Reading List

buksThis might be fun for you (and especially Tiffany, an expert!). I’m enjoying getting through this list. I’m sure I’m not exactly catching all of the nuances and significance as we zip through the list but it’s good anyway.

1. Homer Iliad
2. Dream of the Rood
3. Sophocles Oedipus the King
4. Dante Inferno
5. Mallory Morte d’Arthur
6. Shakespeare Hamlet
7. Cervantes Don Quixote
8. Paradise Lost
9. Voltaire Candide
10. Dickens A Christmas Carol
11. Wordsworth Tintern Abbey
12. Tennyson Ulysses
13. Hawthorne Young Goodman Brown
14. Joyce Araby
15. Yeats Second Coming
16. Yeats Sailing to Byzantium
17. Eliot Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Not being well versed in classic literature, I still find this an enjoyable and challenging list of works to read and understand. I am struck by the darkness and despair in some of the works – it all fits, however, a human existence that many live without hope or principle. I’m also catching on how writing, heroes, and attitudes have changed through the centuries. It isn’t a surprise, of course, but to see the changes so vividly in literature is actually fascinating to me.

One generalization I will make – very early heroes tended to be honorable and somehow assumed a god would intervene (in a good or not so good way) in their human affairs. Later protagonists were more anti-heroes and instead of having, depending on, and assuming the existence of morals and ethics from the gods, the characters are often motivated by their own preferences and opinions even to the point of appearing to be self-crazy (Hamlet and Quixote, for sure). Interestingly, as the Renaissance and Enlightenment came along and Descartes said, “I think therefore I am” or “I am, I exist,” literature very much followed his lead in shifting from things godly and eternal to matters that were earthly and temporary.

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