Very intimidating classics9:23 AM
The Classics Club asked: "What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why? Are you intimidated by the classics, and why?"
I love the classics and consider them to be the most rewarding books. So, in general, I don't find the category "the classics" very intimidating.
But there are some titles and authors that are very intimidating to me. I divide them in these three categories:
- Epic poems
It doesn't matter when or where they were written. The length, the language, the historical background, the fact that they are written in verse... All these things combined make epic poems very tough to read. I forced myself to include The Illiad, The Odissey and The Divine Comedy in my reading list but I didn't have enough courage to include The Faerie Queene.
- Anything Old English
Maybe this stems from a minor college trauma when I had to present a seminar about Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon. Reading the books and researching about them was the hardest thing ever. Beowulf is also an epic poem, which makes it doubly intimidating. In my reading list, I wasn't so harsh with myself and put The Canterbury Tales, written in Middle English.
- Modern madness
Don't get me wrong, the title of this category is not meant as an insult. But, just between you and me, the works of T. S. Eliot and James Joyce are impossible to read. To tell you the truth, I read and read and read Eliot's famous poem The Waste Land. In the end I only managed to quote parts of it like "Oh, oh, oh, those Shakespearean rags!" and "April is the cruelest month" in conversations. Mostly in conversations with myself, but still.
What are the books that intimidate you? Do you make an effort to read them nevertheless?