Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Hanging out with the Literati

This week has been something of a literary tea party...

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post something about becoming a reading anomaly? Well, that dream was, sadly, not realised. Time and duty conspired against me, and while I have been reading more than usual, I have yet to make much of a dent in that large pile which dominates the top shelf of my baby-library.

Nonetheless, this has been a Lit-filled week. It has lead me to the following conclusion. Next year, I intend to begin the task of becoming:
Phillipa-Emily-Jane-Edith-TS-Stephenie-Ian-Gregory-Bronte-Austen-Wharton-Eliot-McEwan.
In other words, the hybridized protege of all my idols. This week, I think I will devote a post to why I look up to these people.

Phillipa Gregory: She's probably best known for being the Author of The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a movie earlier this year. I am absolutely obsessed with the Tudor era, and it is through the medium of this woman's work that I have learned to love the genre of historical fiction. She is amazing, and I would one day love to meet her and talk about the thought processes she goes through when she is exploring the psychology of history's biggest figures.

Emily Bronte: Only ever wrote one book; Wuthering Heights. Many can easily dismiss this text as being flimsy, a romance built on little substance, with an unsatisfying ending. These people miss its more intricate meaning. It is a story which doesn't fail to ignore the failings of the human race; we are a selfish, vindictive, power driven people, who care about status and will ultimately torture those we love most mercilessly.

Jane Austen: Well, honestly, do I really even need to say much here? She's just amazing, and everyone is familiar with her work. Currently I'm reading Pride and Prejudice. I just love the depth she goes into with her characters and their relationships right from the start. And will somebody please tell me its not impossible that a Mr Darcy could really exist?? As a very clever English Lit teacher once said, "There is no Mr Right, there is only Mr Darcy."

Edith Wharton: Amazing woman. Lead such a colourful and exciting life. Didn't care that most people couldn't respect her because she didn't fit in with their narrow minded ideals of 'living'. The Age of Innocence, which i just finished studying for English Lit, is a great book which can relate to life of any era. Best of all, its a book I can love even when I hate the main character.

TS Eliot: I know he's a poet. I really do. But how can I go past those lines from The Hollow Men "The world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper." He was a genius.

Ian McEwan: I read Atonement earlier this year. It's perfect. It's everything that I could ever want to write myself- it has clearly developed themes and issues, its characters and their relationships are wonderful, the protagonist is a writer and it doesn't have an unrealistic ending. I do feel however that the ending feels a little like one that reads "And then I woke up and it was all a dream..." It almost finishes too quickly, leaving the audience screaming "Wait but what about..." Made me cry though, and for a book, that's a hard thing to do. I also loved the movie.

So there you go. One day, perhaps, an ambitious young author will put my name on a list of role models just like this one. Next to my name, I hope it reads: Some of the most insightful writing I have ever had the pleasure to critique.

More than likely, this will be followed by the words: I am given the impression that the author is a little batty.

I don't mind though. I just want to be up there with the big names.

I'm off to be insightful now. Keep it real.

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