What are the great patterning works of literature?
September 17, 2009 9:39 AM Subscribe
What are the great patterning works of literature? In Book by Book
, Michael Dirda presents a list of what he calls “patterning works” which he describes as books that “. . later authors regularly build on, allude to, work against.” and which he says “ . . . ought to lie at the heart of any structured reading program.”
posted by jason's_planet to Writing & Language (73 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not entirely satisfied with his list, although I have to say that I don't have a rich enough background in the history of literature to be able to refute his claims effectively. Perhaps some of you all might be able to help me. Here it is:
The Bible (Old and New Testament)
Bullfinch's Mythology (or any other accounts of the Greek, Roman and Norse myths)
Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans
The Arabian Nights
Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur
Shakespeare, especially the major works such as Hamlet, Henry IV, part one, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tempest
Cervantes, Don Quixote
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Jonathan Swift: Gulliver's Travels
Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm
Any substantial collection of the world's major folktales
Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice
Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland
Arthur Conan Doyle: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
How would you change this list, if at all? Are there great patterning works that he's missed entirely? If so, what sort of influence did they have and on which authors? Are any of these works overrated and not as influential as he claims? Or is this actually a pretty good list, one that needs no change at all? As always, many thanks in advance.
P.S. If you know of any good folktale compilations, feel free to recommend them here. Thanks!