romancingtheclassics

One girl's journey to read the top 100 literature classics of all time in the space of 365 days, a quest for only the most foolhardy and brave

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

what I meant to say was…

So it seems to me that when it comes to insulting people and describing people unfavourably, no one does it better than a classic lit book.

Cleverly veiled barbs and hooks are weaved in the prose, designed to sting and take the wind out of any character’s sails.

So I thought it might be interesting to translate these insults into modern language just for the fun of it… after all it an insult in any era is enjoyable :p

She was a woman of high fashion –
What they meant to say : she’s a vain, materialistic cow

She had a great deal of manners which classed her as the most affected of women-
What they meant to say: She’s a boring snob

He was what she would describe as provincial
What they meant to say: He isn’t worth a second glance and is beneath me

She was a woman with a high, free spirit and was very engaging. She was often indelicate in her behaviour with men-
What they meant to say: She’s a dirty tramp/slut/whore

He had a pleasant countenance and unaffected manner-
What they meant to say: He’s alright

She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me-
What they meant to say: She’s a feral and no one in their right mind would be interested

She had very cordial feelings toward him-
What they meant to say: She was fantasizing about marriage and the names of their babies

His sisters had the air of decided fashion –
What they meant to say: They were snobs who thought they looked better than they actually did

She was a woman of mean understanding, little information and an uncertain temper-
What they meant to say: She was not the sharpest tool in the shed

She had charming, happy manners –
What they meant to say: She didn’t throw herself at men like the rest of her trampy friends

She was headstrong and spirited –
What they meant to say: She never did what she was told and enjoyed a good roll in the hay

He had a most ungentlemanly disposition –
What they meant to say: He was a chauvinist pig

She boasted neither cleverness nor beauty –
What they meant to say: She is a butt ugly idiot

She was fond of society –
What they meant to say: She liked to hob nob and lived to kiss ass

He was fond of his own society –
What they meant to say: He was a loner and  was most likely into midget porn with the potential to be a serial killer

She had a wilful nature –
What they meant to say: She never did what daddy told her to do

and the best til last…

He was too proud for even his own company –
What they meant to say: He had his head up his ass so far he couldn’t see straight

xx
J

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Classics 101

It’s quite hard to resist temptation at the moment.

Everyone struggles with it. The chocolate bar at the till that literally leaps into your hand bag without a second thought or it’s the new pair of red shoes you bought because they were on sale but you didn’t really need. Or it could be the coworker who is making u think about swapping monogamy for infidelity.

And right now I’m trying very hard to be good. But I really want some candy. Book candy that is.

You know when you read a really challenging, emotionally draining book and you just want to reach for the latest chic lit book for a bit of light relief? Right now I’m craving book fairy floss.

Anything fluffy will do. I just went and saw ‘my week with Marilyn’ and now all I want to do read re-read her autobiography all over again. But I’m trying to stay faithful to the classics.

Only them and nothing but the classics until I finish the top 100. It’s perhaps the closest I’ll get to being in a committed relationship with Mr Darcy.

I went to a book store on the weekend and practicality hovered near all the new chic lit books. Fingering the new Jane Green and Marian Keyes book and even considering a re-read of Sophie kinsella’s.  Any book candy hit would do.

I was like an addict cruising the book alleyways. Feverish and irrational. Avoiding eye contact with the literature section at all costs.

I stood strong. Yes Jane Green would be much more fun to dive into than Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘the beautiful and the damned,’ at the moment but I’m committed. I’m a one book kind of girl.

So for the sake of my sanity I’ve made a compromise. I can’t read candy but I can still look at it right? So now when u notice a slightly crazed looking woman in your shopping aisle quickly scanning the latest Who or Woman’s Weekly don’t judge. She might be in the middle of a book candy drought and after her latest fix.

It happens to the best of us
X
J

Dear Henry

I thought reading Lolita was tortuous. There are worse things. To read ‘portrait of a lady’ by Henry James..

Most of my friends would probably laugh at this, I’m the last one to lay claim to being a lady so a book dedicated to being one was always going to be a stretch.

The thing was the blurb started out so promising. I would love to have a stern word with the blurb writers at penguin.

Which described it as ‘ a tale of an independent woman whose main ambition in life is to preserve her independence and embarks on travels to broaden her mind and views. She fails to be ensnared by the trappings of marriage until she meets an American in Italy who catches her attention.’

And it stops there. What it should really say is:
” naively innocent young woman travels to England and finds herself made wealthy by a family member. Spends far too long introvertly analysing her behaviour, morals and the people around her. She is obsessed with doing the right thing, even to the sacrifice of her own happiness. She turns down proposals from two good men who love, admire and appreciate her independence and don’t care a bit about her wealth. She instead finds herself married to a man who traps her like a bird in a cage. Like an artifact he has collected, and if that’s not bad enough, he appears to have married her for her money and convenience while being involved with one of the very friends who introduced them.”

Basically a case of a nice girl going for the wrong guy, the bad guy instead of the ‘nice guy.’

It sounds gripping, a bit like melrose place in morning suits type of book but actually it’s just plain depressing. She lives her life-like a character in a book, not fully embracing it and the fact she just throws her independence away so early in the book just baffles the mind.

And when old suitors come back to woo her and also woo her step daughter, it’s even more disorienting.

Henry has the ability to over analyse and completely deconstruct a scene, until it’s no longer enjoyable. He directly addresses the reader throughout which makes it plain uncomfortable and I suffered throughout trying to finish it.

Thank god it wasn’t the done thing to describe sex scenes back in day. I can only imagine how he would labour over of every lump, bump and hair. It would be enough to put anyone of their breakfast or the act for a long time.

Or at least until dinner time anyways. So it’s with this in mind I’d like to send a note to mr James.

Dear Henry

We are over. I don’t want to read another word from you again. I now know that anyone who praises your work must be a prat, a twat or at the very least boring from the inside out.

Just because you are on the top 100 classic list does not mean you are a good read.

Yours unfaithfully
Jess
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