21 May 2007

Book meme

I've been tagged. So, without further ado, and not to replicate Puff's answers, (and also to put my ridiculous education to some use) I will mainly draw on what I read whilst working on my degrees:


Without saying, the Bible, but then: (And in no particular order):

1) Plutarch's Lives. The influence of this book cannot be overstated. To understand most of the older English authors you must be familiar with this one. Even Frankenstein's monster read it, for cryin' out loud.
2) Sir Philip Sidney's A Defense of Poetry. Best line: "And certainly, though a man should grant their first assumption, it should follow, methinks, very unwillingly, that good is not good because better is better."
3) Roger Acham: The Scholemaster. Possibly the most common sense approach to education I have seen. To sum up his ideas: To educate a child well, find a good teacher.

Runner up: CS Lewis Abolition of Man, Thucydides, Herodotus, Tacitus, Livy, etc.


1) Shakespeare. The Complete Works. I was going to list a few plays individually, but that seemed like cheating.
2) Beaumont and Fletcher: The Knight of the Burning Pestle. An incredibly funny work written by the men who took over for Shakespeare when he retired from the King's Men. Best line (a stage direction, actually): Enter with a forked arrow through his head.
3) Chaucer The Canterbury Tales. Because he is that darn good, once you practice reading him enough to get the language.

Some runners up: Milton, Virgil, Ovid, Homer. If you read English, particularly works by the older authors, you must know these. And Frankenstein's monster read Milton, too.


1) St. John of the Cross. My favourite Catholic author, closely followed by
2) St. Theresa of Avila.
3) Shakespeare. Because.

Runners up: Too many to mention.


1) Anything by Jacques Derrida.
2) Anything by Michel Foucault.
3) Any other French Literary theorist. Because I spent too much time in my "English" classes reading French intellectuals debating a hypothetical and theoretical position from which we may begin to have a discussion about having a discussion about how approach literary works... to lay a groundwork, with an infinitely receding ground, upon which we may begin to create a framework through which we may begin... something... and not reading literary works. Oh wait... they destroyed the notion of "literariness".... so all we read were "texts". Instead of being professional literary critics we were turning into amateur philosophers.

Dishonourable mention: Even though Frank's monster read it, I think no one should read Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. I got saddled with that thing one class, and ten pages in I was wishing he would hurry up and commit suicide. The book's fans identified with the main moron and emulated him, wearing clothes like him, stalking girls like him, committing suicide like him. They were sort of like Trekkies, but with a shorter life span.

I tag, (in addition to the one Puff tagged,):

Voxcantor ,

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