Haven't read Proust yet. There's a book or two lying around, so perhaps I should try.Talk about putting someone to sleep, what about Proust? Yet I can still read it and appreciate the genius of it.
Not really. I haven't read enough of it, though, to tell you why.Is the Wasteland something that grabs you and doesn't let you go?
Certainly.I guess all this depends upon what part of ourselves we most want grabbed.
For a taste map, let me go through the authors you mentioned above:
Proust: not read
Kafka: I love Kafka; probably one of my major influences
Mann: Bored me
Dostoyevsky: Not read; wary; from what I heard he's idealising and describing too much for my taste, but I won't know until I try
Lawrence: I love Lawrence; especially his shorts
Salinger: Only read Catcher, found it entertaining while I read it, but didn't really impact me much.
Woolf: has written some of my favourite shorts; her novels are hard going, but very rewarding if you stick with them
Hemingway: A strange one. I can't seem to make up my mind. So far, I've only read shorts, though.
When you're looking at pre-20th Century literature it's pretty clear that there are some works you can't get around: the Bible, Shakespear, Milton, Dante, The Decameron, Arabian Nights... You don't need a specialist to tell you that; the authors do. In the books themselves.Originally Posted by Fung Koo
With the rise of mass-literacy things changed. And with the rise of mass communication and film (telephones to sattelites) things changed once again. I can't help thinking that the need to creat a list is somewhat reactionary. A move to protect "good literature".
I agree that in acedemia a common stock of communication is necessary, but I don't really think we need a single person or committee to dictate what that stock is. I'm pretty sure that this takes care of itself through re-prints and critical editions. It's much more useful as a handy history, I think. It's a pretty long list that contains plenty of stuff I never heard of (and my degree included literature in part).