Reading the classics

Today sees the start of my new blog, which is designed to express views and opinions about writing and publishing.

‘Reading the classics’ is one of those things that every writer knows he must do but can’t seem to find the time to do it. My own list of classics is ferociously long and, like some amorous dog, seems reluctant to let go of my leg until the aim of the exercise is complete. What is the aim? I guess the writer wants to have Shakespeare, Proust, Updike, Bronte et al. at his fingertips – somehow the classics will become mixed with the work that the writer produces. Dead authors will speak out yet (sorry, John).

What’s a classic? No idea. But to this glorious end, I’ve been reading a couple of classics of late. Wuthering Heights is one such – and a cracking read it is too. By turns stodgy, athletic, poetic and plain irritating, I can fully appreciate why this book is regarded as a classic. (Nice, too, to see an esteemed book breaking a number of the ‘rules’ put forward by creative writing courses; made to be broken by Bronte.) Another choice, which many will find controversial, perhaps, is Breakfast at Triffany’s by Truman Capote. This author was an old sparring partner of Norman Mailer, and his verbal jiggery-pokery is fully evident in this wonderful story. I haven’t seen the film, but may yet; for the time being, the writing of Capote is Technicolor enough. A fine, fine writer. Classic? No idea.

Must dig out my Madame Bovary

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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