Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

What Constitutes a 'Classic'?

La Mare au Diable (The Devil's Pool) by George Sand

I suspect this book is a classic in only one sense of the word--it's oldness.  Goodness knows, there is no other reason to read it. 

The first part of the book is a preaching by the author against popular culture and the public's need to celebrate it.  Not much has seemed to change since 1846, huh?  Instead, Sand states, we should celebrate the life of a simple man.

The second part of the book is the story of a simple man.  Germain is a hard-working widower with three children.  At first glance, he seems little more than the cow he tends, an animal of drudgery.  But he unexpectedly falls in love with a neighbor's daughter and the pace picks up a little.  The problem?  She claims he is way too old her her.  He's, like OMG, 28, and past his ripeness.  When he saves her virtue from a highwayman, she relents and agrees to marry him.

The last part of the book is the most interesting.  It is a fascinating account of the rituals of a French peasant wedding, lasting three days and involving an unique use of cabbage.

There is little in this book to interest the average reader, so unless you're really into French peasants, skip this one altogether.

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