Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Classics Club Meme #20



What is your favorite “classic” literary period and why?

Considering that I have only been studying literature for two years, I am not familiar with literary periods; therefore, I had to research it.  The Literature Network has this excellent Literary Periods and Movements graphic on its site.



It was helpful to know where authors fit in before I determined which movements contained authors I have so far enjoyed.  I was able to consider those periods as some of my most-liked; but probably I have not read enough to understand my absolute most favorite time period.  Basically, I cannot answer the question fully.

For now, as a (young) student of literature, I see that my preferred authors tend to fall in these periods:

(Spanish) Renaissance, with Cervantes;
Romantic, with Austen, Melville, and Hawthorne
Realism, with Twain, Tolstoy, and Orwell (though he has been called anti-realist)
Transcendental, with Thoreau and Emerson
Existentialism, with Camus and Dostoyevsky
Naturalism, with Wharton and Crane
and Victorian, with Brontë and Dickens

Some of my other favorite authors fell in the area of Modernism - of which I have struggled to find any great works, so far; however, I do like early Modern authors, such as, Fitzgerald, and I do enjoy Hemingway in a very strange way. (He frustrates me, but I tolerate his writing for his stories and their truths.)  It is still no wonder that later modern writers and I do not get along at all.

After looking over the broad view of periods, my heart tends to lean toward the periods and movements from 1820 to the early 1900's, covering Realism, Transcendental, Victorianearly Existentialism, through Naturalism.  The only reasons I can think of why I am attracted to these periods is because I prefer reality and truth in its most natural state, with a greater focus on characters and people and nature.

That is the best I can do, as far as narrowing it down.  But maybe in a few more years, I will know better what my favorite literary period is.

15 comments:

  1. Love Camus and Dostoevsky, too! And I've been reading some of Hawthorne's short stories and have been surprised that they are as scary as Edgar Allan Poe! I've yet to read a novel by Edith Wharton, I've only read a couple of short stories.

    Your post is very informative! It's been a while since I've studied literature from an historical perspective. I don't always know exactly where an author falls on a timeline.
    -Dale

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    1. Thank you, Dale. I have a weakness for timelines. (Oh, Poe is another favorite of mine - so many authors I forgot about while writing this.) And, still, I have a lot to learn and so much more to read.

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  2. My favourite period also covers the dates you mentioned for the same reason. I feel at home with the more character driven, nature based literature from this time (although some of the gothic horror stuff from this time is also fun).

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    1. Would Gothic coincide with Romantic? And, is Poe considered Gothic? I don't know these things, so I should probably look it up. Frankenstein was certainly interesting.

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  3. Great post, Ruth! And you found a beautiful poster. :)

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    1. It is beautiful. I do wish they could have added more authors and titles. I'd love a ceiling to floor copy of something like that.

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  4. What an inventive way to approach this post! I was truly educated. I find that I am lacking in the Transcendentalist category, probably sub-consciously avoiding it but I know I have to get around to reading some of these authors sooner or later.

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    1. Well, I think we'll be reading some Thoreau in TWEM biographies.

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    2. Oh, good. That means it will be impossible to avoid him! ;-)

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  5. I love that graphic. My favourite periods fall within the same date range as yours, although I do love post-WW1 literature, so I'd probably go up to 1940.

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    1. I would love to know what your favorite post-WWI lit. I know I do enjoy early Modernism, but it depends what it is.

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  6. I find it so interesting that, regarding Hemingway, you "tolerate his writing for his stories and their truths." I'm the opposite -- I tolerate his stories just to soak in his writing!

    Thanks for providing that chart. I'm going to have to give this question a go after all, and quit pleading era-ignorance.

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    1. I'm telling you, it's like pulling teeth with me. I think I focus more on content than style. But like I said, I am a new reader of classic literature, and how I used to read before does not count today. So maybe if I reread Hemingway stories, I may have a different feeling about it. Who knows!

      BTW, I'm looking forward to read which lit periods are your favorites. Using the chart was really helpful.

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    2. My m-i-l felt the same way until I convinced her to read some of his Nick Adams stories. She really liked "Big Two-Hearted River," and it turns out before that she'd only read "The Old Man and the Sea" and thought all his writing was like that. (Myself, I really don't care for TOMatS at all.)

      My favorite of his is "A Moveable Feast," which is a memoir and just fascinating.

      Just posted about my favorite periods, or lack thereof, lol.

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  7. So grateful to you for sharing that website! Thank you :)

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