Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why I Love The Classics

If you haven't noticed by now, for the most part, I'm a big lover of classic novels, especially from the time period that this week's novel, Wuthering Heights, is from (though, I don't actually LIKE this week's novel.  But you'll have to wait until Friday to hear about that.)

Basically, if it was written in the 1800s, I'm probably going to enjoy reading it.  The biggest thing that I like is the language.  Even before the time of Bronte and Austen, the language was wonderful and rich and flowery.  Take a look at Shakespeare for instance.  He was WAY before any of them and his language was literally poetic.

Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move.
Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.

The language flowed and was magical.  And, what's more, people were a lot wittier back in the day.  If you really pay attention to Austen, you could tell that the entirety of Pride and Prejudice is commenting on how ridiculous she thinks the whole process of marriage is.  She says it to her readers in the very first line of the novel:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in 
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

She's ridiculing the fact that rich men can't be single, that they must be looking for marriage, and even if they aren't, they're going to be soon whether they want to be or not.  Lizzie is constantly commenting on marriage and the protocol of it.  The very fact that she turns down so many proposals is a clear indication from Austen that she thinks the whole thing, that no one can seem to marry for love only money, is ridiculous, and she uses her book and her language and her characters to show that.

I also love that the classics, while they may not seem very exciting now, were often revolutionary for their day.  There is a reason that they have lasted hundreds of years.  One of my favorite books is Dangerous Liaisons by LeClos.  It is an entire book about uses sex to get what you what.  A book, written in the mid-1700s, is all about sexual manipulation.  People barely admitted that sex existed in the 1700s, let alone wrote and read books about it.  Yet the book was insanely popular, proving that the scandalous will sell no matter what century it is.

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