Classic Remarks 2016


The excellent women (and longtime blogfriends of mine) at Pages Unbound are hosting Classic Remarks, a weekly meme that asks questions about various pieces of classic literature. I’ve dusted off my memory and jumped in to participate.

  1. Is Jane Eyre‘s Rochester an attractive and brooding love interest, or dangerously manipulative?
  2. Some argue Jane Austen writes “fluff” and others argue she belongs in the canon because she writes witty social commentary. Do you think Austen belongs in the canon? Why or why not?
  3. Is Romeo and Juliet a tragic love story or an ironic comedy? Should we take the play seriously when its protagonists are so young?
  4. Which of Toni Morrison’s books is your favorite or affected you the most, and why? [SKIPPED on account of having read no Morrison.]
  5. Susan Pevensie’s fate in C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle has been criticized for being sexist. Do you think it’s sexist or is Lewis trying to do or say something else?
  6. Which March sister from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is your favorite and why? Do you agree with the way their lives played out [SKIPPED on account of having read no Alcott.]
  7. Is Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew misogynistic? Should we continue to stage it?
  8. Recommend a diverse classic. Or you can argue that a diverse book should be a classic or should be included in the canon. Or you can argue that the book should be a classic, but that you don’t want to see it in the canon.
  9. Which Tolkien book would you recommend to a reader after they’ve finished The Hobbit and LotR?
  10. Is the Phantom of the Opera abusive or romantic? (You can discuss the musical or the book version, or the differences between the two.)
  11. Which Austen adaptation is your favorite and why?
  12. What children’s classic couldn’t you read enough when you were growing up?
  13. Which of Dumas’ Musketeer’s is your favorite and why?
  14. Recommend a classic book that you think translated particularly well to screen (even if the adaptation was not entirely faithful).
  15. Should we be assigning Lolita in schools or is it taking up valuable syllabus space another book should have?
  16. What is your favorite classic picture book? Or you can tell us about a picture book you think will or should become a classic.
  17. Middlemarch has received criticism for the fate of its heroine Dorothea Brooke as some believe she does not live up to feminist ideals as she remains limited in her influence and matched to an inferior partner. Do you think such criticism is warranted?
  18. Do you think the end of Charlotte Brontë’s Villete is a feminist triumph or an emotional tragedy? Or something else entirely?
  19. Which classic book do you wish had a sequel and why?
  20. Daisy Buchanan from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby says she wishes her daughter will be a “beautiful little fool.” Is Daisy herself nothing but a fool or is she trapped by her society?
  21. George Orwell’s 1984 is often referenced when discussions of privacy and oversight arise. Do you think an Orwellian state could happen or is that overstating the case?
  22. Nahum Tate is infamous for his 1681 adaptation of King Lear with a happy ending. Why do you think some adaptations of works are praised and others dismissed? Can we separate the merit of an adaptation from the merit of the work it is based on?
  23. Tell us about your favorite Charles Dickens novels.
  24. Recommend a classic you think should be read during the holiday season.
  25. You’ve been dropped into L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. What do you do first?