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Topic: Classics Challenge 2011: rough draft

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Subject: Classics Challenge 2011: rough draft
Date Posted: 10/14/2010 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Using your fabulous suggestions (especially those of TomeTrader and Michael M.), I offer this rough draft for next year's Classic Challenge :

1. a sea saga

2. an author's first novel

3. novels that take place in London

4. family affairs (conflicts within a family)

5. Christmas/holiday

6. armchair travel

8. frontier/pioneer/western

9. classic play

10. classic romance 

11. classic  adventure

12. a Shakespeare play.

Please share your ideas on this basic list.

                                                                    Rose

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 483
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Your list looks good!  One comment - I did love Tome's idea of a children's classic.  Just a thought.

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I like it. 

Christmas holiday might be tricky. I can only think of A Christmas Carol which I read every year. Are there any others?

Unless, of course, the book mentions a holiday but doesn't have to be exclusively about that holiday...

 

Can Alice in Wonderland be Armchair Travel? LOL

Subject: two changes
Date Posted: 10/18/2010 4:32 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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How about changing "armchair travel" for a children's classic?

And changing "Christmas/holiday" for a particular author? (Someone suggested Faulkner to me--and that would certainly be a challenge, wouldn't it!)

Any other ideas?

                                                      Rose

Date Posted: 10/18/2010 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Tome Trader:  I'm not saying the following works are "classics", but here are a few literary pieces centered on Christmas:

A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas

Amahl and the Night Visitors, by Giancarlo Menotti  (a one-act opera)

The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry

Irish Stories for Christmas, by John B. Keane (Fifteen original tales by the Irish storyteller and playwright, of the folk culture of southwest Ireland)

Date Posted: 10/19/2010 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I would like to suggest a "choose your own category" for something you want to read but does not fit any of the categories :-)

IMHO too many plays . . . I love to attend plays but do not enjoy reading them.

How many constitute a full challenge? 10? 12?  Lite Challenge?

Subject: how many is too many?
Date Posted: 10/20/2010 3:56 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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There are two plays listed--that's too many?

Although I'm certainly willing to drop the Shakespeare requirement. I like the idea someone else had of making one selection the reader's choice.

We're getting somewhere!

                                                                                                         R ose



Last Edited on: 10/20/10 3:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/23/2010 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,129
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I have a suggestion--maybe come up with 15 categories, then have the full challenge be 12 out of 15, and the lite be 6 out 15.  This way even those doing the full challenge can reject three categories that really don't interest them.  I'll be doing the lite, so I get to pick my 6 favorite--I see some already that I'll love--like--set in London, family affair, first novel.  I also like the suggestion of feminist classic.

What would be examples of armchair travel?

Diane

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I suggest changing 'Shakespeare play' to simply a classic play. I would also lose the Christmas idea and replace it with perhaps a classic short story collection or a Belle Epoque novel ( period beginning from the late 19th century lasting 'til WW1).

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Diane and Barbara - good ideas!

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I would enjoy something a little multicultural. . . so either a classic by non-European author or a classic written by a woman. . . I also like the idea of having 15 total categories, the full challenge being 12/15, and the lite challenge being 6/15. :)

Subject: good suggestions, Phoenix Falls!
Date Posted: 10/24/2010 4:46 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I am totally in favor of adding the categories of non-European author and written by a woman. I also like the idea of expanding the list to 15, and  having the full challenge be 12/15. All this makes me eager to start deciding on t itles.

I'd like to suggest that we settle on a deadline for determining categories. How about November 15?

                                                                                                                                                      Rose

Date Posted: 10/24/2010 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,464
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1.  I don't expect  much agreement here, but at present it seems to me that our primary and overriding criteria for a "classic" is "I thought it was good."

If our purpose is to "broaden out horizons" by reading books regarded by whoever it is who with some pretense of "authority" designates some books as "classics",  others as "pulp fiction,"  etc. I suggest that we tighten up our standards/criteria for what we regard as a "classic."

2. "armchair travel"  ---   What is that?

 

3.  If there is one single complaint that I would make about this year's categories it is that there was entirely too much British Lit. in our reading list.

 

4. Too many plays?  More like the opposite.  Find something/anything   published that seriously  purports to be discussing classic literature through the             years, and you will find  about 50% or more of the content to be drama, aka  plays.

Date Posted: 10/24/2010 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I agree with John regarding plays! I also agree that the definition of a classic should be tightened up. Setting aside the definition of a classic as referring to ancient Greek/Roman texts, I've always interpreted it to mean books generally 50 or more years old that are of high quality and whose importance is unquestioned. Just being old or popular doesn't necessarily equal "classic".   Regarding categories, in addition to my suggestions given above, I would like to eliminate the 'classic romance' category and maybe replace it with PhoenixFalls' idea using the Non-European author.

Date Posted: 10/24/2010 5:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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     I, too, would favor a list that included some such category as "World Lit", meaning writers from places OTHER THAN "Anglophonia".   The very first World Lit courses given at the English Department of one of my alma maters, in the 1980s,  included some African and Indian and Caribbean authors, along with the Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand ones.  An 'adjustment' to the syllabus was made to include  writers such as Nadine Gordimer, the white woman who wrote in English about her native land, South Africa, and China Achebe and Buchi Emecheta, who did likewise about their home, Nigeria.

     I forget where Ali Mazrui hailed from and what he wrote The Trial of Christopher Okigbo in.  I remember that the British publishing house, Heineman, held on to the rights to publish Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz's works, translated into English, for a long time without doing so.  Then, not long before Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1988) Heineman gave them up!    I also remember that Milan Kundera did not write in English, but was knowledgeable of French.   He became curious as to how his novels would  'sound'  in French, so he studied French further so as to be able to read the translated works better.

     "World Lit", in succeeding semesters,  went on to include works from all over the literary world, no matter what language they had been written in, originally. which is as it should be, IMO.  The work of translators (such as Gregory Rabasa and Margaret Peden, for example,) perhaps deserves more recognition than it has received, so far.

     The Nobel Prizes for Literature have been won by writers from five different continents (no winner from Antarctica yet !).   (Have most of you read something by Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish winner for 2006?   His My Name Is Red  was a historical novel, set in Turkey in the time of the sultans, a few centuries ago,  while his Snow  is set in the present and recent past, in which Turkey is going through turmoil as its people experience "Change".

     Maybe we can widen our reading range beyond works with European provenances, even though most of us we will have to read  translated-iinto-English versions.



Last Edited on: 10/24/10 5:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1