19/10/2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY - FAVOURITE AUTHORS


Wonderful Wednesdays is a meme about spotlighting and recommending some of our most loved books, even if we haven't read them recently. Each week will have a different genre or theme. It is hosted on Tiny Library by lovely Sam.

This week's theme is Favourite Authors.

It's not a secret: English literature is my job and my passion. I also read different stuff, don't doubt, especially since I've started blogging and reviewing. However, if you ask me to choose my favourite authors, the first ones that come to my mind are those I've read and studied more. 

Have a look at this picture and let's see if you recognize them.


Well, I bet the most difficult to guess is the only man in the picture. Am I right? He is Edward Morgan Forster. I had a Forster period in my university years and read everything he wrote from his first "The Last Journey" to his most famous "A Passage to India", "Howard's End", "Where the Angels Fear to Tread", A Room with a View" and  "Maurice". This is my favourite quote from him: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” 


Then, Jane Austen. She's my best favourite. My admiration for her dates back to my adolescence and has enormously grown in the latest years. I've even got a blog dedicated to her, My Jane Austen Book Club. Jane was so intelligent. Smart. So talented with words. I've always liked her and I''ve read her novels several times in my life always finding something new to notice, enjoy and deeply appreciate. One of my favourite quotes from her: 

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” (Pride and Prejudice) 

Elizabeth Gaskell


After studying some chapters from North and South for one of my university exams (those referring to the employer/employee relationship), I started reading Mrs Gaskell's books with/for pleasure not long ago and thanks to a man. Are you thinking of ... this one? 


Richard Armitage in BBC North and South (2004)


No, not him, I'm afraid. Actually, I "bumped into" him because of my interest in Mrs Gaskell's work (it was 2008) . No, it was earlier. And it was thanks to one of my colleagues at school, he taught History and Philosophy. He asked me :"Have you ever read Gaskell's Mary Barton?" "No, why?"  "Because it's very interesting. I'm sure you'll like it". I did it,  then I read North and South (all of it for the first time) , after that Ruth and Wives and Daughters. And guess what? I'm reading Cranford these days.
Mrs Gaskell or  Jane Austen? Don't ask me to choose, I' d be really embarassed. I love them both very much. 


One of my favourite pages from Gaskell: 

“I choose to believe that I owe my very  life to you--ay--smile, and think it an exaggeration if you will. I believe it, because it adds a value to that life to think--oh, Miss Hale!' continued he, lowering his voice to such a tender intensity of passion that she shivered and trembled before him, 'to think circumstance so wrought, that whenever I exult in existence henceforward, I may say to myself, "All this gladness in life, all honest pride in doing my work in the world, all this keen sense of being, I owe to her!" And it doubles the gladness, it makes the pride glow, it sharpens the sense of existence till I hardly know if it is pain or pleasure, to think that I owe it to one--nay, you must, you shall hear'--said he, stepping forwards with stern determination--'to one whom I love, as I do not believe man ever loved woman before.' He held her hand tight in his. He panted as he listened for what should come. ” 


North and South (1855)

Just one Italian writer among the many great 20th century writers I've read:  Italo Calvino. This is his philosophy which has also become mine. I simply love this quote: 


Italo Calvino

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.” 
 Italo CalvinoInvisible Cities
There are so many other writers I love,  that I feel a bit guilty ending my list here. But to be honest,  I've chosen the ones I've read most works by. There will be other occasions  to mention all the others while blogging. I'm sure of that. What are your best favourite authors? 

15 comments:

JaneGS said...

Lovely tribute to your favorite writers. I've only read Room with a View, but I want to read more Forster because that was so exceptionally good.

Funny how a different man brought you to Gaskell.

I love the quote by Italo Calvino--may you always be able to help those not of the inferno to endure. A noble life's work :)

Apart from Austen and Gaskell and the authors of my childhood favorites, I would have to include Steinbeck, Twain, Shakespeare, George Eliot, and C&A Bronte.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

As I said, there are so many important authors in my life apart from Twain ( I've never read any of his books, I'm afraid ), I agree with all the names you mention. But I'd add Edith Wharton, Dickens, Bradbury, Huxley and among the Italians and the Americans so many others I've read and loved.
Thanks for your contribution, J. Ciao!
MG

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I got Austen and Gaskill, but not Forster. I've never actually read any Forster, it sounds like I should!

Thanks again for taking part and for your support :)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

Just pleasure, Sam! :-)

Jo said...

I have only just started reading Austen so she is my favourite classic and I never mentioned her!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

I hope you'll enjoy her smart wit and her talent, Jo, so much that when they ask you next year, you'll answer "My favourite writer is Jane Austen, no doubt!" ;-)

Jenny said...

In high school I lived and breathed E.M. Forster, especially A Room With a View and Where Angels Fear to Tread.

Mystica said...

A Passage to India was a school text for me also but as you guessed right I could not recognise the photo. Gorgeous choices of authors. Austen for me was a favourite as well.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

Glad to meet another fond reader who appreciated Forster as a student, @Jenny
And @Mystica, if you love Jane Austen, you'll enjoy reading Forster's novels. I'm sure of that. A Passage to India is very interesting but my favourite are A Room with a View and Howard's End.
Thank you both, for your comments!

Jane Odiwe said...

My own preference matches yours-superb writers you can visit over and over again!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Jane Odiwe
That's why I like the classics in general and those writers in particular: each time I re-read their books I find something new, different emotions, to discover and experience. They never disappoint. Thanks for dropping by and contributing to this discussion, Jane! :-)

Anonymous said...

Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors. I also love reading Barbara Pym novels. I am curious if you know her, MG...I have only read Cranford By Mrs. Gaskell and will begin to read North & South soon. I have also loved reading Jack Kerouac and Cesare Pavese, and many more...
Monica

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Monica
And many more ... that's what I usually say after mentioning my favourite ones. Pavese, yes! I read several of his novels. I never got to the end of Kerouac's "On the road", can't tell you exactly why. I love Sylvia Plath's only novel, The Bell Jar, and Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, instead.
Thanks for commenting and contributing to the discussion. Hugs. MG

mel u said...

I am an avid read of E. M. Forster also-I am reading his The Longest Journey now-I enjoyed your post a lot

MARIA GRAZIA said...

Glad you liked it, Mel. Enjoy Forster's Longest Journey and thanks for dropping by and commenting.