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    (Original post by NatashaSW7)
    I meant TS not George

    But yeah, prob ought to do George, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster etc too
    yeah, T.S.Eliot mightily important!! and there aint too much of him either- you should get through him pretty quickly.em forster writes badly- i don't like him, and to be honest, apart from decline and fall- his works are really nothing compared to mrs dalloway/the lighthouse or ulysseys..
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    (Original post by NatashaSW7)
    English is one of the subjects I might do, and when I asked a friend at UCL she basically said - all of Shakespeare, several each of Wordsworth, Dickens & Elliot, Milton's Paradise Lost, Dante's Inferno, Beowulf, the Bible (Genesis & the gospels), Plato, Homer, Virgil, Ovid and Chaucer.

    Don't worry about the theory & criticism, but familiarise yourself with as much of the reading list as possible before you go.
    Alongside all the History and German books I have to read for my other A Level subjects. Oh and the set texts for my English A Level which will get me into university in the first place.

    Seriously, who could actually read all that BEFORE an English degree? Isn't that what spending three years of your life is for? Doing that reading?! (I'm not saying you shouldn't prepare but don't you think your friend's suggestion is a bit excessive?)
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    umm, i'm not so sure about that list. it's very... narrow-minded in a sense. it might be good to have read a dickens novel or two, a handful of shakespeare plays (perhaps at least 2 or 3 of the 4 main tragedies with a sprinkling of comedies and the odd history) etc.

    it useful to have a knowledge of certain authors and texts (i mean, you sort of have to have looked at some shakespeare before doing an english degree, but other books i would say aren't as essential, despite being valuable if read anyway) and maybe have some grasp of a the periods in english literature, but that's it. if you read a dickens novel and don't really like it or find it interesting, then why on earth should you read any more? if you find a slightly less "famous" writer whom you greatly enjoy, read his/her stuff. studying literature is an avalanche in some ways; you can start off looking at just one text, say a poem, and before you know it, in 'unravelling' its meaning you can find yourself having looked at 3-4 novels, a handful of other poems, even the odd play... just see where your interest takes you. don't be ignorant of the existence of other significant works in the english language, but they aren't the be all and end all. i'd have thought that a candidate who's read a handful of morality plays, pre-shakespearian sonnets and augustan satire (for example) would be far more interesting, perhaps, than someone who's gone through every shakepseare play, every dickens novel et cetera ad nauseam.
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    (Original post by silence)
    umm, i'm not so sure about that list. it's very... narrow-minded in a sense. it might be good to have read a dickens novel or two, a handful of shakespeare plays (perhaps at least 2 or 3 of the 4 main tragedies with a sprinkling of comedies and the odd history) etc.

    it useful to have a knowledge of certain authors and texts (i mean, you sort of have to have looked at some shakespeare before doing an english degree, but other books i would say aren't as essential, despite being valuable if read anyway) and maybe have some grasp of a the periods in english literature, but that's it. if you read a dickens novel and don't really like it or find it interesting, then why on earth should you read any more? if you find a slightly less "famous" writer whom you greatly enjoy, read his/her stuff. studying literature is an avalanche in some ways; you can start off looking at just one text, say a poem, and before you know it, in 'unravelling' its meaning you can find yourself having looked at 3-4 novels, a handful of other poems, even the odd play... just see where your interest takes you. don't be ignorant of the existence of other significant works in the english language, but they aren't the be all and end all. i'd have thought that a candidate who's read a handful of morality plays, pre-shakespearian sonnets and augustan satire (for example) would be far more interesting, perhaps, than someone who's gone through every shakepseare play, every dickens novel et cetera ad nauseam.
    Yeah, i'd agree here, it isn;t necessary to read all the works of one author. If you want to read Victorian Lit, then I'd say the texts that would highlight that period for me are:

    Vanity Fair
    Bleak House
    Middlemarch
    The Way We Live Now
    Persuasion

    And I think that's about it. Looking at 20th century stuff, perhaps:

    Ulysseys
    The Waste Land
    Mrs Dalloway
    The Great Gatsby
    Beloved
    The Bell Jar
    White Teeth

    Some of those probably aren't that 'great', but they're good reads none the less. I'm not so sure about further back, but what i'd do, is read some of those and if you like a particular author, then just read more of their stuff.
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    (Original post by rich_)
    em forster writes badly- i don't like him, and to be honest, apart from decline and fall- his works are really nothing compared to mrs dalloway/the lighthouse or ulysseys..
    Dude, do you mean E M Forster or Evelyn Waugh? As far as I know Forster didn't write a novel called 'Decline and Fall'. I wouldn't say either wrote badly, and Forster's quiet irony can be exquisite.

    I too find much more in Woolf and Joyce, but I don't think you can criticise them (Forster and Waugh) solely on the grounds of not belonging to the high modernist tradition - their projects are quite different.

    EDIT: You've shown the same usylessly bad spelling in two posts.
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    (Original post by Elusive Moose)
    Alongside all the History and German books I have to read for my other A Level subjects. Oh and the set texts for my English A Level which will get me into university in the first place.

    Seriously, who could actually read all that BEFORE an English degree? Isn't that what spending three years of your life is for? Doing that reading?! (I'm not saying you shouldn't prepare but don't you think your friend's suggestion is a bit excessive?)
    :ditto:

    You people are all crazy (in the nicest possible way!). Having read the entire works of Shakespeare/Dickens/anyone with the surname "Eliot" is not going to get you a place on an English course. Who cares if you have? Could you write a good essay on any of it? Did you understand it? Got anything interesting to say about it? And I really don't see the point of fighting your way through any of the epics unless you genuinely want to.

    And I genuinely don't think it will stand you in much better stead for a degree. OK, maybe a little, but you'll have as much work to do as everyone else when you get there. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't bother reading anything, but in many ways it doesn't actually matter what you pick (unless you end up in the Mills and Boon section of your library of course).
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    Oh, I dunno, there's a lot to be said for 'The Italian's Virgin Lover' by Gayle Summer.

    (Gotta love being in charge of that section at work )
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    My nan loves Mills and Boon.

    Read widely, i really wouldn't recommend that previous list. Sample different others, find out what your interests are and where your passions lie - that will be much more useful when it comes to interview than being able to say, 'I've read all of Shakespeare'. xx
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    I quite enjoy Forster actually; I'm pretty adamant he doesn't write "badly". Yes, Woolf and Joyce perhaps took it further but Forster was EARLY modernist, so he is going to be a little less controversial. Personally, I enjoy his novels (in fact, I'm reading A Room With A View at the moment, well, when I have time :rolleyes: )
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    I know this thread is old, but HOMER BY THE BUCKETLOAD is my best suggestion. You may hate it at the time but it'll pay back enormously later.
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    Surely it's about reading what you enjoy not forcing yourself to get through books just for the sake of saying that you've read them

    Im reading White Teeth at the moment and really enjoying it ..just a random question but did anyone ever see the TV adaptation of it? Im intrigued to know what it was like
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    The TV version was okay, but NOTHING on the book which is absolutely excellent.
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    (Original post by wilbur)
    I know this thread is old, but HOMER BY THE BUCKETLOAD is my best suggestion. You may hate it at the time but it'll pay back enormously later.
    as in lots of odyssey and iliad? or is that an actual book or something lol? and if homer is a must, then i'd say virgil is just as much too.
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    (Original post by silence)
    or is that an actual book or something lol? too.
    LOL! "Homer by the BUCKETLOAD: The really daunting introduction for students."
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    DUDES.....your english degree doesnt start till september....please chill out..do some yoga or sumthin....
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    (Original post by *Aimz*)
    Surely it's about reading what you enjoy not forcing yourself to get through books just for the sake of saying that you've read them

    Im reading White Teeth at the moment and really enjoying it ..just a random question but did anyone ever see the TV adaptation of it? Im intrigued to know what it was like
    Absolutely, but Homer is worthwhile knowing about. I can't count the number of times I've referred to him (her?) in essays. Plus its not that bad to read in the Lattimore trans.

    PS - White Teeth is a great read. Not sure how well the TV version worked.

    --------------

    (Original post by silence)
    if homer is a must, then i'd say virgil is just as much too.
    Yeah i agree. but do you think Virgil rips off Homer in the Aeneid? I have no strong view on it, i'd just b interested to know what you think.
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    Homer, I think, is perhaps one of a few genuinely useful poets to have read inside out. The stuff in there comes up time and time again in poetry especially, but I imagine fiction too.

    Oh, and Virgil does rip off Homer (although the rip-off had been int works beforehand by other Roman writers), completely. But thats the point, he was trying to emulate and expand on Homer to give the Romans something to be proud of alongside the Augustan "Golden Age". He is giving them a mythological heritage similar to that of the Greeks, who they were a wee bit jealous of. Much like (I think) Milton tried to do with Paradise Lost, giving us an English epic (just opinion).
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    mmm, i don't know about the term ripping off. perhaps he does, but that in itself could be deemed as something complementry of the whole idea about acknowledging ancestry; whilst giving romans (and i suppose the emperor himself) a vision of their heriatge and bloodline, any imitation of homer's style would serve as a reminder to both virgil and his audience that he too has some sort of poetic heritage to follow. that said, perhaps this is the first example of recognising a heritage/tradition of literary style in western literature. baaah who knows, it's hard to say really. one of the main elements of literature is emulation with enough individual creativity and skill to make the work one of merit, value and interest.

    some of the most valuable and interesting pieces of english literature are complete ripping offs of other writers - we need only look at petrarch/dante, kyd/shakespeare (?) marvell, beaudelaire, webster, spenser, dante etc etc etc etc/eliot (although the wasteland has a tremendous amount of individual craftsmanship to merit value as a piece of literature).

    i have no strong views either really i guess. i do enjoy the aeneid very much in its own right, both in englsih and in the parts i've looked at in latin; some bits really are absolutely fantastic.

    --------------

    joolux05 - posted before seeing your message up. sorry if it seems like i've reiterated any bits of it.
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    no worries - just out of interest. which do you prefer, Homer or Virgil?
    No wishy-washy "I appreciate different things in each", just straight up, which one you enjoy more. I think Virgil, albeit translators playing a big role, I think for a prose version, West's Aeneid is very good and does convey some poeticism in its translation.


    Oh, and the Odyssey is better than the Iliad.
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    yes, i love west's aeneid! the poeticism in his translation is in fact, in my opinion, at times more poetic than dryden, for example. i wrote a bit about this in an essay the other week but don't know about posting it on here. as you said though, translation can be an issue, but i think that west gets the balance perfect. he sacrifices the formalities of verse in order to come up with a much more natural and striking use of language. although dryden uses a rather english poetic form of epic, heroic verse, to me it sounds far too distant from the latin, in terms of meaning, sentiment and the immediacy of our visualisation of imagery upon hearing any given word or a line.

    but anyway i should shut up because i'm not answering the question lol. it's definitely virgil over homer for me any day. i don't identify with people who complain about the ass-licking of augustus that always pops (that's often a main criticism i hear). it's important to view the book in both a formalist and historicist perspective, focusing on the imagery and story as well as the metabiblic (a silly made up word from me, but will hopefully make some sense) circumstances. actually, that's not even the main issue. i keep getting sidetracked. basssically, i just feel drawn closer into the aeneid when reading it. there's a greater sense of reality to it, the emotion's more realistic rather than aesthetic, it just feels good. hard to describe, but sometimes you just read something and feel more like a part of its world than you do about another book's.
 
 
 
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