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April Updates

Friday April 11, 2014

Hello, hello, readers!

These last few weeks have been rather busy, but much new content has still made its way onto the Classic Literature website.  Below, you will find a number of book reviews/summaries for some excellent pieces of classic literature, as well as an exploration of the term "pastoral."

Literary terminology is something I hope to explore much more often in the coming weeks and months, as it is common to hear words and phrases pertaining to literature being bandied about, but do we all know what these terms mean, or how they have changed over time?  I may also create a list of my favorite dictionaries/glossaries of literary terms, for those of you who are interested in learning more.

Topics & Terms: Pastoral Literature

Review: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Review: The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway

Review: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

Review: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Review: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Review: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Review: Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

I have received some requests, via email, for explorations of certain literary periods, such as the British Romantic.  In the coming weeks, I'll do my best to create a list of those topics you all have expressed interested in, and provide some posts geared specifically to your questions.  I hope that will prove helpful & interesting!


Spring Into Classics!

Tuesday March 25, 2014

Happy Spring! (Or so they tell me...)

Word around town is that the first day of Spring was Thursday, March 20th.  It's hard to imagine, as we're still "enjoying" temperatures about 10-15 degrees below average here in the Midwestern United States.  Today, we're experiencing a balmy 27 degree "Spring" day.  It's always fun to wake up to snow when it's not even winter anymore!

All rants aside, I'm thrilled that Spring is technically here.  This season is one of renewal, and with it I find that I'm always drawn to the Classics again.  Sometimes, I like to revisit old favorites, like Thomas Hardy and John Steinbeck.  Every so often, though, I find myself feeling a "Spring-like" desire to experience something fresh and new, a Classic author I've never explored or  a particular famous Classic work of literature that I've yet to attempt.

These days, I've had my eye on that copy of George Eliot's Middlemarch that sits on my shelf, unread all these years. It's a secret I share with only you, Classic Lit readers, as how could I, an "Expert" in the field not have read this one yet?? I have read and thoroughly enjoyed other Eliot works, but this one, her masterpiece, waits and waits.

So, what is it about some books that makes us feel so apprehensive?  I have read Moby Dick, War and Peace, and Ulysses, and have loved all of them. It's hard to imagine, then, that I'd have a mental block against any book, right?  Yet, there are mounds of them in my study that have sat untouched (well, unread) for years and years.

Do you experience this, too?  What books have you been meaning to read for years, but just haven't mustered the courage to begin, yet?

St. Patrick's Day: Luck of the Irish

Wednesday March 19, 2014

On Monday, we in the United States (and many around the world) celebrated St. Patrick's Day.  In the U.S., the festivities typically include parades, rivers dyed green, parties, games, and of course plenty of Irish stouts and whiskeys.

In the literary world, we can celebrate another element of Irish heritage, writers and their works!  Recently, I posted an article on the "Top 10" Irish Classics.  This is a list of some of the most well-known, well-received, and/or influential works written by Irish and Anglo-Irish authors in the last few centuries.

More than this, though, the books on this list are ones I believe anyone with an interest in classic literature would benefit from experiencing. We are lucky to have them!

Do you have a favorite Irish writer, or a favorite book or poem by an Irish writer? If so, I would love to hear about it!  Leave a comment below, and also check out these other recently published articles:

Review: Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet

Guide: The Circles of Hell in Dante's Inferno

Trivia: Shakespeare Said That?

Women's History Month

Sunday March 9, 2014

This month in the United States is Women's History Month.  Yesterday, March 8th, was also International Women's Day, celebrated by Google with a wonderfully uplifting, culturally diverse, "Google Doodle," (or, in this case, music video).  Here at About's Classic Lit site, we, too are celebrating women.  Some recent articles about Classic Women Writers include:

10 Profound Thoughts from Classic Women Writers

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

Unconventional Heroines from Classic Literature

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

While I am not one who typically qualifies writers into categories, such as gender, nationality, etc., instead preferring to think about literary periods, movements, and influence (as well as, simply, "personal favorites,"), still I think it is important to recognize and celebrate writers who have been or continue to be marginalized in some way, despite their brilliant talent and works.

Some of my favorite (Classic) Women Writers include: Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Jane Austen, Flannery O'Connor, Charlotte Bronte, Edith Wharton, and George Eliot.

Who are some of your favorites?  Or, to put it another way, what is your favorite work of classic literature written by a woman?

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