Friday, January 20, 2006

Not what I needed to read 

Looking through the film reviews in The Week (a journal which gathers assorted media views on a wide range of topics). I came across one for Tristan and Isolde -- sorry, Tristan & Isolde -- which quotes David Germain in the Associated Press as follows: "Great, now Hollywood's handing out homework." The review continues: "Tristan & Isolde may not be quite as mind-numbing as a weekend assignment to read the works of Thomas Malory, 'but it's close'."

I have no opinion on the film -- which I haven't seen -- but isn't it lovely to know that one's subject matter is viewed with such sustain, and that great literature is nothing more than a boring chore?

On a slightly less critical note, the review points out that, although the story "packs as much longing and dramatic pedigree" (I think they're still quoting Germain here) as the stories of Romeo and Juliet and Lancelot and Guinevere, it "has, for the most part, been relegated to history's dustbin" (a quote from the review, not Germain). I'd agree with that. I wonder why?

Whaa? Since when did Malory get boring?

Reminds me of students who insist that Beowulf is "boring" because they find it difficult. "Boring?" I ask them, "You're calling a story that involves a guy who rips an arm off a man-eating monster and hangs it over a fireplace boring? A story in which the same guy fights an underwater battle with a she-monster, during which a sword melts? And then fights a dragon? That's boring?"

They generally look a little sheepish.

Too many people find what they expect to find when reading literature. And far too many people expect medieval literature to be boring.
I love medieval literature more than just about anything, but I can barely make it through Malory. Not sure what it is exactly. I guess he just doesn't have any romance or pageantry. Most of Malory is like reading the bits of Homer where he lists all the people who showed up to the siege of Troy.
Post a Comment
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?