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By Charles Osborne, Brigid Brophy, Michael Levey

The 50 works of English (and American) Literature handled during this booklet are all thought of classics, reverently taught in our faculties, studied through researchers. The authors contend that those dull, pretentious, and/or badly written works don't deserve their severe acclaim. This publication comprises an essay on all the 50 works, explaining why shall we do with out it.

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Extra resources for Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without

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Scott’s vocabulary betrays the un-thinking speech-writer who ings man who woman can deliberately clogs the meaningless with clumps of useless adjectives and solemn-seeming commas. The style remains exactly the same in tone and pseudo-literacy when the author stoops to be funny or whimsical. Much of this is mercifully obscured by the useful device of unreadable dialect. ’ This is the 36 style of the barely educated — preferring long Latin- The Bride of Lammermoor style words to short his story in terms ones.

In fact the honsty and the self-knowledge for which he is so often praised are notoriously non-existent. This, of course, would hardly matter if what he had written were lively, entertaining and imaginative. In any case, one might reasonably have expected an account of opium addiction to possess a certain degree of excitanent; but, alas, the heavinx of De Quincy’s prose is equalled by that of his imagination. He is concerned to stras his uniquen as a suffering spirit (whether suffering from toothache or from the effects of opium), and as life’s victim.

The basic puritanism of The Scarlet Letter is the author’s own. It is the reaction of the New England philistine—tl1e same man who was shocked by nudity in antique Roman sculpture and disgusted by modern Roman behaviour. His mind was deliberately narrow, callow and frightened by prospects of pleasure, whether in art or life. m; in the violence of his rejection we have an indication of how intense was this appeal. r/ love of the flesh is what underlies his character and his books. Secretly, and sometimes not so secretly, he is on the side of the persecutors of Hester Prynne.

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