If I have to choose, I choose Moliére. What can I say about The Great Gatsby? A novel that has thousands of times its pages in commentaries and theories, a novel that’s treated as a sociological phenomenon and studied by Habermas, Foucault and other philosophers and literary critics. I read it frankly because it’s considered an American icon of literature, even included among the books worth reading by Mortimer Adler.
But popularity and impact have nothing to do with the feelings a book arises, and despite of seeing the quality of the prose I dislike what the author tells us because his description of the world is quite depressing. The characters haunted me for a few nights, and I’m writing about it to see if this spell can be broken and I can go back to my optimism and enthusiasm. Out of everything, the way Daisy talks about and to her daughter it’s the epitome of selfishness and it was one of the most hard to swallow pills to me. If Fitzgerald crafted the novel in closeness to the life he really had, that of a drunk who tried to marry a rich woman who turned to be a dissipated and frivolous schizophrenic, that alone explains much. I’m not saying he had no talent for writing, even his wife, Zelda, is told to be a good writer herself, but it’s like when we think about Van Gogh. Yes we like what they contributed to the arts, but their lives and how they transpire their works, leave us with a bitter taste and mixed up feelings. Maybe they exist so we can truly gain perspective.
I’ve been thinking about this and maybe it’s altogether a better idea to stay in the safe realm of children and young people’s books, and to read at least a comedy for each drama. I sometimes read more modern authors to simply end up with this feeling of wasting my time, which doesn’t happen when we read lovely classics such as this comedy by Moliére, the Tartuffe, which left me with renewed hopes.
Of course, if you want something truly uplifting, PSALMS AND PROVERBS will never fail you. I have to run to keep going to prepare dinner and go to our mid week Bible study. We have started a new class about the Geography and History of the Bible that is revitalizing and very interesting, and I’m back to my optimism and enthusiasm for life.