Do we enjoy bashing and trashing certain works and authors?

Aug 2010
15,005
Welsh Marches
#32
George Bernard Shaw:

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his.


Classical example of trolling!

The difference between Shaw and Shakepseare was that Shaw based his plays on abstract ideas, whereas the thought is embodied in the drama in Shakespeare (and inexhaustibly so, there is more matter for reflection in Hamlet alone than in everything that Shaw ever wrote).
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,863
#33
That's really true. Books are classics because lots of people have liked to read them over a long period of time.

We're so corrupted by our reading of literature in school that we have an involuntary negative reaction when the word is mentioned.

I don't like every novel I've ever read and, like you, don't like Dickens very much. And there are a lot of very popular and well-recommended books that I have just been unable to read and put down after a few pages. I tried to read Rabelais several times (English translation) and never finished. Maybe I should try it in French?

But I've really enjoyed most of the "heavy hitters" of world literature.
Sometimes you read a classic, because it can help you understand the people in history who were influenced by those works. I read tne Iliad because it was such an influential work throughout history, even though it was very tough going. I read Shakespeare, because I wanted to better uderstand all the references to him that I read in other works I read. When you read these classics, you will better understand the references to them that are frequently made in other works. Even if you detest Shakespeare, you should still read him simply because of his influence over other writers.

However, I tried reading the Tale of Genji, because it was such an important classic to the Japanese, but gave up. It mightbe called the first novel, bur I just found it to be the first soap opera, and I hate soap operas. And I think the translation was poor. So if a classic is really long in another language. you might think twice about it. Some works just do not translate well.


And some works are classic, and should not be. Wuthering Heights tops my list - the main characters are all selfish and morally repugnant, hard to sympathize with any of the characters to it, and it is a big yawn.
 
#34
George Bernard Shaw:

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his.


Classical example of trolling!

The difference between Shaw and Shakepseare was that Shaw based his plays on abstract ideas, whereas the thought is embodied in the drama in Shakespeare (and inexhaustibly so, there is more matter for reflection in Hamlet alone than in everything that Shaw ever wrote).

Here's a slightly more modern example:



Vladimir Nabokov:



My position in regard to Dostoevsky is a curious and difficult one. In all my courses I approach literature from the only point
of view that literature interests me —namely the point of view of enduring art and individual genius. From this point of
view Dostoevsky is not a great writer, but a rather mediocre one—with flashes of excellent humor, but, alas, with
wastelands of literary platitudes in between

I'm not a huge fan of Dostoevsky (I prefer Tolstoy), but Nabokov's brand of self-involved intellectual puzzles isn't what I'd call enduring art either.
 
Jun 2010
3,302
Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
#35
I think the stories within most classics can be great, because I usually like the movies of most of the books mentioned here, but so often the writing style of historical time periods just doesn't appeal to modern readers. And I think the pretension of "if you don't like them, you must be stupid/uneducated/etc" has worn off.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,863
#36
George Bernard Shaw:

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his.


Classical example of trolling!

The difference between Shaw and Shakepseare was that Shaw based his plays on abstract ideas, whereas the thought is embodied in the drama in Shakespeare (and inexhaustibly so, there is more matter for reflection in Hamlet alone than in everything that Shaw ever wrote).
Shaw must of been sick and tired to of being called the "2nd Greatest English Playwrote", so you need to take that into account when reading Shaw's comments on Shakespeare.

A lot of Shaw's negative comments on Shakespeare were no doubt prompted by annoyance of the comparison between him and Shakespeare, and just plain envy. Since he obviously doesn't like Homer either, that might say more about him than tne writers he complains of.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,175
Brassicaland
#37
George Bernard Shaw:

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his.


Classical example of trolling!

The difference between Shaw and Shakepseare was that Shaw based his plays on abstract ideas, whereas the thought is embodied in the drama in Shakespeare (and inexhaustibly so, there is more matter for reflection in Hamlet alone than in everything that Shaw ever wrote).
I should confess that I have read much more Shaw's works than Shakespeare.
Most of Shaw's works have little (if any) hidden meanings and are less subject to different interpretations.
My last Shavian reading is call the Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God
Here is one of the latest adoption:
https://www.thestar.com/entertainme...ck-girl-holds-her-own-against-god-review.html
As a favourite for high school English classes in English speaking countries, Shakespeare's works subject to many different interpretations.
 

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