This week's question:
What is the most difficult literary work you've ever read? What made it so difficult?
My most 'difficult' literary works have been read on my own (too much chemistry and not enough lit in college) and by choice. I won't shy away from reading a 'difficult' book but, if it doesn't offer a sense of personal satisfaction or enjoyment, I won't hesitate to put it aside either.
What might make a book 'difficult' for me? Several ideas came to mind:
- length... can be daunting, but doesn't mean difficult (Bleak House)
- long, convoluted sentences (Henry James)
- flowery, long-winded description (Dickens, again)
- historical setting where my knowledge is a little thin (Les Miserables)
- language or dialect
- obscure symbolism
- novels of 'ideas'
- magical realism
- extended passages in verse
Finally, it hit me - stream of consciousness. Novels featuring stream of consciousness have always been difficult for me to follow. They seem to demand more from the reader.
Earlier this year, as part of Woolf in Winter, I decided to give Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf one more try. After two previous failures, not only did I make it to the end, but I enjoyed every page! It has even given me the courage to attempt To The Lighthouse this winter.
My thoughts on reading Mrs. Dalloway are posted here.
Visit The Blue Bookcase for links to other Literary Blog Hop posts.