Friday, November 5, 2010


Our eleven year old granddaughter has begun reading some 'classic' literature. She started with Ernest Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea'. (The author claimed to have written the ending 26 times. When asked by a reporter what the problem with the ending was, Mr. Hemingway replied, "I couldn't get the words right"). She has just finished 'Call of the Wild' by Jack London and is now reading 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens. She has found these books 'real' and 'fascinating'. Even her vocabulary has increased. I don't ever remember hearing 'fascinating' before. Her reading has caused some lively discussion around here and she has been asking some pointed and sometimes uncomfortable questions. New worlds are opening up to her, in short, and her experience reminds us that Great Literature 'is' fascinating. These are words and sentences and stories that have lasted - some for thousands of years.


We can turn to them when we want a real experience of the world, and of our struggles in it. Their pages are filled with laughter, tears, and questions like: "Why am I here?" And "What is it all for?" Sometimes we are disturbed by the author's answers.

Here, at 'Literary Greatness', we take a look at what makes such work great. We struggle with the questions. We look at the stories of what it took to create these works - what it cost their authors or at what they did with their lives. These, also, are sometimes fascinating. In her childhood, for instance, one famous American author taught a chicken to walk backward. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the Russian novelist, was next in line for the firing squad before his sentence was commuted and he was shipped off to a prison camp.

Here you will find these 'portraits' of famous authors, essays on things literary, book reports, reviews, short stories (as I struggle with the questions in my own work), sample chapters, and more.

I hope you will join 'Literary Greatness' now to receive weekly updates and to post your own comments. Let me know what you think. Let me know what you're reading and what you think of it. Let me know how you are struggling with the questions and what greatness is required of us all to prevail.

Sign up now and let's get to it...


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