Friday, October 30, 2009

The Classics

It's really hot today. Yesterday was vog (volcanic ash from the Big Island which blows down and creates a fog-like haze in the air), but today is just flat-out hot. I had errands. As I walked down the street, I can feel the sweat trickling down my back, and the AC of the Ross' is not enough to get rid of that feeling. But I wander through the aisles and find my favorite area: notebooks, cards and random decorative boxes.

To my delight, I see a bunch of faux books--open the cover to reveal an empty box. One is titled War and Peace, another says Lady with an Ermine on the spine, with a reproduction of Da Vinci's painting on the "cover." There was also Treasure Island and a few others.

It started me thinking about my favorite classics. I've read a good number of them, but there are only a few from those long-dead authors that I either kept or bought my own copy, and would reread (given the time, the never-read books take precedence).

What immediately comes to mind: Frankenstein, both the more common 1831 version, and the earlier 1818 edition. The differences don't jump to mind (something about Elizabeth is different, I recall), but I loved seeing how the story changed in those years. I even did a project on it for a class on the Wordsworths and Shelleys.

I'm also a fan of Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost, although the latter was sort of dense to get through when I read it (for high school, which I don't think many people can say--we had to read both books over the summer). Edgar Allen Pow's The Tell-Tale Heart, Coleridge's The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. I love John Keats' poetry (I have another blogspot from a project a year back). Beowulf I love, especially after translating it. Native Son, although it was sort of dark (I wrote down the page number every time I saw a reference to African-Americans as 'dark' or animal-like, far too many), as was Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I also like The Odyssey, but I always have a hard time reading it through to the end (I skip around or just don't finish, don't tell my professors from six years ago).

Any absolute favorite classics of yours?


asakiyume said...

i actually liked Anna Karenina and War and Peace a lot, though I haven't reread them.

Sabrina said...

I haven't read either of those yet. I did have a friend read Moby Dick in high school, though. He was science-minded, didn't care for English classes, but that wouldn't have been my choice for leisure reading. I think I'm more partial to the Gothics and Romantics when it comes to the classics. (Unintentional rhyming -ics there.)