The real shining piece of this book is the ghost and the setting. The whole world of the opera house comes alive as the ghost wrecks havoc and extracts vengeance. This is a review of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra).
Reading correspondence is not quite the same as reading a novel, obviously, but it can be just as valuable when it comes to understanding a writer, their work, literature of the period, or the general customs of the time period. Writers writing about writing can be a very enlightening read. This is a review of Letters to a Young Poet.
When Greenwood is asked to list her symptoms, she keeps repeating that she can’t read and she can’t sleep. She is studying English for her post-secondary education, and reading as well as words define her life. When she can no longer read, what’s left of her world falls apart, and it drives her to attempt suicide. This is a review of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
This is narrative about trying to find a place of belonging in the midst of a society that is alienating and cruel and has festered hatred not just between races but amongst families, dividing individuals from each other and parts of themselves. This is a review of Langston Hughes’ Not Without Laughter.
It’s a book about many things: Canada’s struggle for identity as a sovereign nation with a complex relationship to Britain and British politics, the psychological and physical impacts of war, the differing attitudes of different strata of society towards the war overseas. I always find Can Lit particularly provides an atmosphere where this kind of multi-layered complexity flourishes. This is a review of Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising.
I’ve been reading classic literature since I was very young, but the work of Austen was a blind spot for me. Mostly, that had to do with the way acquaintances pushed me to read them. Bright. Sparkly. Light. Romantic. Those are not the words that draw me to literature. They also weren’t the entire picture of either the novels or the author. This is a review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Live-streamed opera is where we first saw Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which is based on the Pushkin novel. Even though we weren’t provided with subtitles to the Met’s production from 2007, the imagery and the music were capable of conveying the story in and of themselves. Whenever I see fall leaves in piles on the ground, I’m reminded of the set design. This is a review of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.
The romance of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw is one of the most well known in English literature. The narrative proceeds in twists and turns that never lack for dramatic flair. This is review of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights — an essential ghost story as much as an essential romance.
This November, I want to celebrate that with a month dedicated to essential romance novels from classic literature. Romance is not a genre I often read, but these books have made a profound impact on literature in general, and as such deserve their due consideration and analysis. This is a review of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; or Virtue Rewarded and two books best read with it Shamela and Joseph Andrews, both by Henry Fielding.
The little details and techniques matter, and can be the difference between a good book and an unforgettable one. This book changed the way I saw font, style, technique, and it showed me the power of humour to be as immortal as literature itself. This is a review of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.