For November, the Classics Club's question had me thinking: given my obvious preference for the Classics, would I still have any hidden fear for certain types of classic literature? would any certain languages, any certain volumes intimidate me, make me keep away from them?
There is a simple answer to this:
The wonderful world of language
I pride myself in being able to read in several languages, and thus get the full context of a piece of literature. Even in the languages I speak, however, there are certain expressions I'm not familiar with - these I simply enjoy to the fullest as they improve my knowledge of the language (Shakespeare even taught me new swearwords...). When I read a book in translation, on the other hand, I make sure I've studied about it beforehand, just to get in the spirit and be able to "read" the social background of the story. (Also, it's never too late to learn another language...). So, language is definitely not intimidating for me!
Short is good, long is daunting?
How about the length of a book? Would that ever intimidate me? Would I resist reading War and Peace? Clarissa? Well, it would certainly take a lot of determination to sit down and make a plan reading those, but once I had decided to undertake such a task, I look forward to reading through the immense number of pages and make little notes (so as not to lose track) and get to the end of them. Plus, I just love looking at the thick volumes in my library, with their wafer-thin pages and ever so minuscule letters...
Is a literary journey ever frightful?
Whatever Classic I've read so far, I've felt as if I'm in for a treat. However complicated the plot (ahem, Master and Margarita) I dive into a reality that will transfer me miles, centuries, worlds away and for a while I AM the main character in that book and live through these adventures - what better way to let go of (real) life's ... reality? No, there's nothing about the Classics that intimidates. On the contrary, I seek solace in them - and they have never failed to deliver!