Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Classics I’ve re-read and loved twice: Jane Eyre, The Stranger
Classics I’ve re-read and stopped loving: Les Miserables, Madame Bovary
Classics I’ve finally read and didn’t especially like: Wuthering Heights, Tender Buttons
Classics I’ve finally read and loved: David Copperfield

They say Madame Bovary is a masterpiece but personally I think it is a masterpiece “of its time” for its (then) lascivious theme of a wife's adultery. Also the handling of the “disturbed woman” seems to me kind of tedious. It reveals little to the modern reader. And lastly the writing is praised to the heavens and indeed it is good but is it as good, say, as John Banville? No, it is not. I cannot read French, so perhaps I'm being unfair and the original would poke my eye out. But I doubt it.

Don’t get me started on Tender Buttons. But I think we all know that.

Still, I can only recommend re-reading books you consider worthwhile. It’s a good experience because the plot has less of your attention, the story itself is no longer being revealed, but the whole how of the writing, the language, characters and style are there to reevaluate, and sometimes it’s even better than the first go-round, and sometimes the luster dulls.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

And I don't think you'll get ME started on Tender Buttons, either! I love your advice on re-reading!

Related Posts with Thumbnails