How to Read a Classic?


So I have been trying to read some classics these months and my own struggle with those texts made me wonder why not teach people how to read those boring classics.

Well, based on some of the classics I currently read by Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway, Twain etc etc, here are some general points:

1. Always read these classic or difficult texts in the day time or when you have a lot of energy. Do NOT read while going to bed, you won't get anything out of them. Other than sleep, of course. Which, according to me, sometimes, is the best use those garbled texts within dusty cover can provide.

2. Be prepared for a lot of suffering. Like, a lot of suffering and tragedy. Oh wait, no, Twain was hilarious.

3. Most Important: Always be persistent. Perseverance, is the key, my friend. Without that you can't finish half of those goddamn books. Keep reading even if you have no idea what's going on.

4. Based on above point, every great classic has a certain % level after which you really start understanding the things for the first time. For eg, James Joyce's "A Potrait of..." it took about 80% of the book to make me understand what was going on. Faulkner's both books I read (As I lay dying, The sound and the fury), took 50% before they could get me. So keep going, keep reading, you will, at some % of book finished, get the things.

5. And if all else fails, you can always read Wikipedia. That's okay.

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Current Book: "Lolita" By Vladimir Nabokov
Current Music: "E.T." by Kate Perry

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4 comments:

Arkantos said...

You've started reading Lolita, eh? I've heard that its quite a raunchy read :). By the way, I finished reading Lord of the Flies...and my gosh! That book was so fantastic! It's my favorite now :)

Tanya said...

Well, I like raunchy stuff ^_^ and besides it's imbaness redefined.

Yeah lord of the flies...killer...Golding illustrated all the social dynamics with such an ease, so admirable stuff.

Arkantos said...

Uss book ka alag hi level hai. Freud, Rosseau, Christianity! Baap re...he concealed so many fascinating philosophies beneath that beautiful flowery narrative!

Tanya said...

^^Yeah, and more critical essays you read on that book, more things you will discover. It's quite a few months since I read, one logic that I remember (which struck me hard) was that, the deterioration of Piggy's glasses was akin to the degradation of the humans (as in the timeline of deprecation)

Also, that 90% of humans are savages, only few of us are rational.

But now, go ahead and read Lolita :P

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