Alex Melnick's Reviews > The Classics Reclassified

The Classics Reclassified by Richard Armour
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Nov 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read from June 22 to 23, 2016

There's something hilarious and quotable in nearly every paragraph, and that's not counting the footnotes, illustrations, and suggestions for further discussion. Plus, this book taught me everything I know about Ivanhoe and Silas Marner.

These are affectionate parodies, from someone who clearly loved literature. This book made me more curious about the subjects, and told me that we shouldn't revere Great Books so much that we can't enjoy them.

Some samples:
On The Illiad: "Then bronze-harnessed Hector drops in on his dear-won wife, even white-armed Andromache, 'daughter of great-hearted Eëtion that dwelt beneath wooded Plakos, and was king of the men of Kilikia.' (Homer wants us to be sure not to confuse her with all the other Andromaches we know.)"

On Julius Caesar: "The opening scene is in Rome: A Street. A Street is presumably just north of B Street."

On Ivanhoe: "The dastardly Front-de-Boeuf and his dastardly friends are interrupted in their dastardly pursuits by the sound of someone winding a horn (Scott's horns always seem to be running down) in the nearby forest."

On The Scarlet Letter: "After a year or so, Hester had grown tired of waiting and had given birth to a child. There was strong suspicion that she had had an accomplice."

On Moby Dick: "Melville had no formal education after the age of fifteen, again showing how important it is not to be educated if you wish to become a famous writer."

On Silas Marner: "It may take a little time, say thirty or forty years, but virtue will be rewarded, sinfulness will be punished, and everyone who hasn't already died a tragic death will live happily ever after."

On David Copperfield: "David Copperfield is told in the first person. Singular, isn't it?"
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Quotes Alex Liked

Richard Armour
“Dedicated to that amazing device, the Required Reading List, better even than artificial respiration for keeping dead authors alive.”
Richard Armour, The Classics Reclassified

Richard Armour
“Almost nothing is known about Homer, which explains why so much has been written about him.”
Richard Armour, The Classics Reclassified

Richard Armour
“William Shakespeare...was baptized on April 26, 1564. When he was born is disputed, but anyone who argues that it was after this date is just being difficult.”
Richard Armour, The Classics Reclassified

Richard Armour
“Scott calls Bois-Guilbert 'an unprincipled voluptuary,' which is hard to improve on.”
Richard Armour, The Classics Reclassified

Richard Armour
“Melville died in New York on September 28, 1891, blissfully unaware that, in the years to come, so many people would leave the hyphen out of 'Moby-Dick.”
Richard Armour, The Classics Reclassified

Richard Armour
“...you would do well to turn from Chapter XXXVI to Chapter CXXXIII without further delay, thus saving nearly a hundred chapters without anybody's knowing the difference if you keep quiet. After all, Ahab isn't the only one entitled to be a skipper.”
Richard Armour, The Classics Reclassified


Reading Progress

06/22/2016 marked as: read
06/22/2016 marked as: currently-reading
06/23/2016 marked as: read

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