Thursday, January 20, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: Jan 20-23

Welcome to this week's Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

This blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.

How do I know if my blog qualifies as "literary"? Literature has many definitions, but for our purposes your blog qualifies as "literary" if it focuses primarily on texts with aesthetic merit. In other words, texts that show quality not only in narrative but also in the effect of their language and structure. YA literature may fit into this category, but if your blog focuses primarily on non-literary YA, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, or chick lit, you may prefer to join the blog hop at Crazy-for-books that is open to book blogs of all kinds.

Instructions for entering the Literary Blog Hop:

1. Grab the code for the Button.

Literary Blog Hop

2. Answer the following prompt on your blog.

(Suggestions for future prompts? Email to them us at

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?

Our answer this week comes from Lucia:

I do enjoy discussing texts I didn't like, I find it stimulates more interesting and lively conversation. I would have to say that I truly disliked Equus by Peter Shaffer, which I studied in English during my final year of high school. I haven't seen any theater or film adaptations of the play, however my eccentric teacher had us read different roles in class. For those who are familiar with Equus (or have heard of Daniel Radcliff's participation in a recent interpretation), please hear me out as I do have a more viable reason for detesting this work than what may immediately spring to mind.

Shaffer's play is extremely intelligently planned and written. Immediately the reader is notified of the crime at the center of the plot, which unravels backwards from there. We are introduced to Allan who has blinded six horses with a metal spike, and Dysart, the psychologist who has agreed to help the young man in order to keep him out of court. As the story progresses, Allan develops into an incredibly passionate, though unpredictable being. I can imagine this as a piece of theater unfolding in my mind, as the play write includes several details which make the staging of his work very unique. It is intended that all the actors be seated on the otherwise bare stage for the entire duration of the performance, rising only to participate in their roles but occasionally participating by throwing words into the scene in progress. For example, a scene in which Allan is working at his father's electrical store and is surrounded by customers hurling commands impatiently at him, the parts of which are played by the other actors stationary in the background. What I mean to say is, I can appreciate that this is a well constructed, original and highly complex text, although I didn't enjoy it.

That which I couldn't stand, was Dysart. While he spends a lot of time helping a terrified Allan, he similarly spends time analyzing the situation and drawing conclusions that I couldn't agree with. The most prominent of these is a comparison between the psychologist's seemingly average lifestyle to Allan's, one of wild obsession. I don't agree with Dysart, as I simply don't think everyone does, is capable of, or wants to live as passionately as Allan. I believe that people should push the boundaries of their limitations, not fix a standard based on how others live. For example, there are enough illustrations in the world of the negative consequences of a passion for violence. This theme throughout the text made me feel as though it wasn't okay to be a passive person in any way. For me, Dysart's discussion of this idea through his soliloquies pulls together all other aspects of the novel. I don't think that the idea of feeling as though you don't quite measure up for something is good or beneficial, especially which this is derived specifically from a comparison made between your personality and beliefs, and someone else's.

Strangely enough I found Equus easy to write about and my essay on it was my highest marking one of the year. So I'm interested to know, is it a common thing to dislike a work you have to study? What are other titles you were made to read and hated?

3. Add your link to the Linky List below.

Happy Hopping!