Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Living

"Do you know that I have understood something lately better than I ever did before,—it is that success and happiness are not things of chance with us, but of choice. I can see how we might so easily have had a dull summer here. Of course it is our own fault if the events of our lives are hindrances; it is we who make them bad or good. Sometimes it is a conscious choice, but oftener unconscious. I suppose we educate ourselves for taking the best of life or the worst, do not you?"

— Sarah Orne Jewett, Deephaven

3 comments:

MaLj said...

So, you think we should read more American Classics?

I followed the link in the message header, and found the main page for the site is here:

http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/soj/contents.htm

Surly Terrier said...

I think there are many overlooked works in most cultures. Cross-culturalization is a good thing, and if it means we can go back and find old gems from other lands and in other languages, then that's all to the better. Why should native English speakers be confined to Mark Twain or Charles Dickens? Shouldn't they also know Tirant lo Blanc or Martin Fierro or The Master of Hestviken or Cousin Bette? Then again, shouldn't folks in Sweden know The Country of the Pointed Firs or The Grandissimes or Bartleby the Scrivener? The answer to all these questions is "Yes," of course.

MaLj said...

Yes - this is clear from my point of view, that if I live and go to school in a country with a "small" language, I must first learn both about the literature from that country, and know the most important works from all other countries and languages that have had influences on literature and culture as a whole (define this as broad as possible, or practical). Then, the next step can be to read - for fun or (and!) to learn more - the valuable classics and contemporary writers that have not made it to the canon of texts that are cited and alluded to so often so you simply has to know them to understand what people (and writers - who are also people, I hasten to say) are talking about!