The Classics Club created Monthly Meme to bring members of the club closer together using various discussion topics. A new question is asked each month pertaining to the classics, and bloggers are given a chance to weigh in on their own blog as well as others. Below is this months question as well as my response.
Why are you reading the classics?
Dear Classic Club Moderators,
How can you ask such a question? Seriously, WHY am I reading the classics? Do you not know what goes on in those books? Obviously you do, you’re reading them, but still.
Since you asked, I’m including a list of reasons as to why I’m reading the classics. Please have a sense of humor going into this. I only partially mean most of them.
I am reading the classics so that when my mother asks “Who is Jane Austen again?” a little piece of me can die. Who are we kidding, it’s a big piece of me that died when she asked that. Yes, that really happened. My own mother.
I am reading the classics because it’s essential for those who want to walk around talking about Transcendentalist writers and the Lost Generation of artists. Don’t talk about them if you don’t know anything about them. Yes, I’ve told myself that before.
I am reading the classics because they look so beautiful on my shelf, especially when they come from The Folio Society.
I am reading the classics so that when I go to England for a second time I can actually want to go see something Dickens related.
I am reading the classics because they have a fantastic “Buy Two, Get The Third Free” sale at Barnes & Noble every so often, and you can’t turn down such an offer.
I am reading the classics because they keep making movies based on them starring Keira Knightley, whom I adore, and I’m a “Read the book first” sort of person.
I am reading the classics because my high school English teachers told me they were important. They also told me I would love Lord of the Flies, so perhaps I should be ignoring their advice.
I am reading the classics because I love trying to figure out if the curtains being blue hide some deep, inner meaning, or if, perhaps, the curtains are just blue because they needed to be a color.
I am reading the classics because I intend on being an English Literature professor, and I can’t wait to make my students ponder the inner meaning of the blue curtains.
If you would like a real answer, I am reading the classics for a reason that Italo Calvino points out:
A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
Leave it to an Italian to solve the great mystery. Grazie, Italo!
A classic will always have more to say. I can read any classic multiple times and find something new each time. A new idea. A new meaning behind the stupid blue curtains. No matter what classic it is, I always find myself going back to it and thinking about what I read, and I don’t do that very often with mainstream books. In one ear, out the other? Not with a classic.
There is, of course, the reality that I am going to be a Literature professor one day, and when that day comes I want to have ALL THE KNOWLEDGE in classic literature. I obviously wouldn’t be striving for that career choice if I hated classics, so there you have it. Let’s just say the only reason for it is because I want to be a boss professor one day. Sound good? Perfect.
Why are you reading the classics?