Archive for the ‘Classics’ Category
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
Well, there is no use beating around the bush – I failed in my attempt to read lots more classics during 2012, despite signing up to November Autumns’ A Classics Challenge.
The challenge goal was to read at least 7 classics during 2012 and respond to the question/discussion held at Katherine’s blog on the 4th of each calendar month as often as possible.
Why did I fail? Too many excellent review books arriving in my inbox/mailbox!
Did I read any classics during 2012?
Yes. The two titles I managed to read, I enjoyed immensely.
A Room With A View by E M Forster
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
In 2013 I am going to make a concerted effort to find more time for titles that have been on my TBR pile and library wishlist for far too long.
Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
The Importance of Being Earnest Synopsis
This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, “that name which inspires absolute confidence.”
Wilde’s effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language. (Audible)
It is not hard to see why Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is considered a classic – it is true genius. Despite the many years since its publication its underlying acerbic commentary on the vacuousness of class-based society packs a real punch and turns the absurd and farcical into sheer brilliance. I was also impressed by just how complex and clever the plot and character linkages were.
I strongly recommend experiencing this classic The Importance of Being Earnest in the play format Oscar Wilde originally intended.
The audiobook dramatization I listened to was performed by a very talented cast from L.A. Theatre Works: James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, Christopher Neame, Matthew Wolf. Their comedic timing was razor sharp. I found myself laughing out loud while listening. The rapid fire banter between the characters was hilarious. At just under 2 hours in length this audiobook was a real treat that left a big smile on my face.
I will definitely be seeking out more dramatizations of Oscar Wilde’s plays and in particular those produced by LA Theatre Works.
BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
BOOK DETAILS: The Importance of Being Earnest (Audible); The Importance of Being Earnest (Amazon); The Importance of Being Earnest (B&N); The Importance of Being Earnest (The Nile – Australia)
Genre: Drama, Humour, Classic, Historical, Audio
* This review counts towards my participation in the Classics Challenge 2012.
Author Information: Oscar Fingall O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford where, a disciple of Pater, he founded an aesthetic cult. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), established his reputation. In 1895, following his libel action against the Marquess of Queesberry, Wilde was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for homosexual conduct, as a result of which he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and his confessional letter De Profundis (1905). On his release from prison in 1897 he lived in obscurity in Europe, and died in Paris in 1900. (Amazon)
Another review of The Importance of Being Earnest: About ClassicLit
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
A Room With A View Synopsis
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiance Cecil Vyse. (The Nile – Australia)
E M Forster’s A Room With A View is a bonafide classic that has been critically reviewed by greater literary minds than I, so here I will just briefly summarise my thoughts.
I always enjoy comedies of manners, and A Room With A View fits that bill. E M Forster takes great delight at making fun of his characters and there are instance where the characters even make fun of themselves.
Cecil, who naturally preferred congratulations to apologies, drew down his mouth at the corners. Was this the reception his action would get from the world? Of course, he despised the world as a whole; every thoughtful man should; it is almost a test of refinement. But he was sensitive to the successive particles of it which he encountered.
Many classics are heavy reads but E M Forster’s A Room With A View has a refreshing current of irreverence running through it and some lively characters that will appeal to a modern audience.
At the time of its publication, 1908, I expect some of the observations made about societal norms would have been quite shocking. I also quite liked how E M Forster addressed the reader directly on occasion – it brings the reader into the mockery.
My slight criticisms would be that certain parts were slightly laboured through my eyes as a contemporary reader and although I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic and uplifting conclusion, I guessed some of the plot twists before they occurred. But perhaps I was supposed to, was that the point?
Apparently in some versions of the novel an appendix penned by Forster is included describing what happens to the characters after the book ends. My copy did not include the appendix but I found a summary on Wikipedia. I am not sure why Forster wrote this appendix to the novel, it seems like a bit of a downer after the wonderful conclusion to the novel itself.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
BOOK DETAILS: A Room With A View (Amazon); A Room With A View (B&N); A Room With A View (The Nile – Australia)
Genre: Romance, Drama, Humour, Historical, Classic, Literature
Author Information: Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879. He studied at King’s College, Cambridge. Forster wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908) and Howard’s End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heuruse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. E. M. Forster died in 1970. His last novel, Maurice, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories and a number of non-fiction books.
Other reviews of A Room With A View: The Compulsive Reader ; Blog a Penguin Classic ; Emilyn Chand
Monday, January 16th, 2012
Participation in the Classics Challenge hosted by November’s Autumn involves responding to a series of questions posted each month in respect to the particular classic you are reading at the time.
A full review will be published upon completion, as I do for every title I read. For now, some information about the author.
When were they born? Where did they live?
Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879. He studied at King’s College, Cambridge.
What are some of the other novels they’ve written?
Forster wrote six novels, four of which appeared before the First World War, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908) and Howard’s End (1910). An interval of fourteen years elapsed before he published A Passage to India. It won both the Prix Femina Vie Heuruse and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. E. M. Forster died in 1970. His last novel, Maurice, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories and a number of non-fiction books.
What do they look like?
Interesting facts about E M Forster:
His name was officially registered as Henry Morgan Forster, but at his baptism he was accidentally named Edward Morgan Forster.
In the First World War, as a conscientious objector, he volunteered for the International Red Cross, travelling to Alexandria, Egypt.
Forster spent a second spell in India in the early 1920s as the private secretary to Tukojirao III, the Maharajah of Dewas.
Have you read A Room With A View or any other title by E M Forster?
Is E M Forster an author you would recommend to others?
A Room With A View is the first E M Forster title I have read but thus far I am enjoying his writing style and story sentiment.
Monday, January 2nd, 2012
Having just finished reading Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair, a very fun novel about the protection of the classics, I am inspired to find more time this year to read classics.
The challenge goal is to read at least 7 classics during 2012 and respond to the question/discussion held at Katherine’s blog on the 4th of each calendar month as often as possible.
The seven classics I have in my sights for this challenge, many of which I have had sitting on my Kindle for an embarrassingly long time already, are:
The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
First published in 1868, Moonstone is considered the first modern English detective novel.
A Room With A View – E M Forster
This Edwardian social comedy explores love and prim propriety among an eccentric cast of characters assembled in an Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England.
The Mystery of the Yellow Room – Gaston Leroux
This classic work of French detective fiction was much admired by Agatha Christie. As a connoisseur of the detective story she said this was one of the best.
The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman – Laurence Sterne
At once endlessly facetious and highly serious, Sterne’s great comic novel contains some of the best-known and best-loved characters in English literature–including Uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Parson Yorick, and Dr. Slop–and boasts one of the most innovative and whimsical narrative styles in all literature.
The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
In this, his most famous story, Kafka explores the notions of alienation and human loneliness through extraordinary narrative technique and depth of imagination.
The Warden – Anthony Trollope
The first of Trollope’s ”Barsetshire” series concerns Mr. Harding, elderly warden of Hiram’s Hospital and Precentor of Barchester Cathedral.
The Beautiful and the Damned – Francis Scott Fitzgerald
First published in 1922, The Beautiful and the Damned followed Fitzgerald’s impeccable debut, This Side of Paradise, thus securing his place in the tradition of great American novelists.
* Book information courtesy of epubbooks.com