Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The British (Literary) Invasion

I'm using this space to make an announcement in my upcoming reading schedule, knowing full well that this is of interest to all of two people at the most: myself, and my partner in crime, Mutt. But then again why not? We don't set many rules for ourselves posting on this blog, and as long as it's somehow related to literature and/or the spiritual life, I say it's fair game.

Recently many of the conversations about great books Mutt and I have been having (and we're having them all the time, even while living in different states -- via cell phone, e-mail, occasionally in person) have hit upon classic works of literature coming from England. These conversations have woken me up anew to something I've been surpressing for a long time and have always meant to come back to and try and address: that is, my absurd lack of familiarity with Great Britain's awesome literary tradition.

Oh, I've read some of the great stuff from England -- some Shakespeare, a few Dickens novels, Keats, Graham Greene, etc. -- but the more I thought about it, the more amazed I was at how many of the famous, endlessly quoted and referenced writers and works I am NOT familiar with.

Jane Austen? Never read her. Thomas Hardy? Never read him. George Eliot? Never read her. E. M. Forster? Never. Kipling? Never. Lawrence? Never. Pound? Never. Byron? Never. Samuel Johnson? Nope. You get the idea.

This is downright embarrassing.

Therefore, I have hereby decided that I am now going to do something about this glaring deficiency in my literary education. Beginning soon and lasting for at least a few months (and possibly longer), I have decided that every other book I read is going to be a classic work of British literature. It is time to catch up with the rest of the world and get a taste of some of the most refined and elegant prose the human race has to offer.

I have even selected the first three works I am going to read, interpersed between other books I decide upon. They are, in the following order:

Middlemarch, George Eliot

The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy

Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence

I look forward to reporting back in this space at some point to share some of what I have learned and experienced.

Rule Britannia!

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