The Classics Club – Year Two

      4 Comments on The Classics Club – Year Two

The anniversary of my signing on to The Classics Club flew past without my noticing a couple months back. I am now twenty-three books into my fifty book goal and there’s three years left, so that should be no problem at all.

The list so far:

I’m so glad I came across the club when I did. It was just the kick in the ass I needed to get into reading the classics again, and I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed most of them once I started. It’s turned out to not be much of a challenge at all. It’s like challenging yourself to eat at a great restaurant each month.

The Classics Club has had a monthly meme this entire time, and I’ve been completely ignoring them. It’s a monthly classics-related question. This month they asked:

Think of an example of a classic you’ve read that presents issues like racism/sexism as acceptable within society. Do you think the reception of this classic work would be the same if it were newly published today? What can we get out of this work despite its weaknesses? Or, why would you say this work is still respected/treasured/remembered in 2014?

The first title that jumped to mind was The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy in which a woman is treated like an animal, psychologically abused, and left a hollow shell of who she once was. It’s hilarious!

I outline the plot fairly thoroughly in that post, for those who may be unfamiliar with the play.

This likely gets a pass just because it’s Shakespeare and four hundred years old. Times were very different back then. The way Katherine is treated would obviously not fly by today’s standards, and when you read it on paper it’s almost easy to see it more as a horror than a comedy. Some if it really is hilarious, and the language is beautiful, so it was with some conflicted feelings that I found I was really enjoying it. I think the surprise of what I was reading added to the excitement.

I’d like to see this one performed. I think I read it as Katherine playing it straight, which is almost painful, but I could see if coming off much differently if the actors involved decided to play it sarcastic. It would still be sexist, but much easier to sit through.

It can sound like an excuse when someone says that racist or sexist story elements are products of the time in which they were written, but it is true. I think it’s best to take it as an important reminder of how things were and a happy reminder of how far we’ve come.

4 thoughts on “The Classics Club – Year Two

  1. Geoff W

    I’m with you, I completely missed my two year anniversary (I think, and can’t be bothered to search my blog), but I’ve also abandoned the five year goal as I won’t hit the 100 mark in five years as I’ve only just hit 31 books!

    Reply
    1. Rob Post author

      100 in five years would be a big struggle for me. I think I’ll do 50, but anything more would definitely involve a bit more effort, as I do love my variety.

      Reply
  2. Leigh

    There is a Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor movie of Taming of the Shrew. Still somewhat painful to watch, but in it Katherine’s spirit isn’t dimmed.

    Reply

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