The Western Lit Survival Kit
An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner
By Sandra Newman
(Gotham, Paperback, 9781592406944, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
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A side-splitting tour that makes it a blast to read the Western literary canon, from the ancient Greeks to the Modernists.
To many, the Great Books evoke angst: the complicated Renaissance dramas we bluffed our way through in college, the dusty Everyman's Library editions that look classy on the shelf but make us feel guilty because they've never been opened. On a mission to restore the West's great works to their rightful place (they were intended to be entertaining!), Sandra Newman has produced a reading guide like no other. Beginning with Greek and Roman literature, she takes readers through hilarious detours and captivating historical tidbits on the road to Modernism. Along the way, we find parallels between Rabelais and South Park, Jane Austen and Sex and the City, Jonathan Swift and Jon Stewart, uncovering the original humor and riskiness that propelled great authors to celebrity.
Packed with pop culture gems, stories of literary hoaxes, ironic day jobs for authors, bad reviews of books that would later become classics, and more.
Sandra Newman is the author of the novels Cake and The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, and a memoir, Changeling. She is the coauthor of How Not to Write a Novel and Read This Next. Newman lives in Brooklyn.
"How can one book be totally irreverent and incredibly informative at the same time ? Must be a trick. And Sandra Newman pulls this trick off with laugh-out-loud humor."
-Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein, authors of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes
"Sandra Newman extends a lifeline to those drowning in what others told us was the Western literature necessary to read. This is about what is needed to live. " -Evan Dobelle, Author / Researcher of " Saviors of our Cities " and President of Horace Mann's Westfield State University, " The People's College "