Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jill's List

Imani is patient with many of us, I think. I'm terribly late in publishing this list of authors I mean to sample over the next six months. I've already dipped into Longfellow, one of the Fireside Poets, and will have more to offer soon on Jewett and Chesterton.
  • The Country of Pointed Firs - Sarah Orne Jewett
  • The Man Who Was Thursday - G.K. Chesterton
  • The Man of Property - John Galsworthy (first volume in a series of novels that would be collected into The Forsyte Saga)
  • Bowens Court - Elizabeth Bowen (You can have no idea how long this book has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, I suspect longer than fifteen years.)
  • The Fireside Poets - Sampling of works by Longfellow, Whittier, Bryant and Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall
Digression: Do students still memorize poetry? I was thinking of this as I read some of Longfellow's work. How many novels I read growing up where some wayward child was assigned the task of memorizing and declaiming for an audience, "The Wreck of the Hesperus"!

I only had to memorize a few pieces when I was in high school back in the '70's, but nothing from the Fireside Poets. (Specifically, I recall having to learn by heart some twelve lines or so of Portia's "Quality of Mercy" speech from The Merchant of Venice, but I don't think I ever did much past that. And even now, I think I can only really remember the first six...)

4 comments:

GeraniumCat said...

I've just finished The Man of Property and am mulling it over before I try to post about it.

I don't remember my sons learning much poetry in the 80s and 90s, though like me they had the "benefit" of a Scottish education. I had to learn masses, including metrical psalms, which I still find rather soothing, though I can't remember many. I still try to memorise favourites: I have a stock of them on my laptop for reading on long train journeys. In my case, though, it's "The Wreck of the Deutschland"!

Eva said...

I'm reading the same Jewett as you, and different Chestertons and Bowens.

I didn't have to memorise poetry in school, but Longfellow was my favourite poet in middle school/early high school, so I memorised "The Village Blacksmith" and "Psalm of Life."

I really think that the US edu system should pring back poem memorisation-in Russia it's an integral part of their classes, and it seems so neat.

Imani said...

It's not that I don't like compliments, but I should make it clear that posting a reading list is not at all necessary. I don't intend to. Do as you like, post as you like. :)

In school we memorised sayings and aphorisms, things like that, but no poems spring to mind.

Dorothy W. said...

I was asked to memorize some poems in college, but I could choose which ones, and they certainly weren't Longfellow. I'm curious to hear what you make of him.