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Have you ever hated a classic? : Book Discussion • Page 9 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Have you ever hated a classic?

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cosivantutte
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby cosivantutte » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:42 pm


cynfranks
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby cynfranks » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:26 pm

Yes. Many times. There are a few classics that I hated when I was younger, but now I think they are the greatest things. I should say classic writers.
William Shakespeare
John Steinbeck
Virginia Wolf

I had I high school teacher who read the classics to us and he was very bad at it. He insisted on reading MacBeth with a Scottish accent he was not capable of doing. It was a long, boring week and it gave me a distaste for Shakespeare because I couldn't follow it. What's funny is I ended up being a theatrical Shakespearian. I rediscovered Shakespeare in college. I have read all the plays and poems attributed to him and a few from his contemporaries. I've read each play at least twice or more and am the go-to person among my friends for questions about Shakespeare, especially the histories. MacBeth is still not my favorite play, but it's also not at the bottom of my Shakespeare pile. Love the Manga MacBeth.

I hated Steinbeck for similar reasons. I was made to read The Red Pony in middle school and then again in high school. I thought it a story without a point and I didn't get it. In college, I had to read The Grapes of Wrath and could not get through it. I read about half and got the cliff notes. Thank god you got one essay you didn't have to answer on the final exam. My brother-in-law told be to read Cannery Row because he thought it was his best. It took a few years but I finally did. I fell in love with it. I've since read, Of Mice and Men, East of Eden and Travels with Charlie. I keep meaning to re-read Grapes of Wrath to see what I think now, but haven't. I still hate The Red Pony.

In a college lit class that had a long waiting list because the professor was so well-liked, I had to read Mrs. Dalloway. I could not get into it and had to go to the prof and tell her I couldn't finish the book. It was embarrassing after waiting a year to get into her class. She was very understanding, though. Then several years later while living in New York City I went into my neighborhood book store and saw this book with a beautiful cover on it. It was a pastel of a lighthouse. I was writing a play at the time that had a lot to do with lighthouses. The title was To the Lighthouse. It was only after I purchased the book I realized it was by Virginia Wolf. (I often choose books by their covers.) I loved the book. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever read. I immediately went to the Library and checked-out Mrs. Dalloway. I could not understand why I couldn't read it before. I love the book.

There are classics I hated when I read them and still hate them today.
Tess of the d'ubervilles--I read it, didn't get it. I hate all Thomas Hardy's work.
Gulliver's Travels--couldn't finnish it. Tried several times.
Not a big fan of Herman Melville although I did read Mody-Dick and liked parts of it. Can't stand Billy Bud.
Walden Pond--I just can't into it no matter how much I try. It seems self-indulgent.
Wicked--love the musical, hate the book.
Everything by F. Scott Fitzgerald except The Great Gatsby. It's like Gatsby was written by a different F. Scott.

I'm sure there are others. I tend to block out books I don't like unless I really hate them.
Ask yourself, "What would Dickens do?"



cynfranks
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby cynfranks » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:50 pm

I am shocked at the number of people who don't like Great Expectations. It's one of my favorites. I agree with the person said that Bleak House is Dickens best.

Did you know the ending of Great Expectations where Pip and Estella meet at the site of the old house was not the original ending. I remember reading it the first time a feeling the ending wasn't right. Years later in a New York Times Review of a biography of Dickens, they mentioned the original ending of Great Expectations. Well, I had to look into this. Originally, Pip and Estella passed each other on the streets of Paris and don't acknowledge each other. They are indifferent. I thought this a much better ending. The audiobook narrated by Hugh Laurie is a great listen.

As far as Mark Twain goes, it used to be Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were favorites of mine. But through the years they have lost their luster. My favorite Twain is Innocents Abroad. It never fails to make me laugh. I find I enjoy his short stories and essays more than I did when I was young. I also love Captain Stormfield Goes to Heaven and Is Shakespeare Dead?

As far as the Brother's Karamazov, it is a great book, but you have to find a translation that works for you. Dostoevsky is a great storyteller. I would recommend Crime and Punishment first. Same with Don Quixote; it's all about the translation. I like Edith Grossman for Don Quixote and Pevear and Volokhonsky for Dostoevsky.
Ask yourself, "What would Dickens do?"



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LadyAnne
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby LadyAnne » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:40 am

I plan to read Great Expectations again when I feel I can handle the beginning. Thanks for the tip on Don Quixote. :)

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Noizchild
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby Noizchild » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:07 pm

You ask me what I thought about
Before we were lovers.
The answer is easy.
Before I met you
I didn't have anything to think about.

-- From "The Love Poems of Marichiko"

fathoms77
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby fathoms77 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:31 pm

I adore my classics but yeah, I've despised several.

Couldn't STAND Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom," for example, and Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" just seemed utterly pointless. And don't get me started on "On the Road." :twisted:

rylandor
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby rylandor » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:09 am

Two of the more useless books I've ever had to trudge through were classics. Ethan Frome and A Thousand Acres. I either detested or couldn't have cared less about every character in those books.

NO NEVER ALWAYS
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby NO NEVER ALWAYS » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:58 am

I hated Charles Dickens and Jane Austen- they go on and on about the same thing for pages and pages and by the end of the first chapter I can't keep my eyes open. And I am pretty good with boring books. And I love the classics- or at least some of them.

Elijah P.
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby Elijah P. » Sat May 17, 2014 10:52 pm


Storylover02
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Re: Have you ever hated a classic?

Postby Storylover02 » Sun May 18, 2014 5:59 pm

I absolutely loathed Great Expectations!! I had to read it in high school and I hated it. I only read the first five chapters and then just winged the rest. Amazingly I passed the class hahaha.

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