Monday 16 February 2015

Literary Movement Reading Challenge

Once again, I'm late to the party but I hope to make up for it within the next few months. This will be an intense year-long event hosted by Fanda over at Fanda Classiclit so a shout out to her for organizing it all. Participants will be required to read works from particular literary movements designated for each month, starting with the middle ages all the way to post-modernism. Yikes. It's like English 101 all over again. I already missed January but I plan to go back and finish it up at some point in time. Here is my tentative list so far:

January: Medieval - The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer  

February: Renaissance - Astrophil and Stella by Philip Sydney

March: Enlightenment - Poetic works by Dryden, Pope, Marvell, Katherine Phillips...  

April: Romanticism - Various works by the big six: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, Keats, Blake. Plus over-looked female writers: Charlotte Smith, Hannah More.  

May: Transcendentalism - Walden by Henry David Thoreau

June: Victorian - North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 

July: Realism - Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain  

August: Naturalism - The Call of the Wild, White Fang and other stories by Jack London  

September: Existentialism - The Stranger by Albert Camus  

October: Modernism - Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence; various short stories

November: The Beat Generation - Howl by Alan Ginsberg, Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, On the Road by Jack Kerouac  

December: Post-Modernism - Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Man in the High Castle by PKD, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon...

 Well, I really got my work cut out for me now.


  1. I'm reading The Cantebury Tales, probably beginning next month or the one after. I also have Walden scheduled for around the same time as you, so we'll have some reads in common! As for On the Road, I'm planning to read it next month to fit my unofficial Literary Birthdays Challenge.

    Bravo, for participating in this challenge. Because of my terror of lists, I decided not to. Already my plans for 2015 are changing ...... I was going to try to read more 20th century authors but I think I'll take a u-turn and head on back to a more sensible era. I can never seem to stick with a list. :-(

  2. I've read parts of the Cantebury Tales but never its entirety. I am slowly making my way through it. Ugh, I cant stand middle-english.

    Cool, it will be fun to read Walden together. I have no idea what to expect with this one so it will be nice to bounce thoughts and ideas off one another. I get the sneaking suspicion that On the Road will be disappointing despite the hype so that is why I included other works from that movement. This "Literary Birthdays Challenge" you speak of sounds mighty intriguing. can you reveal more details about it or is it all hush-hush for now? ;)

    Thanks, but hopefully I can stick to the game plan and not abandon ship. You tend to be very consistent when it comes to finishing these reading events whereas I have a spotty track-record. Tis' a shame that you think it won't be feasible to read much 20th century lit this year but maybe I could recommend some great works that would change your mind? Hehe :)

    1. That's bad news about The Cantebury Tales. I'm reading Tales from Chaucer by Eleanor Farejeon in preparation for reading the original ---- stories for children are always good introductions.

      Yes, certainly, let's bounce ideas. I think my reaction will be strong with Walden, but I'm not yet sure which way.

      On the Road ......... I must admit, I read his Dharma Bums expecting to hate it ........ it is the type of story I'd highly dislike, about a bunch of young men acting entirely irresponsibly and travelling around getting high. Yet I was completely floored when I discovered that I loved it. While I wouldn't recommend that type of lifestyle, somehow he captured the innocence of living and I believe the character found MUCH more meaning in life than people in this economic, business-driven world that we live in. It was charming. I'm hoping that On the Road will be at least as good.

      The Literary Birthdays Challenge is a challenge from my Goodreads Dead Writers Society group. For each month we read a work by an author who is born in that month. So far I have Virginia Woolf for January and John Steinbeck for February. I have no idea about March yet ..... perhaps Robert Frost. Perhaps you want to join the insanity ........???

      Feel free to recommend some 20th century lit, but I just might kick it out the door. Ha, ha! Just kidding. I've just finished East of Eden, and while it didn't knock my socks off, it wasn't the pretentious, experimental &%$#! that I've been exposed to with other 20th century writers. Phew! Perhaps Steinbeck was a detox.

    2. Hmmm...that's a good idea with using the children adaptation as a reading guide. I've been struggling through the Miller's Tale over the last few days. Just reading through 20 lines or so is exhausting and I just get frustrated. I'm thinking of just giving up and reading something else instead. >.< there are some "modern" works out there that you do love! There's hope after all to get you to read more from the 20th century! hehe Dharma Bums sounds wonderful and right up my alley. I'm really looking forward to reading On The Road now.

      Ohhhh...that's Literary Birthdays Challenge does sound like fun. I'd be down for joining your group. Maybe you can put in a good word for me? :P

      I know by now that you tend to be apprehensive when it comes to modern lit so I'm going to try and think of particular works that might cater best to your interests. I agree, Steinbeck is definitely refreshing to read in contrast to say, Joyce or Faulkner who were writing at the same time. I really enjoy his simple approach to narrative and he doesn't go overboard with elaborate style. If you haven't read Of Mice and Men or Cannery Row, I'd recommend those. Quick reads too.

      I just got to thinking that John Fowles "The French Lieutenant's Woman" might just be the kind of novel that suits you because it is "modern" and yet, plays around with Victorian literary tropes. I'll try and think of more.

    3. Don't give up! Just set a number of pages to read that won't drive you barmy and keep going. You don't have to read it all in one month. I'm thinking of taking a story per week, but we'll see. I want to be able to fit in the Brubury Tales too, so I don't want to run out of time.

      Yeh, The Dharma Bums was fun. I don't want to smoke pot but aimlessly wandering around contemplating life while climbing mountains sounds like fun to me.

      You can certainly join the group. I think I tried to convince you before. Just say that I sent you.

      Well, I'll admit that I've borrowed Fowles', A Separate Peace from the library about 6 times and have taken it back unread each time. I also want to read Marilynne Robinson's, Gilead. Hey, I do love Willa Cather and Edith Wharton, so I have some 20th century works that you don't have to bribe or beg me to read!

    4. Chaucer is really testing my patience. I'll certainly take your advice, one story a week could work depending on my mood.

      Getting high and climbing mountains doesn't sound like a good idea to me. That's just an accident waiting to happen. I used to smoke a lot of weed but haven't touched the stuff in years. It was starting to really take over my life. I am trying to picture what you would be like when high after smoking a big fat blunt. Paranoid or the talkative type? I have this funny image of you speaking passionately and at a frantic pace, going on and on about about the "classics" while everyone else in the room is sitting around completely dumbfounded. lol

      I am interested in reading Gilead too, supposed to be good. I have only read My Atonia and a few short stories by Willa Cather but they were kinda meh. What would you say is your favorite by her?

      Sorry, but I am afraid that you and I will not see eye to eye on Edith Wharton. I find her writing excessively dull and Ethan Frome was one of the most boring I novels have ever read. It was short but it felt like reading through 1000 pages. >.<

      Don't worry, one of these days I'll convince you to read Saul Bellow, Graham Greene, maybe even some great Sci-fi writers like Alfred Bester or J.G. Ballard. I'll have to come up with something really clever though to persuade you though.

    5. I wouldn't ever smoke "weed" ..... I haven't even tried smoking cigarettes. I don't do stuff like that. What I do enjoy (we'll perhaps not so much anymore) is danger. I love rollercoasters and when I was 10, I used to sit on the roof of the cab on my grandfather's pick-up truck, and my cousin's boyfriend would rush up to a cement retaining wall, and then slam on the brakes just as he got to it, to try to throw me off. :-0 I got in SOOO much trouble when my mom found out. And I remember being completely puzzled why everyone was so freaked out. I remember thinking, "what's their problem? Nothing is going to happen to me." Thankfully I've gotten a little wiser since then. A little ......

      I loved My Antonia and I'll admit that it's the only one I've read of hers although I do take out her novels regularly and intend to read them.

      Have you read Wharton's The House of Mirth. Sorry, but her characterization of Lily Bart is one of the best I've ever seen done. Forget about the story (which is interesting too) the character development is masterful! Otherwise, if you don't like her other novels, I forgive you. ;-P

      I've borrowed Saul Bellow from the library once or twice. That's a step, isn't it? And I just ordered Bester from the library. No immediate promises, okay?

    6. I used to smoke on/off but quit depending on my stress levels. Good on ya for staying away from those cancer sticks. Not worth it.

      You like to live life on the edge, got that spirit for adventure. Wish I could say the same. I'd be too scared to death riding on the back of that pick-up truck. You're quite the daredevil. Also a little crazy too haha

      I have no read House of Mirth but saw the movie years ago and was surprised that Scully could pull off a British accent. I don't remember much about the story at all though. I'll have to consider adding it to my classics club list...

      Most people wouldn't even bother picking up Saul Bellow off the shelf anymore so that is definitely a step in the right direction.

      ohhhhhhhh, which Alfred Bester did you take out? The Stars My Destination is one of my favorite novels, um, ever. :P

    7. I ordered The Stars My Destination, so there you go! It was the only one they had. :-P

    8. Excellent...everything is falling into place.

  3. I'll be joining you in May w/ Walden. It had a great influence on me in college, but I wonder what a reread will be like.

    1. That's awesome, Ruth. I'm going to need all the inspiration I can get to get through this challenge. It's amazing how different one's taste and appreciation of literature can change over the years. There are so many novels that I was never fond of in the past and with the intervening years ended up loving them.

  4. I adore Walden. I need to reread but lack the time! One spring I'll make it my mission. :)