“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


How Do I Love Classics? Let Me Count The Ways...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

There is a scene in Jane Eyre in which Jane saves Mr. Rochester's life by dousing a fire that caught in his bed while he was sleeping. His response is to say the following to her:
"You saved my life; I have a pleasure in owing you so immense a debt. I cannot say more. Nothing else that has being would have been tolerable to me in the character of creditor for such an obligation; but you, it is different – I feel your benefits no burden, Jane ... I knew ... you would do me good in some way, at some time; I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you; their expression and smile did not ... strike delight to my very inmost heart so for nothing. People talk of natural sympathies; I have heard of good genii; there are grains of truth in the wildest fable. My cherished preserver, good-night!"
And what do you think he would say if he was in a modern novel instead of a classic?
"You saved my life! I owe you one! You're my guardian angel, babe!"
The language of the classics is so rich. It conveys so much more depth of emotion. No matter how many classics I read, I doubt I will ever be able to speak or write such rich language, and frankly it would be hard to be take someone seriously these days if they spoke or wrote that way anyway. Just one more reason I love reading the classics.

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At 3/06/2011 3:59 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! wrote:

I've always appreciated your love of the classics. it makes me want to share it, to be smarter, and to read the things you do. and then? i don't. you read the books i always tell myself i SHOULD. but instead, i'll still adore it in YOU. ; )

At 3/23/2011 9:59 PM, Anonymous Heather Ivester wrote:

Me too! You're speaking my language here, Geekwif. I think I'm falling in love with Mr. Rochester all over again. *sigh* (Though he and Jane do make a much better couple.) That is one of my all-time favorite books, and I just got my daughter to read it, so we can talk about it.

I went to hear an English professor give a talk on "The Greatness of The Great Gatsby" the other day. It was amazing. One of my goals in life is to re-read all of the classics I read in younger years and try to figure out why they're still so popular. I read a lot of newly published novels too, and it's fun to compare!

At 5/29/2011 10:05 AM, Anonymous Jim wrote:

It never ceases to amaze me that both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights bear multiple repeated readings without losing their 'bite' or beauty. I suppose that is what makes them 'classics.' I do wonder how many (if any) of the pile of contemporary novels I plod through will survive to attain that status.


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