Sunday, February 28, 2010

Classics Challenges

Today being February 28, it is the end of the four month Really Old Classics Challenge, the object of which was to read at least one work written before 1600 AD. It was close, what with January being a complete wash and February not much better, but I did manage to complete the challenge. However, I did not read the work originally intended, The Odyssey. The year starting out as bad as it has, I had to switch to a shorter work found online, Poetics by Aristotle (about 25 pages).

Poetics, it can be argued, is the first book for writers, particularly screenwriters and playwrights. Poetics endeavors to outline the differences between Comedic, Epic and Tragic "poetry," or as we now know it, drama, especially concentrating on the differences and similarities between Epic and tragic, and the basic (good) components of each.
Tragedy endeavors, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed this limit, whereas Epic action has no limits of time.
Aristotle goes on to argue that there are six integral parts of a tragedy -- Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, and Song -- and explains in great detail what he believes are the essential qualities of each, elements that are dictated to writers even today. I don't know that I would recommend this particular book to the average reader, but writers may find it of interest, if for no other reason than to see how little the "rules" of writing have changed over the centuries.


As if I am not masochistic enough, I found another classics challenge today, which actually coincides with my own 2010 reading goal of reading at least four classics before the end of the year. The Classics Challenge 2010 runs from April 1 through October 31. There are three levels of participation. For rules and sign up click on the link or image above. My only complaint is that I wish it started March 1, as one of the March group reads for TNBBC is Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I do plan to read seeing as it in my TBR pile.

Now, according to the rules of this challenge, you are supposed to list the books you intend to read. Chyeah, right. I am not going to put anything in stone, except to say I do intend to aim for four books. At least one will be by Jane Austen, either P&P or S&S, as they are both in my TBR and I have read four others by her. At least one will probably be by Virginia Woolf, as I have three of hers in the TBR. One may be a children's classic I somehow missed, A Wind in the Willows. That's as close as I will come to making a commitment. *g*


Alice Audrey said...

P&P and S&S were the first two of hers that I read. I really should go pick up some more of hers.

You make Poetics actually sound interesting, rather than dry as bones.

Heather said...

Wow, I made Poetics sound interesting? Guess it's a good thing I didn't say more! *g*

Alice Audrey said...

LOL. Yeah, for a nano-second I actually considered digging up a copy.

You came by too soon. I have something for you today.

Shelley Munro said...

You're much braver than me. That's not a challenge I'd enjoy. :)

Heather said...

Alice: A whole nano-second, huh? LOL

Shelley: LOL...I read four classics in 2009 and ended up liking them all, so I figured I'd give it another go, might even read more than four this year. The Really Old Classics was more challenging. Though short, Poetics is pretty dense reading.

Irishcoda said...

I think it's great you read The Odyssey. Now that I'm out of high school I'm afraid I have no interest in reading anything written before 1800 LOL

Heather said...

Irishcoda: Thanks, but I DID NOT read The Odyssey. I intended to, but the year starting out as bad as it did, I had to switch to a shorter work for that challenge.

Latesha said...

Impressive. I look forward to seeing you achieve your goals. = )

Heather said...

L - Why do I have the feeling you're going to hold me accountable? lol