odessey- and consider those as Classics myself.
Treasure Island I think hasnt been mentioned.
Lots of good ones in the list already...lovely.
Jespah, the American classics list should also include Henry James and maybe Edith Wharton. Stowe can probably go; she's known for one book which has more value as a political document than a literary masterpiece. Henry David Thoreau, on the other hand, was both a political writer and a great stylist.
(Don't mean to be so pedantic, but this period of American lit is what I devoted/wasted my youth on, many years ago...)
Grimmelshausen, Hans Jacob Christian von,
Jacob Christoph also spelled Jakob Christoffel born 1621/22, Gelnhausen, near Frankfurt am Main
died Aug. 17, 1676, Renchen, Strasbourg
German novelist, whose Simplicissimus series is one of the masterworks of his country's literature. Satirical and partially autobiographical, it is a matchless social picture of the often grotesque Thirty Years' War (1618-48).
(I like it especially, because
a) some stories here acted in my region,
b) when we did it in school ["hundreds" of pages!], I was loud laughing at some episode. The teacher was very pleased that I could laugh as if I hadn't read this. He was very right.])
born Dec. 30, 1819, Neuruppin, Brandenburg
died Sept. 20, 1898, Berlin
writer who is considered the first master of modern Realistic fiction in Germany.
Fontane produced his best work after he became the drama critic for the liberal newspaper Vossische Zeitung and was freed from the earlier conservative restraint. Turning to the novel late in life, he wrote, at the age of 56, Vor dem Sturm (1878; Before the Storm), considered to be a masterpiece in the genre of the historical novel. He portrayed the Prussian nobility both critically and sympathetically. His aim was, as he said, "the undistorted reflection of the life we lead." In several of his novels Fontane also dealt with the problem of women's role in domestic life; L'Adultera (1882; The Woman Taken in Adultery), Irrungen, Wirrungen (1888; "Trials and Tribulations"; Eng. trans. Entanglements), Frau Jenny Treibel (1893), and Effi Briest (1895) are among his best. Effi Briest, in particular, is known for its superb characterization and the skillful portrayal of the milieu of Fontane's native Brandenburg. His other major works are Der Stechlin (1899), which is noted for its charming style, and Schach von Wuthenow (1883; A Man of Honor), in which he portrays the weaknesses of the Prussian upper class." (encyclopædia britannica)