Peter, Not Joe (joeshlabotnik) wrote,
Peter, Not Joe

Straight Outta Middlemarch

Here and now - Why am I reading Middlemarch? Mostly just to prove that I can, I guess. We were all forced to read a smattering of Serious Literature in high school and college; there was a time when I could even write ten-page essays on the symbolism of something or another. I'm not planning on going that far. But given that I'm supposed to be an intelligent Ivy-League graduate, I sometimes feel like I should be filling my head with something a bit more substantial than books on Styx or wizards.

(By the way, both of those books, which I read recently, were written by friends of mine - they know I kid - right guys? Please go out and support my friends and buy those books, whether you plan on reading them or not...)

The book is, as expected, dense and slow-going, but it's enjoyable regardless. It's probably more enjoyable because I'm not reading it with an eye to writing a paper, and therefore I won't feel guilty about grabbing the Cliff Notes to see everything I missed. What I didn't miss is that George Eliot is not a fan of rap music. Or at least two of her characters aren't. In chapter 16, Rosamond is talking to Lydgate:

"You have studied music, probably?" said Rosamond.

"No, I know the notes of many birds, and I know many melodies by ear; but the music that I don't know at all, and have no notion about, delights me - affects me. How stupid the world is that it does not make more use of such a pleasure within its reach!"

"Yes, and you will find Middlemarch very tuneless. There are hardly any good musicians. I only know two gentlemen who sing at all well."

"I suppose it is the fashion to sing comic songs in a rhythmic way, leaving you to fancy the tune - very much as if it were tapped on a drum?"

"Ah, you have heard Mr. Bowyer," said Rosamond, with one of her rare smiles. "But we are speaking very ill of our neighbours."

Who says the classics have no relevance to today's culture?

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