Read The Classics Reclassified by Richard Armour Online


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Title : The Classics Reclassified
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780070022560
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 147 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Classics Reclassified Reviews

  • Meaghan
    2019-01-17 14:26

    Thanks to this book, I now have conversational knowledge of The Iliad, Juliet Caesar, Ivanhoe, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, Silas Marner and David Copperfield without having ever actually read those books. (Nor does it sound like I would want to read any of them.) And I got a few chuckles as well.A word to the wise: some of these book summaries are repeated in Armour's later book, It All Started With Freshman English.

  • Madhulika Liddle
    2019-01-18 14:29

    Richard Armour’s résumé is formidable: a Harvard PhD, who held research fellowships in England and France, and taught at a slew of institutions, including the University of Texas, Northwestern University, and the University of Frieburg. When someone like that writes a book, you might be forgiven for imagining it’s on an academic subject. And so The Classics Reclassified is. … except that it’s the most hilarious, the most utterly addictive take on an academic subject you could possibly imagine. I’ve read a fair number of Armour’s books and am a diehard fan of his style of humour, but I have had – ever since I first read The Classics Reclassified – a very soft spot for this particular book. This, as the name suggests, is a book about literary classics (with authors ranging from Homer to Shakespeare to Dickens) – but in a way that’s bound to make you see not just these authors but their works too in a different light. There are seven authors and seven works covered here: Homer (The Iliad); Shakespeare (Julius Caesar); Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe); Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter); Herman Melville (Moby Dick); George Eliot (Silas Marner); and Dickens (David Copperfield). Each section begins with a brief but informative biography of the writer. Homer, for instance, we learn, “…is said to have been born in seven cities, which indicates how his mother kept on the move. He is also said to have been born in six centuries, apparently after a number of false starts.” And, about George Eliot, Armour writes: “George Eliot had a great deal of trouble with her name, and so have librarians ever since… most readers, however, give up after searching for a few hours and read something by, say, Eliot, T.S.” [A footnote follows: “After a few hours with Eliot, T.S, some readers give up reading entirely”].This deliciously irreverent style is carried forward into Armour’s discussion of each work. Basically, each of these is a synopsis of the work in question, every bit as pithy as the author bios. [And with those nutty footnotes included: “The next day, on the plains of Philippi, the opposing armies are met” – from Julius Caesar – comes, for instance, with this footnote: “By whom, it is never divulged.”] There are hilarious asides, very quick plot lines, and smart little tips [“Unless you are interested in a catalogue of famous pictures of whales, the manufacture of rope lines, the anatomy of the whale’s eye, ear, and tail, how to skin a whale and cook the blubber, and the history of whaling from Perseus to the present, 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”].What’s amazing is that Armour’s research and his knowledge of his subject is so obviously impeccable – yet his sense of humour makes this book an absolute gem, the sort of book you can go back to again and again. I end up reading it at least once a year, to the point where I know all the jokes, but still find them delightful. An absolute must-read if you like literature, and you like humour.P.S. My edition of this book is illustrated by Campbell Grant - and the illustrations are every bit as brilliant as Armour's prose.

  • Czarny Pies
    2019-01-15 13:37

    I recalled having read this appalling, piece of garbage yesterday while I was reading a "Romola" by George Eliot. The link comes from the fact that the "The Classics Reclassified" contains a rather successful parody of "Silas Marner" of which Armour says that it shows that good people are rewarded for their virtue but that they have to wait a great many years for their reward.I am rather inclined to think that "Silas Marner" does indeed deserve the unsophisticated mauling that Armour dishes out in this book. However, I must acknowledge that what he was doing was disgraceful. As a university literature professor, Armour's day job would have been to help his students through the difficult and occasionally badly written sections of our great classics. As a sideline he wrote books like this in which he made easy jokes on the problematic aspects of the great books in our Western Canon.If you enjoyed the parodies found in Mad Magazine and the National Lampoon, you will probably enjoy this slim, efficient volume.

  • Jan
    2018-12-29 13:29

    Not quite as hilarious as when I read it as a child, this retelling of five "classics" still got a good number of giggles out of me. In the same vein as 1066 and All That, Richard Armour's parodies of textbook biographies, summaries of major texts, and study questions are actually edifying as well as entertaining.

  • P.J. Sullivan
    2019-01-12 15:31

    Very funny book. Or should I say very punny? Seven famous books are discussed, with "mercifully brief biographies of their authors." Quizzes after each chapter, just to make sure you got it all. The footnotes are admittedly unnecessary, but how could we do without them? With illustrations as bizarre as the text.

  • Alex Melnick
    2018-12-24 16:31

    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?"

  • Dana
    2019-01-05 13:17

    This book was a very entertaining trip through many of the books students (unwillingly) read in their English classes. Whether I loved or hated the original, I found Armour's "retelling" of each tale too fun to keep to myself: I read whole chapters aloud to my poor, unsuspecting daughter. (She enjoyed them, too--but don't tell anyone.) This book will be enjoyed most by folks who are familiar with the original classics.

  • Julie
    2019-01-20 19:26

    I have enjoyed the "classics", but I have also enjoyed having fun at thier expense. In this satire, certain famous books are " not so much digested but ingested". Not a book that produced loud laughter, but a smile as I understood the fun.

  • Karissa
    2018-12-24 19:28

    My giggles started before the actual book with "Dedicated to that amazing device, the Required Reading List, better even than artificial respiration for keeping dead authors alive" and didn't really stop until the end. Some of the asides are showing their age, but for the most part a fun read.

  • John E
    2019-01-03 19:30

    This one was much to close to Armour's scholarly work to be as funny as his historical [histerical] studies. Reminded me of all those books I had to read, but didn't, while in school. In my case I would add "Crime and Punishment."

  • Sandra
    2019-01-01 17:19

    This is a hilarious romp through the great classics of literature. More fun than that a barrel of monkeys!