Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reading the Canon in High School

There was an interesting post on the New York Times website today, which can be found here:

It's about teaching literature and "the classics" to high school students today.  Seems like it's hard to get them interested in 19th century literature, at least in the author's experience.  I was quite fortunate in having gone to a great public school system, and having some great teachers.  Even so, I think of the books I read for high school english...Crime and Punishment, The Stranger, Giants in the Earth, David Copperfield...I'd love to go back and read those books again, since I think I'd get a lot more out of them.  Even though I had some excellent teachers, who helped me learn about literature and appreciate reading, it seems that as an adult the experience I bring to my reading helps me appreciate it all the more.  At least that's how I'm feeling about this current reading I'm doing.  It's's important to teach literature to high school students, but perhaps the real reward for them will only occur years later when they pick up a book and can fully appreciate it through the lens of life's experience.  Fuck, maybe I should make another list of all the great books I read when I was younger and then go re-read them.  I wonder how different they would seem...would some seem much better than I previously thought...and some seem much less significant?

And as somewhat of an aside, if you had asked me in college what the two books that influenced me most were, I would have said "The Magic Mountain" (Thomas Mann) and "100 Years of Solitude" (Gabriel Garcia Marquez).

No comments: