Sunday, November 14, 2010

Literary Blog Hop #1

Literary Blog Hop

This blog hop is open to those bloggers with substantial number of reviews and post featuring literary fiction. This week's question comes from Debbie Nance at Readerbuzz.

What is the most difficult literary work you've ever read? What made it so difficult?

I gave this question a lot of thought. I am a student of English literature, so naturally, I kept thinking in those terms. Beowulf? The Canterbury Tales? Shakespeare? Not really. Although these weren't exactly easy, I find it's easier to read a book once you know its literary context.

However, I remember struggling with a book that was required reading in my high school - Homer's Illiad. Of course I never finished it (I never even read more than a couple of dozen pages), but it's funny how I tried to read it so many times, that I now know the first few lines by heart (in Serbian, of course). Another hard read was Ulysses by James Joyce, and only because I started reading an edition with no footnotes and explanations. Which is suicidal. But it is a great book and I love it.

The Literary Blog Hop can be found here.

15 comments:

Amanda said...

How about The Mysteries of Udolpho?? :D That's one I could add to the "difficult" list!

Nikola said...

Yes! I hated f-ing Udolpho!!!

mywordlyobsessions said...

Oh no.. no bad-talk about Udolpho. lol. But seriously, you are brave indeed to attempt a reading of Ulysses without any footnote back-up.

The Illiad has been knocking around in my bookcase for over 10 years. Still haven't read it properly yet. Books like that are like medicine. Tastes bad in the beginning, but proves useful later on.

Great blog Nikola!

Roof Beam Reader said...

Hi, Nikola -

I completely agree with you about the Illiad (and Ulysses). I loved the Odyssey, but The Illiad was like reading this long, long list of names and dates and places, in "and then" format. I got so bored after about 30 pages, I just could not go any further. I do still have both texts, in the Fagles translations (which are great), so I hope to read it in its entirety someday!

IngridLola said...

Haha, Zee's commented cracked me up. Watch out people, she knows her gothic literature.

I liked the Illiad, but I liked the Odyssey better. :)

Melanie said...

I've never read Homer cover to cover. In college i had to read excerpts of both The Iliad and The Odyssey but not the whole thing. Don't know that i would have the guts to give it a try now!

The Crazy Bookworm said...

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Man of la Books said...

I've never read Homer, never got around to reading the whole thing.

Anyway, I'm a new followr from bookblogs.ning

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

NancyO said...

Ulysses seems to have been a popular answer to this question, although Virginia Woolf may take the prize for having the most difficult works this week. I think I'll avoid both!

Wall-to-wall books said...

UGH, I hated Beowulf!!!!
Suppose to read it for high school, but never did! Just totally not my thing.

Wall-to-wall books said...

Hmmm, I saw someone mention Virginia Woolf. I LOVE Virginia Woolf! I have read - "To the lighthouse" and "A Room of One's Own" I really enjoyed them both, but I do admit that she is very difficult to read!

parrish lantern said...

When I was in my late teens & working out who I was, I had my greek Phase which is as pretentious as it sounds. But with teen ideas of intellectual invulnerability I ploughed thru homer, sophocles, plato, herodotus and anything sounding vaguely greek. not sure if I understood much at the time, or since.
But it did set me up for "difficult Literature" hence I love Joyce & others of that ilk.

Enjoyed your write up
Thanks
Parrish.

parrish lantern said...

Hi,I don't know if you can get or know about BBC Iplayer, but if you're interested BBC 4, has a programme on Greek myths & Homer's "Iliad", Which is on at 9pm GMT, this is followed at 10.30 by a programme called "Aristotles Lagoon" Examining how Aristotles studies laid the foundations of modern biology. I know this is probably too late, but they are normally shown on the Iplayer, the next day & for 7 days after.

Hope this is of interest.
Parrish.

Namine said...

I definitely need to read more. I haven't read any of the books you mentioned Ulysses or Illiad or any in the comments... they might be hard but I gotta at least try! I am finding right now Jane Eyre to be hard, but only because I can not get into it. Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Jenny Girl said...

This is a toughie. I would say Dr. Zhivago for me. I read it, I finished it, but I hated Dr. Zhivago. I don't get the fascination with the love story. Have yet to watch the movie, but maybe that would make it clearer to me.

Oh and the Jungle. I started it when I was having an unhappy time in my life, and this book just depressed me more. Also, I enjoy a nice piece of steak, and this book ruined meat for me for a while. Ugh! I can't even think about it anymore.