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 category “scott.f.fitzgerald”

There’s a classic app for that..

I’m one of the few people who is yet to enter the world of the kindle or e-reader or online book world.

I prefer pages. Books with covers and the more stained and creased the pages are, the better. It shows character. A well read book is a well-loved one.

So it’s with mixed emotions that I heard that a new app has re-worked Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein.

Anything which keeps the classics alive and well in the minds of others is always a good thing, but it does make you wonder about the future of literature. And the printed book in particular.

The new Frankenstein book changes the setting, adds additional anatomical images and has been developed to try to get classic lit more into the main stream.

But it makes you wonder, hasn’t classic literature books always been in the mainstream? It’s the foundation from which books such as Harry Potter, The Help and The Hunger Games all came from. Are we really at risk of forgetting them  altogether if they don’t go online?

It seems so.

 

I’m sure many literature purists back in the day revolted against the first film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and other classics. Introducing a classic into a new medium is always fraught much emotion.

Somehow though, this time it feels different. It feels like some mediums are consuming others. The digital age appears each day to be swallowing up the much-loved printed word era, crumb by crumb. The thought of one day never having a personal library is enough to make a book nerd like myself break out into a cold sweat.

So while I’m all for the classics and making them groovy again, I think I’ll skip on that App all the same. After all, nothing feels as good as cradling a coffee and thumbing your way through the pages of a good book and I plan on holding on to this feeling for as long as possible

x

J

Which classic character gets you hot under the collar?

While pondering my shamless Hemingway groupie/crush fantasy I couldn’t help but think about some of the literary heart throbs which have crossed the pages I’ve read and that I’m about to read over the next couple of months.

If you could choose one literary heart throb to leap from the pages to save you, which one would it be?

a) Mr Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) – the moody one but still waters run deep

b) Mr Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) – the rich one with emotional baggage and prone to loneliness

c) Mr George Knightley (Emma) – the male best friend secretly in love with the lead female and waiting in the wings

d) Hamlet (Hamlet) – the dark and troubled one with family issues

e) Heathcliffe (Wuthering Heights) – the bad boy who can bring out the worst in the lead character

f) Romeo (Romeo and Juliet) – the passionate lover who every girl family loves to hate

Personally when it comes to Authors, Hemingway is my man but when it comes to literature heart throbs I don’t think you can’t really go past Mr Darcy.

Be interested to hear what others think 🙂

x

J

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

G is for Gatsby

Most people have read Fitzgerald. By that I mean F. Scott Fitzgerald, and in saying that, most know of or have read ‘The Great Gatsby’.

I had not. I had gleaned of what it was roughly about in highschool once, but it never was a book we studied or read.

Or most importantly one I sought out. It was however the first one I was drawn to when consulting my 100 list courtesy of The Modern Library.

I skipped the introduction and forward and jumped right in. With news that Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star as the mysterious Jay Gatsby himself and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway in a film adaptation of the book later this year I couldn’t help but picture their faces when following the story.

It’s an understatement to say I adored it. While focusing on troublesome times of an altogether different era, it holds its own even today.

Perhaps I’m in the throes of classic madness but I do see elements of Gatsby and Nick Carraway in everyone.

I’ve met many a Gatsby who has constructed a life around them that they think they want, that shows them in the best light, that allows them to forget and scrub away the stains of times past and begin a new.

Those who find themselves trapped in their own lies, lonely even in their own company and who seek untenable dreams that sometimes are best left as pleasant day dreams.

This is the plague of Gatsby and I doubt there is a single person who reads it who doesn’t identify with him to some extent or recognise their partners or friends or colleagues in him.

He’s surrounded by many but always alone and never, ever openly lets himself out.

What could possibly be worse? Well to be Nick Carraway of course. The perennial observer, an outsider always analysing and judging the lives of others including his own. A person who never really plays his part or lives his own life. He more or less watches his life being lived beside or in front of him. Always one step ahead or to the side and looking back, instead of revelling in the moment.

Oh I know a lot of Nick Carraways and when procrastination gets the better of me, I do can indulge in a few Carraway traits. Self loathing and analysis, distance from others and questioning what would be the ‘right thing to do’. Perhaps the one thing I took out of the book was, that it’s not so much about the right thing to do, but the doing of something that matters.

What perhaps fascinated me the most was I intended to read through this list from the perspective of a writer and prospective author, studying the prose and gaining insight into my style and how I portray the characters in my novel which is still stuck at infancy.

Instead I became completely absorbed in the characters, in the setting, in the polar opposites and at the same time, striking similarities between Nick and Gatsby and the emotional manipulations of Tom and Daisy Buchanan.

The only redeemable feature of both Daisy and Tom is their love of each other and ability to save their own skins. Perhaps this is an unfair judgement but they both come off in the end as remarkably cold-hearted.

The real key to this book is the characters. I completely became entrapped in trying to understand Gatsby and seek some insight and depth to Carraway.

If that’s one lesson I take away from the interminably talented Fitzgerald, it’s that if you make the reader fall in love with the character, they fall in love with the book.

Consider me suitably infatuated.

x
J

Post Navigation