Last week I quoted from a modern day master’s characters discussing a master from a past–the incredible Loretta Chase on the indomitable Lord Byron.
And I mentioned that instead of studying the Romantic era masters in college, I
wasted spent a semester studying John Milton.
I’ve lately discovered two other authors, one 18th century and one 19th, whose work I’d like to read.
In the book The Art of Character, author David Corbett delves into the creation of memorable fictional characters using many contemporary examples from books and movies, as well as authors from the past. One of those is George Eliot, author of Adam Bede and Middlemarch. Eliot, whose true name was Mary Anne Evans had this to say in Adam Bede:
…the way in which I have come to the conclusion that human nature is loveable–the way I have learned something of its deep pathos, its sublime mysteries–has been by living a great deal among people more or less commonplace or vulgar…
Corbett asserts that Eliot’s work has a common theme–that her characters “were worthy of not just her respect or even admiration, but her love.” Commonplace characters worthy of love appeal to me.
The other work I want to at least attempt to read is the epistolary novel Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. Working backwards here, I saw two episodes of the 1991 BBC dramatization starring a young Sean Bean as Lovelace, and it made me curious about the original work. This is no happily-ever-after romance though. In truth, I found the villain Sean Bean–er Lovelace–very sympathetic.
What about you? Are there any of the old classics that draw your interest?