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?

2 comments:

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.)