How to Read Literature Like a Professor

This book cost pure rejoice to understand. while learn ampere few fresh mystery of writing, information technology cost excite to explore wholly the bible deed mention inch the reserve.

The author use a casual shade to inaugurate the charming of unplayful read to the proofreader. some of information technology be old news, others, instinct and common sense, such angstrom recognize pattern and fib elements, merely new information, for maine at least, constitute besides add. For case, that many oeuvre assign to shakespeare might not rich person be his astatine all.

Although i would lo

The author uses a casual tone to introduce the magic of serious reading to the reader. Some of it is old news, others, instinct and common sense, such as recognizing patterns and story elements, but new information, for me at least, was also added. For instance, that many works attributed to Shakespeare might not have been his at all.

Although I would love to share my views on the content of the book, since that is the most exciting part of it, I would restrict myself to the book itself.

The chapter headings says it all:
1. Every trip is a Quest;
2. Nice to eat with you: Acts od Communion;
3. Nice to eat you: Acts of Vampires;
4. If it’s square, it’s a sonnet;
5. Now, where have I seen her before?
6. When in Doubt, it’s from Shakespeare …;
7. … or the Bible;
8. Hanseldee and Greteldum;
9. It’s Greek to me;
10. More than just rain or snow.

… and more of the same.

And suddenly I am more excited than ever before, although I figured out some of these issues in the book already, like for instance, the borrowing from Greek mythology. In Light Between The Oceans by M.L. Stedman, the Greek god Janus formed the backbone of the story, and that characters such as Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, inspired many others in romance novels.

We find Dracula in more than one storyline, and Shakespeare in a multitude of other contemporary novels – long before the Hogarth project was launched in 2016. Of course my recent favorite in this regard is Ian McEwan’s Nutshell in which ‘Fetus Cairncross’ as I dubbed him, became Hamlet in utero, and the author was not even part of the Hogarth Project.

The author highlights other books which royally borrowed from the greatest author of all times:

QUICK QUIZ: What do John Cleese, Cole Porter, Moonlighting, and Death Valley Days have in common? No, they’re not part of some Communist plot. All were involved with some version of The Taming of the Shrew

If you look at any literary period between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries, you’ll be amazed by the dominance of the Bard. He’s everywhere, in every literary form you can think of. And he’s never the same: every age and every writer reinvents its own Shakespeare. All this from a man who we’re still not sure actually wrote the plays that bear his name.

Try this. In 1982 Paul Mazursky directed an interesting modern version of The Tempest. It had an Ariel figure (Susan Sarandon), a comic but monstrous Caliban (Raul Julia), and a Prospero (famed director John Cassavetes), an island, and magic of a sort. The film’s title? Tempest. Woody Allen reworked A Midsummer Night’s Dream as his film A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.

West Side Story famously reworks Romeo and which resurfaces again in the 1990s, in a movie featuring contemporary teen culture and automatic pistols. And that’s a century or so after Tchaikovsky’s ballet based on the same play.

The BBC series Masterpiece Theatre has recast Othello as a contemporary story of black police commissioner John Othello, his lovely white wife Dessie, and his friend Ben Jago, deeply resentful at being passed over for promotion. The action will surprise no one familiar with the original.

Nor is the Shakespeare adaptation phenomenon restricted to the stage and screen. Jane Smiley rethinks King Lear in her novel A Thousand Acres.

I’m insanely thrilled with this book. For many of us it is impossible to attend literature lectures and have forgotten most of the ones we did honor with our presence, many years ago. So this is it. Read the book and become wiser. The information might not be unfamiliar to many of us, but it certainly deepens our experience of serious books.

Then there is the many references to Bible stories, and once again, Ian McEwan, uses the wisdom of Solomon in his book The Children’s Act to solve a serious situation when the Jehova’s Witnesses and The State have to compromise on a minor child’s life.

So yes, I’m jumping up and down. Nothing is new, says the Bible, psychologists and sociologists. Remember the Pavlov experiments with dogs and mice? It is still used today to solve behavioural problems. No story is therefor new. It is just told differently as time goes on.

The book made me think again. About a letter my mom once wrote me to warn me against a unsavory character trying to enter my life. She said nothing was new, the rules would always remain the same, only time and setting changed. The story line would not change, only the characters in it will have different names. She changed my life. I was nineteen years old and needed to know that when I did not recognize the difference between a he-hussy and a perfumed skunk.

I was wondering if a person who never read Shakespeare, told his story, if it can be regarded as a Shakespearean ‘borrow’ if some elements to it was similar? Would it be fair? And someone who don’t know the Bible could have a similar experience as a Bible character? Human behaviour patterns, different personality types, cultures, social mores and values play the most important role in how characters in a story will act or react. So yes, all stories happened before, it could be in real life or literature, but nothing is really new. It’s only seasoned authors who might borrow from other stories, but real people in real life repeat behaviour based on genetic indicators and circumstantial impulses. Then there’s human instinct to predict outcome.

So, while the cognoscenti sleuth through a great novel, ordinary lay readers like yours truly do not have to do it. However, it might add a wonderful new dimension to the experience if we are experienced enough to know when it happens in the shaping and sustaining power of a story and the symbolism behind it.

The author is passionate about his subject. He has a serious issue with the programmatic nature of political novels, just a certain type though, and and shares his views with the reader, no matter what.

I hate “political” writing—novels, plays, poems. They don’t travel well, don’t age well, and generally aren’t much good in their own time and place, however sincere they may be. I speak here of literature whose primary intent is to influence the body politic—for instance, those works of socialist realism (one of the great misnomers of all time) of the Soviet era in which the plucky hero figures out a way to increase production and thereby meet the goals of the five-year plan on the collective farm—what I once heard the great Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes characterize as the love affair between a boy, and girl, and a tractor. Overtly political writing can be one-dimensional, simplistic, reductionist, preachy, dull.

Don’t we find those preachy dullness in too many novels nowadays? I like the idea of calling it programmatic. Word-dumping or information dumping were my favorite two concepts in addressing it. But I have something new to call it. :-))

There are too many authors, such as Edgar Alan Poe, Washington Irvine, D. H. Lawrence, Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, Virginia Wolfe, Toni Morrison, George Bernard Shaw, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lord and so many more who masterfully incorporate politics into their prose. It is how it is done which matters. State of Fear by Michael Crichton comes to mind. My word, how this author rattled a few cages, right? And what about The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Yes, we have our exciting moments in prose! Oh yes, and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, which had me a bit miffed-so programmized, Eoowwww! :-)) And don’t ever forget Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Now talk about ruffled feathers, folks. Some authors know how to do it. Others don’t.

That reminds me to ask the question if chick lit is also so obviously programmatic? Not literature by any means, but still prose of some kind with often deeper undertones. Mmm… think about it, shall we?

The difference between a murder/death in a murder mystery and a literary book was good to learn, even though, once again, common sense, although we seldom take the time to think about the symbolism in it.

In getting hyped up about the content of How to Read Literature Like a Professor I quickly made a list of all my favorite characters in books. After many hours, I stopped when I realized how impossible it is to recall them all. I’ve read a few thousand books long before I joined GR, to begin with. And who will want to know anyway? I could just sat back in amazement though. How many authors introduced so much magic into my life by presenting amazing characters in their stories.

It took a long time to read this book. Probably three weeks. More or less a chapter each day, with a few rereads in between. Not because it was boring or tedious. No, it was just so inspiring. I was constantly lured into exploring old books and new titles.

Allow me to sneak in two of my favorite book endings:
Rhet Butler – in Gone With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell:
—– “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”

Professor Higgins – in the play My Fair Lady(Pygmalion) author George Bernard Shaw:
—–Where the devil is my slippers, Elyze?” (Of course you realize that this play was named after a Greek mythological figure, Pygmalion who fell in love with his statue Galatea. Read the inspiring love story here:

For young readers this is undoubtedly a wonderful introduction to literature, in so many ways. For all readers it is a rejoicing in excellent prose and the authors behind it. It strengthens the bond between the reader and the writer. Imagine having Thomas C. Foster as a house guest in your own library! Oh how short life would be at that very moment! Pity we will not be able to order another lifetime right that minute :-))

Well, before your eyes glaze over and your mind wander, let me stop.

Enjoy this chatty, informative, entertaining read. It’s worth your while.

And then consider reading the book How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren
https://thaitrungkien.com/review/show…

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