Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Classics Club: Full of surprises...


For February, the Classics Club's question came as a surprise itself:  Which Classic has surprised me so far and why?  

Now, would that be a nice or a nasty surprise?  and then, why would I feel surprised at reading a Classic? too high expectations or too low?

I really have to think about this.  Could I ever read a Classic and be surprised?  The fact that they're considered classics should tell me that I expect something of specific quality to read.  

Take for instance Lady Susan by Jane Austen.  For me, Austen was (I'm really inclined to say is) synonymous with romance, lady-sensitive easy reading (i.e. boring in my book...).  Well, my dear Classics-readers, Lady Susan is definitely NOT that.  Instead, it's an insight into an ultra-intelligent, sneaky, double-faced woman that's so delightful to read that I kept giggling for the most part of the book.  The reality that we can find in the background of all the known romantic situations - with all the back-stabbing, the lies, the social pressure, the snake tears - is so true to fact that I'm surprised that Lady Susan was published at all...

The result was that I started regarding Austen in a totally different light - I can now discern her cynic streak in the books she writes and I actually look forward to it.    

Never start reading a Classic with a pre-conceived expectation.  Let it guide you through its pages and let the outcome be a real surprise - that's the beauty of reading!






4 comments:

  1. I LOVE how scandalous Lady Susan is! It makes the rest of Austen's work look so tame even though all of them have some sort of social criticism which I thoroughly enjoy.

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    1. Scandalous - that's exactly what it is, and that's why I loved it!

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  2. I have as yet to read Lady Susan. But I'm glad your opinion of Austen has changed. I, personally, don't consider her a romance writer. She is more a writer of manners. (Comedy of Manners?). I enjoy her sparkle and her wit. But most of all I enjoy her insights into human nature. She is/was very sharp, I think. :)

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    Replies
    1. Still regard her as romantic, but I know what you mean...

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