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If you write "English Literature [sic]" about a supposed classic, I will love you forever

I went to the library last night (...) and checked out three books. Two were on my Goodreads TBR list and ONE was a delightful surprise find in the literary criticism section (I was there looking for the recommended-by-Jenny Madwoman in the Attic, only to find it was missing from the shelf -- DAMN YOU PATRONS).

It's taken me some time to realize that not every awesome book gets reprinted, which is yet ANOTHER reason we need independent used bookstores and libraries. Because they have old shit. So this book I randomly found is Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without, and it's by a lady and two gentlemen, printed in 1967 in the UK, and I've decided -- INDEPENDENT OF ANY RESEARCH -- that they're all 22-year-old besties who got money from their parents to publish a book because they could.


I've read a few of the essays (they're each two to three pages and hilarious) and will be quoting from them AD NAUSEAM when I have the book with me, but as with all literary criticism, it has to be tempered by knowledge of the writer's time period, SOMETHING of their background, and other mitigating factors like "Maybe they were just young people with some education who wanted to impress by sneering at commonly accepted classics." Mayyyybe.





And they are TOTAL DICKS. Like, the entire time. But really, really amusing total dicks. I would hang out with them. They talk about how Hamlet is overrated, which is such a dick move because at least part of it is "Yeah, that thing you think is totally amazing? Piece. of. shit. Good job being taken in, though." Except they make a really good case for it. So. Hm.


When I was an undergrad, I was roaming the stacks one day at our main library (the University of Illinois library stacks are IN.SANE and contain five MILLION volumes on ten levels) and found Hunting the Highbrow by Leonard Woolf, aka husband of Virginia, and it's a hilarious little booklet about how nobody ever actually enjoys things like The Iliad and if you say you did you are a dirty dirty liar.





Books where obviously intelligent people tell you that the book you're trying to make it through because it's a Classic is just hard to make it through because it sucks are my FAVORITE. I shall report more on this one soon. Ish. Soonish.

Comments

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  3. Hamlet is my favorite one as there are few things in it which are independently considered as best part of literature.I got to see wonderful english literature stuff on this page.Thanks for sharing.

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