Hatrack River Forum   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Popular Canon (Page 4)

  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   
Author Topic: The Popular Canon
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post 
I never would have read The Great Gatsby if it weren't so thin. So I used to be baffled at Card's holding it up as a specimen of "take your medicine" literature. I think in the end it just speaks to something different in our backgrounds that I love it and he doesn't. Maybe it has to do with the immigrant's love affair with the American dream.
I think The Great Gatsby works both as a straight narrative and as a work that Fitzgerald put in a lot of the symbolism and other "academic" things that OSC seems to have a problem with.

It's one of the books I'd pass on if the people I would pass it on to hadn't already read it in school.

Posts: 10177 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
I haven't read Great Gatsby since high school, never really cared for it then. Might be something I pick up sometime in the future if I have the time, just to see if my perspective has changed on it.

Anything written before, oh, I don't know, 1930 is somewhat hit or miss with me. There's a certain plodding narrative style that a lot of older writers took that throws up a huge road block to my ability to enjoy the material. I think that's also why I find most, but not all, Victorian literature so trying to my patience. It really depends on the author.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
King of Men
Member # 6684

 - posted      Profile for King of Men   Email King of Men         Edit/Delete Post 
I read The Great Gatsby in, I think, high school, but it made absolutely no impression on me - at the moment I could not tell you what any of the characters' names are, or anything about the plot. Something about a party? To me this suggests a novel that struck a chord with its particular zeitgeist and has been surviving on reputation since then. There's such a thing as being "famous for being famous"; Einstein is a lot more well-known than even his (very real, very large) accomplishments can strictly account for. Even in fields with highly objective measures of skill, say baseball, the difference in reputation between #1 and #2 is often much larger than the difference in skill; and sometimes random fluctuations - maybe just a lucky interview at the beginning of a career - can influence the fame. I think TGG had some such stroke of luck.
Posts: 10645 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 5003

 - posted      Profile for pooka   Email pooka         Edit/Delete Post 
It was all about the parties.
Posts: 11017 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 8299

 - posted      Profile for Stone_Wolf_           Edit/Delete Post 
Someone mentioned Catcher in the Rye...worst...book...ever. Hated nearly every paragraph. No character development, nothing interesting really happens, the main character is nearly impossible to relate to he is so juvenile and selfish. I seriously hated that book and do not understand even a little why it is considered a "classic" or for that matter, why people even like it.
Posts: 6683 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 9712

 - posted      Profile for Itsame           Edit/Delete Post 
I suspect that people who are going through an angsty stage during their teens relate to it. Once that stage of teenage angst is passed, they remember fondly how they related to it.

While I hate the character and the plot, I think that it nicely captures that slice of life. I'm not sure that a book can do much more than that, so it's a reasonable inductee.

Posts: 2705 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think any novel really ever hit the nail on the head as well when it comes to that alienated idiot we all like to pretend has never been a part of our own brains.
Posts: 15421 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 4873

 - posted      Profile for Aros           Edit/Delete Post 
That's the problem. You have to understand angst before you can "get" Catcher. I'd contend that you have to have lived through your early twenties and "found yourself" before you can understand Gatsby.

I'd still say, however, that Fitzgerald's OTHER book, The Beautiful and the Damned, is a far better book. And it tells a pretty similar story. F. Scott's contemporaries agreed . . . Gatsby didn't get popular until years after Fitzgerald's death.

Posts: 1204 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post 
I thought Catcher in the Rye was a pretty good book. I'll have to go back and read it again and see if I still do. When I read it the first time I found myself talking like Holden Caulfield for days afterward. I don't think I ever felt I related to the guy, but I thought Salinger inserted plenty of repeatable wisdom into the narrative. Maybe I won't find all that this time.
Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 5860

 - posted      Profile for Occasional   Email Occasional         Edit/Delete Post 
I will make my own list I think would be in the "popular" cannon. Some I was introduced to in school, but they are ones that I actually see people reading or at least talking about outside of academia. It helps that my wife is a librarian so she actually knows what people from the community are checking out (sort of a hint where your research on this kind of topic might start). I must also admit that people generally go with authors more than individual books.

Just about anything from Mark Twain. His wit mixed with serious themes continue to be loved at any age.

Shakespeare's Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. Not novels and so not sure if can be included, but they continue to be treasured.

Franz Kafka. Some of his stories, particularly Metamorphosis, are just strange enough that those who read him end up loving his style.

Just about anything by the Bronte sisters, Jane Austin, and the less well known yet just as well liked Elizabeth Gaskell.

Edgar Allan Poe of course. Creepy is cool.

John Grisham is more than a bestseller. The question won't be if he survives as part of the canon, but what books.

Stephen King's early works before he decided to bow down to academia by writing Bag of Bones.

Tom Clany's early works ending once his alter-ego Jack became president.

Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, and the Martian Chronicles.

Ayn Rand has become an institution and almost religious figure.

some single works might include:

Enders Game. Not more to say than that.

Moby Dick is not without it's fans. They are a select few, but aren't directly tied to school enjoyment.

Beowulf is equal to a lot of action movies, but has deeper themes. Those who find it love it.

Lord of the Flies without a doubt.

Harry Potter series will endure. It has staying power. I'm sorry to break it to everyone here who is going to cringe, but the Twilight books will also be here in the popular culture for the next 50 or more years.

Lord of the Rings is almost a no brainer to include. It will have its cycles, but end up on top. The Narnia books have the same way about them.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol is fun for both adults and children.

Frankenstein and Dracula have a life of their own.

Dune might be one of them, but its hard to say. Its a lot like Moby Dick with a fan base just big enough to be called popular.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton is bigger in the popular culture than the actual stories.

The Will Durant history books. Love them or hate them, they are often sought after as THE source of history among the non-academics.

The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell is always read and checked out by somebody.

To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down part of the reading culture.

(I wanted to say The Great Gatsby, but really its not that popular. I like it, but recognize enough people don't. Same with Jurrasic Park that changed things, but I don't know if its actually going to endure as a book along side the movie franchise.)

Catcher in the Rye comes close to the same of the above impression. However, it gets read a lot with some historical and yet tragic proof of its popular power. I think it loses focus once he actually gets to New York, but that is not important to this discussion.

Another controversial statement is that not all religious books are going to be in the public canon. The ones that will be included are The Bible, The Book of Mormon, and the Koran. Others just don't have the numbers of readers and influence for the Western audience that are most likely the focus of this discussion.

addendum: Emily Dickinson continues to be the Poet of the popular reader. This is followed by Mary Angelou in the modern era.

[ November 05, 2011, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Occasional ]

Posts: 2207 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 8299

 - posted      Profile for Stone_Wolf_           Edit/Delete Post 
I just wanted to say...that Dune is in a three way tie for my favorite book of all time (with EG and Starship Troopers), but I am not a fan at all of the sequels. I actually hate them quite a bit. And I'm not even talking about Herbert's son and that other guy's prequils, I mean the real sequels. I admit to not reading all of them, since I hated the 2nd, 3rd and maybe 4th (who remembers anymore) so much.
Posts: 6683 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2