Turn of the Century Salon – a literary event

Hosted by Katherine at November’s Autumn.  My participation may be sporadic, but I’m going to try to fit this challenge into my schedule.  🙂

Here’s my answers to the questionnaire/prompts for January (Introduction):

  • What draws you to read the Classics?

Classics are works of art, unlike most contemporary fiction.  I love reading, and though I also love the era I live in, I cannot relate to it in the same way that I relate to classic lit and classic authors.  On the other hand, classics have taught me a lot about the modern world (some things never change).  I hope for there to be great authors in the 21st century, but it is looking doubtful – the books of today tend to display “quantity over quality” characteristics.

  • What era have you mainly read? Georgian? Victorian? Which authors?

19th century British lit.  It’s great, but right now I’m eager to read more world literature (and non-fic)!

  • What Classics have you read from the 1880s-1930s? What did you think of them?

Sherlock Holmes, H. G. Wells, some later Jules Verne works – all fabulous stuff!  Recently I read Shackleton’s South, which was extremely interesting, and within the last few years Conrad and Kafka have become two of my favorite authors.  Forster’s A Passage to India was not my cup of tea; on the other hand, I loved Rebecca (1938) and Agatha Christie.  So far, I prefer Victorian works from this era, but that may very well change.

  • Name some books you’re looking forward to read for the salon.

It’s not set in stone, but these are on my list:

  • Verne: Paris in the Twentieth Century (not sure if it counts, but it is futuristic and Verne is very much associated with the turn of the century)
  • Dostoyevsky: The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
  • Abbott: Flatland (1884)
  • Melville: Billy Budd (1888–1891)
  • Kafka (18831924): Complete Short Stories, The Castle, Diaries (maybe)
  • Hesse: Beneath the Wheel (1906)
  • Conrad: The Inheritors (1901, co-authored by Ford Madox Ford), Lord Jim (1899–1900), etc.
  • Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms (1929) 
  • Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
  • Which literary characters are you most akin to?

Marian Halcombe (The Woman in White), Tatyana Larina (Eugene Onegin), and Charlotte Bronte heroines.  Also, Sherlock Holmes and (to a certain degree) Razumov (Under Western Eyes).

  • Is your preference prose? poetry? both?

Thanks to Tolkien, I now love both.  Good poetry, however, is harder to find than good prose.


    1. I'm impressed that you like Kafka and Freud. I find them difficult. I wish I had a love of poetry, but it somehow eludes me too. But I did love The Brothers Karamazov, The Great Gatsby, and (with some reservations) A Farewell to Arms.


    2. Marian Halcombe is one of my favorites as well–I wish The Woman in White had been more about her than her insipid half-sister.I forgot about Herman Hesse! He was so in vogue when I was young, but I never did read anything by him. Same with Kafka. I had a copy of Flatland for years, and started it but didn't get far. I'll be interested to read what you think about it.


    3. I read Paris In the Twentieth Century a few years ago. It was okay. It wasn't really my thing because there wasn't much of a story; it was more a treatise about technology in \”the future.\”


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