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Classic Literature

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WANTED: Info/Download of "A Note on Vrony's Grave" (book by author of Heidi) [22 Sep 2012|07:44pm]

When poking about for information about the author of the celebrated children's book Heidi, I found references to an interesting work by the same author- "A Note on Vrony's Grave", which deals with the unusual topic of domestic violence.

It must certainly be in the public domain by now, but I can't find a download of it- or even an adequate summary online. Most of the search results are just verbatim rehashes of its mention in Johanna Spyri's Wikipedia entry... I found the idea of the Heidi authoress writing on the topic of domestic violence interesting enough, but the great difficulty I'm having in trying to find the book makes it even more appealing to me...

Has anyone read "A Note on Vrony's Grave", or found a place to download it? I'd be glad even to have a summary from someone who's read it...
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Typo that made me LOL [15 Mar 2010|10:45am]

I picked up the Puffin Classics version of Little Women recently. There is a line in Ch. 37 that reads, "The set in which they found themselves was composed of English, and Amy was compelled to walk decorously through a cotillion, feeling all the while as if she could dance the tarantella with relish."

In the edition I had, she wanted to dance the Tarantula.

Now, while I'm relieved that she didn't want to dance the Black Widow or the Brown Recluse, I still boggled. Penguin Classics had the same error.
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[13 Mar 2010|09:36am]

Hi all. I've been trying to read Crime and Punishment, and suffice to to say it isn't going very well. I wonder if the problem may be my translation. Can anybody recommend some English translations of Crime and Punishment that they found particularly well done?
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Help! [04 May 2009|02:52pm]

[ mood | curious ]

For the summer, I plan on reading a few more of the classics. However, I can't decide which ones. I'm hoping you guys will help me out with that. I tend to like Greek mythology/epics/etc, anything that is at least a little dark and twisted and reinvented/reimagined ideas on religion. But I have fairly diverse tastes when it comes to my preferred reading so I'm completely open to suggestions and not looking for anything in particular. 

Any favorites that you have that you think would be a good read? What is it about and why do you like it so much?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


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A question for Jane Austen fans. [01 Mar 2009|04:15pm]
I've noticed that a vast majority of Jane Austen fans claim Persuasion to be their favourite novel of hers. I keep wondering why this is. I've read five of her novels and personally, I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice the most because it was the most humorous and witty, had a fast-paced plot with lots of conflict and tension as well as the most piquant characters. Although, it's really hard for me to pick a favourite Jane Austen novel. I strongly adore Anne Elliot for her elegance, subtlety, and sophistication, but I wouldn't say the plot of Persuasion was the most entertaining of Austen's novels.

So, to the members of this community whose favourite Austen novel is Persuasion, I'd like to know why it is your favourite?
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The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall [20 Feb 2009|09:47am]

[ mood | curious ]

I can't decide whether or not I liked it or hated it.

I loved the writing, but I hated the content and I hated Stephen even more.

Am I the only one who felt that way about this book?

( comment at my journal, please! )

Emma by Jane Austen [01 Jan 2009|11:31pm]

[ mood | happy ]

I just finished reading Emma by Jane Austen.

I absolutely loved it, and I was wondering what other people thought.

( Please follow the link to comment! )

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov [01 Jan 2009|04:08pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

I just finished reading Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and I absolutely loved it. I went on Amazon and read many of the reviews and I was sad to see that so many people were disappointed with it. I'll admit that I found the ending a little anti-climactic, but the rest of the story was so phenomenal I can't bring myself to think any less of it.

I'm wondering if anyone else is familiar with this story and if so, what were your thoughts and opinions?

22 comments|post comment

Jane Austen [30 Dec 2008|06:43pm]
[ mood | curious ]

The only novel of hers that I have actually read has been Pride & Prejudice. I admit that I was less than enthralled by it. The secondary characters are my only real reason for entertaining the idea of reading it more than one time.

However, I am wondering if I am being too hard on Jane Austen and should give her another chance. I have thought about giving Sense & Sensibility a try during my next delving into Austen novels.

What would my fellow classic literature fans recommend?

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A Tale of Two Cities [28 Nov 2008|02:45am]
[ mood | frustrated ]

I'm having difficulties making much headway in A Tale of Two Cities and I've had it for almost two months now. I'm a little over 100 pages in, but I find the plot seemingly a bit dull. I love Dickens' prose and whatnot, but the story isn't grabbing me to the point where I must know what is going on and read if it means sacrificing sleep to do so. I kind of feel this way whenever I try to read a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I never finish those even though I love the writing.

Usually I'd give up at this point, but I'm hoping that something will happen soon to draw me in.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin [16 Nov 2008|11:25am]
[ mood | enthralled ]

Wow, I've just finished reading this great book! It's taken me a long time to get through this title because I'd find it so depressing that I would put it back on the shelf for long stretches before perusing it again. Yet a website I like to visit had it for the book of the month discussion so I gained renewed determination to finish it.

Although it is usually something I dislike doing, I have been marking some of the passages that struck me as I was reading them with a pencil. And I've added a few notes in the margins of what I thought when I read certain paragraphs.

This has been a book which I felt I knew a great deal about its conception and much of the major events in the story, but after having read the entire text I wonder how I have gone so long without having given in to it until recently. I keep wondering how the passions of 19th century readers stirred at reading Stowe's incendiary prose that condemned not only the institution's practice in the South but the apathy and disdain of the North.

Do people still want to see Stowe's novel banned? The thought reminded me of a quote I found online that said it was attributed to Oscar Wilde: "The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame."

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recs? [09 Oct 2008|12:55am]

Hello, I'm new here and I'm looking for recommendations. It's been awhile since I read anything that could be classified as "classic literature". I was an English major in college and miss it so much. Here is a list that may help in giving me recommendations:

Books/Authors I Really, Really Like:
Anything by Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, Harper Lee, and Laura Ingalls Wilder
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith
Wives and Daughters and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
The House of Mirth and The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Antigone by Sophocles
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Howards End and A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Metamorphosis and The Trial by Franz Kafka
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Life with Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Authors I Can't Stand Even Though I Know They're Great Writers: John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Daniel Defoe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, William Golding, W. Somerset Maugham

Hope you can help feed my craving for classics! ;)
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Dipping into the classics. [06 Oct 2008|09:42pm]
[ mood | geeky ]

I have a confession to make. I often forget just how much I enjoy reading classic literature.

For an online book discussion I've started Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'm only a couple of chapters into it, but I do like his style of writing and his descriptions.

I caught the tail end of A Tale of Two Cities on Turner Classic Movies a few weeks ago and was intrigued. So now I have the book and have been reading on it as well. I'm on the second part now. I've waited too long to read Dickens beyond A Christmas Carol. Yeah, I've always wanted to read Oliver Twist though. I blame Disney!

Anyway, falling in love with classics again!

4 comments|post comment

Review - Anna Karenina; Leo Tolstoy [11 Sep 2008|11:17am]


Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy (Translator: Constance Garnett)
Fiction; Classic Literature
Edition: Signet, 960 pgs
Anna Karenina is the classic tale of a married 18th-century Russian woman who falls in love with another man, leaves her husband and child for him, then has to face the consequences of those actions. This was my first Tolstoy to finish (been reading War & Peace on and off for a little while now, but am not even close to finishing) and even though the English translation was choppy, I liked the basic story and admire Tolstoy’s determination to write about a subject so controversial at that time and so far removed from his own life, in that he’s trying to tell what is very much a uniquely woman’s story (a married person falling in love with someone else is not unique to women, of course, but the consequences are certainly different, particularly in the era in which Tolstoy is writing). 
I enjoyed this book and it held my attention throughout, but it has some major flaws, the main one being that it’s like flipping back and forth between two entirely different novels. One is the story of Anna and her torment over her love for Kostya; the other is the story of Lev, a familial connection of Anna’s who spends many, many pages giving us every detail of his conflicting emotions over various philosophical, political and sociological points, none of which have anything whatsoever to do with Anna’s story. How are these two plot points related? Good question! I see NO real connection between Lev and Anna’s stories besides the very thin one of their being related by marriage. Supposedly, the character of Lev is based largely on Tolstoy himself, and if so, he should have saved it for his autobiography and not used Anna’s story as a platform for his personal ramblings. It’s not that Lev’s story wasn’t interesting. It was just a different book.
The parts that did relate to exploring the actions and emotions of Anna, her husband and her lover were fairly well done. Aside from the fact that there was too much of Lev’s story and it detracted from Anna’s, it also seemed like Tolstoy had to struggle to try and get into a woman’s head and heart to speak for her. For a man of any generation and culture to try and convey the emotions of a woman is a feat in and of itself, though (and the same goes for women writers who try to write from a male point of view) and he did it as well as can be expected. 

I won’t give anything away, but let me just say that I’m also a little conflicted about the famous ending. On the one hand I can genuinely appreciate it as the outcome of one particular story that is not necessarily how someone else’s story with the same events would have ended, but I also can’t help but feel that it’s an almost misogynistic conclusion one might expect from a man of that generation and culture. That sounds so militantly feminist but I can’t help it! That’s just how it struck me. Still, one can’t deny its dramatic effect. 
There is a new translation of AK out written by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, and it’s been getting a lot of attention via Oprah’s Book Club and book reviewers. I’m not likely to re-read AK anytime soon, but I might pick up their translation of War & Peace to see if it flows better than the one I have. At any rate, everyone is saying that if you’re planning to read English translations of either Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, the Pevear/Volokhonsky versions best capture the original feel. 
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[15 Aug 2008|10:10pm]


A query relating to Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' and the character of Gertrude.Collapse )
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Russian Literature [08 Aug 2008|07:58pm]

As I'm sure some of you have heard, Russian Soviet-era author Alexander Solzhenitsyn passed away on Sunday. His novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was the book that started my love affair with Russian literature, from Gogol to Nabokov.

Solzhenitsyn's death also happened to coincide with my finishing reading a novel by one of my all-time favorite authors: Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. It was interesting to think about the two conflicting views of imprisonment in Russia. Dostoevsky's Siberia which is a source of spiritual redemption, and the nearly soul-crushing existance in a soviet labor camp.

Other Russian lit. fans, who are your favorite authors? What novels and stories stand out in your mind? Why?

x-posted to talkbooks
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[08 Aug 2008|02:44am]

Quick Jane Austen question. Does anyone know why she would name a character with her own first name (Jane, from Pride and Prejudice)? It seems like an author wouldn't want to do something like that because it'd cause a lot of speculation. There are plenty of names out there, after all.

Similarly, I wonder why she would give both Darcy and his cousin the same name (Fitzwilliam). Odd.
5 comments|post comment

[24 Jul 2008|04:24am]

I've been reading a lot of Jane Austen's works lately and I just saw the Becoming Jane film.  I have two questions.

1.  Do we know anything from Jane Austen's letters about what her politics might have been?  I know that it was considered rude to speak of politics in mixed company and it was generally seen as something women didn't involve themselves in...but I know from reading Sense and Sensibility that she does know about the finer points of politics at the time and I'm sure she had an opinion.

2.  And now for a turn into the completely shallow and vulgar!  How much do we really know about Thomas LeFroy?  Did Jane Austen die a virgin?  I can't help but feel a little sad at the prospect.
9 comments|post comment

Review - David Copperfield; Charles Dickens [21 Jul 2008|02:28pm]


David Copperfield
Charles Dickens
Fiction; Classic Literature

My favorite Dickens novel, and one I pull out again every few years for a re-read. I’m probably drawn to it at least partly because of Dickens’ own partiality to it - he was quoted as calling it his “favorite child”, and much of the material is said to be inspired by his own life experiences. It’s the kind of tale rarely told anymore: just a simple, unvarnished, yet detailed portrayal of a life. Reading it is like perusing the diary of a person much like ourselves – someone who just lives his or her life from day to day, peppered with their own small dramas and adventures, with few things particularly tremendous or earth-shattering on any large scale, except to that person. The Story of Me, so to speak. Again, not the kind of story told very often anymore, presumably due to our need for more far-reaching plot lines and reading experiences that take us out of our normal range of experience. In the Victorian period, however, the serial novel – produced in bits via magazines – were the fad of the day, so readers looked forward to everyday goings-on of the young David Copperfield, whom we get to know, literally, from birth. 

In what I think of as classic Dickens
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Motivational boost here we come [14 Jul 2008|10:57pm]

I've planned for quite a while to read some of the Russian classics and thought to start with Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. Now that it's summer and holidays, though, I find myself indulging in The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Hypocrite's Golden Book of Manners and Dorothy Sayers detective stories...

I'm sure many of you have read Crime and Punishment and can give it the proper value... Why would you recommend it? What makes it worth reading, what makes it a classic? I've been hesitant about looking around the net, I've got bitter memories from a deceptive article which spoiled the main mystery of The Name of the Rose. Out of the blue. x.x; He ought to be hanged, the ignorant journalist...
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