Hurts Like the Dickens
July 27, 2010 8:36 PM Subscribe
How do I read and comprehend older literature?
posted by makethemost to Writing & Language (30 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I've never been very good at reading older literature. I trudged my way through Heart of Darkness just fine, but comprehension was definitely an issue. Maybe not the best example, so I'll try to explain further.
Right now I'm trying to read Bleak House, by Dickens. It takes me ages to read it, partly because I might have to look up a couple words per page and then try to piece together what I understand. That said, there are points when I find myself asking "Who is she, again?" or "Why are they going there?" It's not just Dickens, though. It's also Shakespeare et al. I was wondering if you had any tips that might help me understand what's going on so as to help me enjoy the literature more readily.
I've thought that Cliffnotes or kin might help, but that doesn't sound very fun.
I've recently graduated high school and I can just imagine my literature teacher offering his sage advice in the form of "Just Do It." Who knows, maybe that's the answer! Let me know what you think.
I'm asking for any tips as well as any motivation you might offer me. I want to do this!