This month the classic club has been asking about which classics we might be avoiding.
Which classic work has caused you to become a master in avoidance? It’s not necessarily because you’re intimidated but maybe there are works out there that just cause you to have the Dracula reaction: cape-covered arm up in front of face with a step back reaction?
Well yes it is true – I have been avoiding some classics – though maybe avoid is a misleading term, because I probably have absolutely no intention of reading them.
Herman Melville – Moby Dick, I can’t see that I shall ever want to read an enormous book about a large watery mammal.
James Joyce’s Ulysses; need I say why? Somethings just sound like too much hard work.
Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey and other such classical works – I read Medea years ago and that frankly was enough. I’m afraid you will never see these works on my classic club list.
Where avoidance and my classic club list come in I must admit there are books that I keep by-passing. I really want to re-read Middlemarch and Bleak House – but they are so big! I read them before and well I just have too many books. Many of the books on my cc list are re-reads, Mansfield Park is another I keep by-passing, the thing I love about re-reads is I already kind of know what I am getting – so why am I avoiding them? I don’t think I can really answer that, although it might have something to do with that enormous number of books I have waiting for me I haven’t read before.
Then there are books I suspect I will have to be in the right frame of mind for – although I have no real point of reference for them, no one has actually put me off reading them, or told me they are hard – I seem to have decided that for myself. These are: Summer Will Show – Sylvia Townsend Warner, The Lying days and The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer – I have had all three of these for some time but I’m prepared to bet it’s a while yet before I get around to them. Something about them feels dense before I even open them; I know I really shouldn’t pre-judge things like that though.
So then, should I be getting stuck into those books I’m avoiding? I am up for being persuaded. I can’t say I will ever be putting Moby Dick and The Iliad or James Joyce on to my list though.