I remember a day back in High School when the regular teacher was absent and the substitute used the hour to read a Poe classic to the normally boisterous class.
First, the substitute was a graying, middle-aged gent who might be mistaken for the wrestling coach; however, he was a French teacher and spoke with a willowy lisp. He was precious, in a Percy Dovetonsils way. But he was also a great story-teller and that day he held the class in thrall with Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.
In this time of Covid-19 we all have plenty of time and hopefully that means lots more reading: books, books, books.
Continue reading “Was There a Blue Death?”
Back in the early 1960s I was the sleepy blond surfer with the denim Converse and the sea-salty epidural itch. I was an inadvertent undercover scholar who passed for being bored in class because I was bored in class. When the teacher asked a question I often allowed the tense quiet to build before I almost imperceptibly raised my arm and grunted the correct answer.
My favorite class was English and in my senior year I happily read lots of books, drawled out correct answers, aced all the quizzes and tests, all while affecting a bad boy attitude toward school and learning.
Continue reading “Wuthering Heights”
I’ve noticed that many new High School reading lists contain more and more relevant contemporary novels. Of course many of the best works were not even written when I was in school but it’s good to also see some emphasis still remains on the more traditional “Classics.”
Here are the 15 classics that are High School Must Reads:
Continue reading “High School Must Reads”
I recently read a piece in the New York Times Book Section that had me shaking my head. The subject of Bookends was “Is the Writer’s Only Responsibility to His Art?” The direction of this inquiry seemed obviously focused on the artist’s approach to his or her art (in this case literature) but the responses to the question clearly misinterpreted it to refer to the other responsibilities the artist might have, to his kids or to some moral code imposed by society or religion.
The quotation is from that drunken rascal William Faulkner (watch the film Barton Fink for a fun fictional representation of a Faulkner clone).
Perhaps here is an opportunity to recall Parker’s Myths of Literature:
Continue reading “Myths About Literature”