It’s been a while since I participated in a Classics Club meme question. Mostly because I answered them first time around but also a little bit due to the fact that my life is busier now than last time around.
However, I have a lovely lazy quiet weekend ahead of me and I’ve been tempted into talking about the classics I’m reading this month.
I thoroughly enjoyed dipping back into these childhood favourites…so much so, that I plan to continue on and reread Little Men and Jo’s Boys throughout March. If anyone would like to join me in reading these two lesser known Alcott’s, please let me know in the comments below.
Reading the Little Women books as an adult proved to be an interesting experience thanks to some knowledge about Alcott’s life that I had picked up along the way.
As a child I didn’t appreciate that she wrote these books based loosely on her family situation or that Alcott’s family lived a life that was a little unusual to those of mainstream America.
This reread made me curious to know more…which leads me to the third book I hope to read during March – Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louise May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2008.
Louisa May Alcott is known universally. Yet during Louisa’s youth, the famous Alcott was her father, Bronson—an eminent teacher and a friend of Emerson and Thoreau. He desired perfection, for the world and from his family. Louisa challenged him with her mercurial moods and yearnings for money and fame. The other prize she deeply coveted—her father’s understanding—seemed hardest to win. This story of Bronson and Louisa’s tense yet loving relationship adds dimensions to Louisa’s life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters.
These are not the only classics I plan to read in March.
Heavenali is hosting her wonderful #Woolfalong all year. I knew I didn’t want to start with the ‘toughies’ Mrs Dalloway or To the Lighthouse, so I’ve been waiting for phase two to kick in.
The Voyage Out was her very first novel published in 1915 and I like the idea of starting at the beginning. Given that her writing has been described as experimental and full of ‘intense lyricism and stylistic virtuosity‘ (thanks wikipedia) I think reading her books in order will allow me to develop my understanding of her in the same way as she developed her unique style.
In The Voyage Out, one of Woolf’s wittiest, socially satirical novels, Rachel Vinrace embarks for South America on her father’s ship, and is launched on a course of self-discovery in a modern version of the mythic voyage. Lorna Sage’s Introduction and Explanatory Notes offer guidance to the reader new to Woolf, and illuminate Woolf’s presence, not identifiable in the heroine, but in the social satire, lyricism and patterning of consciousness in one woman’s rite of passage.
If all goes well I will jump into Night and Day (1919) and Jacob’s Room (1922) in April, especially since my Wordsworth edition has them conveniently published in the same book.
Virginia Woolf’s second novel, Night and Day (1919), portrays the gradual changes in a society, the patterns and conventions of which are slowly disintegrating; where the representatives of the younger generation struggle to forge their own way, for ‘… life has to be faced: to be rejected; then accepted on new terms with rapture’. Woolf begins to experiment with the novel form while demonstrating her affection for the literature of the past.
Jacob’s Room (1922), Woolf’s third novel, marks the bold affirmation of her own voice and search for a new form to express her view that ‘the human soul … orientates itself afresh every now & then. It is doing so now. No one can see it whole therefore.’ Jacob’s life is presented in subtle, delicate and tantalising glimpses, the novel’s gaps and silences are as replete with meaning as the wicker armchair creaking in the empty room.
Do you have any classic reads on your radar this month?