By Sandra Newman
A side-splitting travel that makes it a blast to learn the Western literary canon, from the traditional Greeks to the Modernists.
To many, the nice Books evoke angst: the advanced Renaissance dramas we bluffed our means via in university, the dusty Everyman's Library versions that glance stylish at the shelf yet make us consider responsible simply because they've by no means been opened. On a challenge to revive the West's nice works to their rightful position (they have been meant to be entertaining!), Sandra Newman has produced a examining consultant like no different. starting with Greek and Roman literature, she takes readers via hilarious detours and appealing ancient tidbits at the street to Modernism. alongside the best way, we discover parallels among Rabelais and South Park, Jane Austen and Sex and the City, Jonathan rapid and Jon Stewart, uncovering the unique humor and riskiness that propelled nice authors to celebrity.
Packed with popular culture gemstones, tales of literary hoaxes, ironic day jobs for authors, undesirable studies of books that might later turn into classics, and more.
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Additional info for The Western Lit Survival Kit: An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner
Surrounded by these creative men, the woman is an outsider, excluded from their shared masculinity, struggling to understand both their language and their culture. In one drafted paragraph, Porter describes in detail the woman’s determination to acquire their knowledge: “She feared them a little: their solidarity of interest, of race, of sex. They were familiars to one another, but mysterious to her. . She was unread, inexperienced in ideas. . Their derived theories came to her as from a clear fountain of original thought.
17 “The Shattered Star” carefully contrasts Nayagta’s home culture with that of the Moon-demons. The Eskimos fear change and the unknown. They live secure, repeating ancient patterns, loving “the blue ice and the heavy sea, and the slow-moving bergs. . They sleep warmly in huts of ice, and cook their food of ﬁsh and oil” (14–15). The simplicity and security of repetition shape their muted creativity. Nayagta’s mother comforts her with a song, but it is “the same song always, that had only three notes in it” (13).
In Porter’s version powerful women abound: an “old woman made the match” and a “Fairy Queen” steals the young man from his betrothed. Porter names her princess and prince, Saila and Tasar, respectively, and, as in “The Faithful Princess,” makes her heroine both able and decisive. The original unnamed princess wanders about weeping “day and night” in “anxious search” after her husband is abducted, and ﬁnds him only when an old man shows her the way. Saila, by contrast, pursues his abductors immediately and, after awakening him from a spell and learning he is under the magic powers of the Fairy Queen, briskly and optimistically resolves, “Then I will learn magic.
The Western Lit Survival Kit: An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner by Sandra Newman