Thursday, January 20, 2011
Literary Blog Hop
Discuss a work of literary merit that you hated when you were made to read it in school or university. Why did you dislike it?
First of all, hate is a very strong word and I do not think I have ever read "a work of literary merit" that I truly hated (I reserve that for books without literary merit). However, I have had the experience of disliking some worthy literary tomes that were assigned as reading in school. Those that I remember the best are the ones that I subsequently reread with much more appreciation for the aspects of the book that I did not appreciate originally. One of the most notable examples in my experience was my first encounter with the writing of George Eliot, namely her novel Silas Marner. I remember finding it both difficult and dull. The nuances of Eliot's prose were lost on me and even in a short novel, as this is, I found the reading difficult. As a young high school student I had little interest in this miser and the orphan girl that he takes in and raises as his own.
Only in recent years as an adult who has read and reread Eliot's other novels, especially Middlemarch, with great appreciation did I return to this small novel from her early years as a writer. I found Silas Marner to be a much different book than the one I remembered disliking in High School, or rather I was a much different person who, in my current persona, discovered the real literary merit that had been hidden from me when I was a mere teen. The ability of Eliot to portray the power of love to heal the unjustly damaged person that Silas had become made this a masterly work of authorial genius. This realization took more reading experience than I had at the time I was originally "required" to read the novel. It seems I have spent as many words describing how I overcame my original dislike of this novel, while the original question was simply why I disliked it. I guess I find the discovery and correction of my error more interesting and also find the experience explains why I am less likely to judge a book, especially one that appears to be of literary merit, harshly upon first reading.