November Classics Club Meme Question:
What piece of classic literature most intimidates you, and why?
This is a great question! My initial impulse was to go with War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. But I’ve been reading Anna Karenina, and I’ve read other works of classic Russian literature, so, in spite of the Russian naming conventions that make those books somewhat of a challenge, the piece of classic literature that most intimidates me was not written by Tolstoy. Nor was it written by Eliot, Dickens, or any of the other Victorians. And, no, not Hugo, either, since I am very much enjoying Les Miserables, another long book that much intimidated me before I started reading it.
I struggle with this particular narrative form. Faulkner makes me nuts. Thomas Pynchon, in spite of his – probably – deserved reputation as a master of modern language makes me want to, erm, do violence to myself. I tried reading Gravity’s Rainbow several times. I think I remember something about a banana plant growing under a sink that occurred early in the book. I’m not sure I ever got beyond page 25.
In spite of this struggle, as someone who likes to consider herself rather well-versed in modern literature, I felt like I should read Gravity’s Rainbow. I hauled it from pillar to post, through no less then ten moves, before I finally acknowledged that there was no chance I was ever going to read it and I sold it back to a used paperback store. Last time I was in that store, my copy was still sitting on it’s shelves after approximately seven years. It seems that people do not go to used bookstores for the purpose of buying semi-impenetrable, post-modern tomes.
So, yes, Ulysses. That’s the one that most intimidates me. It might take me a couple of years to work up the energy to give it a go.