Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shelley, Austen, and Gaskell

Oh, people. Do you KNOW how difficult I'm finding it to read Frankenstein? It's very slow going. So slow, in fact, that I was less than half way through it when my book club met on Monday to discuss it. I'm not even to the second part yet. I pick it up with every good intention, but find myself distracted by the language/style/whatever. I read a sentence, then have to stop and translate it so I can understand it.

AND?

Austen is written in the same style! I LOOKED!

AND!

Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the movie versions of her novels (Wives & Daughters*, Cranford, and North and South) and would love to pick copies up to read but HOLY CATS, the LANGUAGE!

I'm stressing over this. I love the IDEA of the Shelley, Austen, and Gaskell novels but am not sure I'm cut out to actually READ them.

Please tell me I'm not the only one.

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*OK, I just read the first little bit of Wives & Daughters on gutenberg.org and it probably won't be so bad.

4 comments:

LeahBear said...

It just takes practice, I promise! The more you read, the more you'll understand!

Badger said...

Dude! I dunno about Gaskell but Austen and Shelley are on Librivox -- FREE audio versions of their stuff! I tried to read Emma about a million times before I finally listened to someone ELSE read it and it actually sort of made sense that way. Audio books are the way to go with really dense writing, yo.

Red Hamster said...

I, too, loved the movie versions of Elizabeth Gaskell's works; ashamed to say I haven't read her books. But thanks to your link to "Wives & Daughters" online. I did some brief reading and Gaskell's prose seems "lighter" and her local dialects reminded me of my visits to the U.K., so maybe I'm able to grasp Gaskell better.

Shelley and Austen's writing seems complex and lengthy to those of reading blog posts and Twitter. I'd try Badger's excellent suggestion.

Jay said...

You are not alone.

I quite like Jane Austen, when I'm in the mood, but Mary Shelley? I found her quite unreadable. I haven't tried Catherine Gaskell.

For me, it's not a matter of not understanding, or not being in practice at reading the classics. I thoroughly enjoyed most of Thomas Hardy, and I've read a lot of H G Wells and individual books by many different classical authors, Dickens, Kingsley, Swift, Zola, Marquez etc. No, to me, it has to do with enjoyment.

The bottom line is this; am I enjoying this reading experience, or am I reading on because I feel I have to? If it's the second option, then unless I'm reading for coursework or something, I close the book and stop right there. ;)