Classics Club Spin 27

© C A Lovegrove

The Classics Club people are in a spin again: by 18th July we’re invited to number off twenty titles on our personal lists of fifty classics, so that whatever random digit comes up we aim to read the corresponding book by 22nd August.

As it happens, I have ‘only’ 13 titles remaining on my list and therefore I’ve had to arbitrarily allocate repeat titles for the last seven. I’ve used wherever possible simple criteria for my choices with this septet: (1) children’s classics (2) shortish classics. Heck, I don’t want to make it hard for myself!

  1. Petronius Arbiter: The Satyricon
  2. Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess
  3. Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
  4. George Eliot: Middlemarch
  5. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game
  6. Charles Kingsley: Hypatia
  7. Rudyard Kipling: Kim
  8. D H Lawrence: The Princess and other stories
  9. Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince
  10. L M Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables
  11. Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast
  12. Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  13. Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto
  14. Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess
  15. Rudyard Kipling: Kim
  16. L M Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables
  17. Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  18. Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince
  19. Petronius Arbiter: The Satyricon
  20. D H Lawrence: The Princess and other stories

I’m sort of hoping Middlemarch or Gormenghast will get picked as I desperately need a proverbial kick up the pants to return to one of these stalled titles. But we’ll see what pans out.

In the meantime I’ve been steadily deleting ephemeral posts that are long in the tooth — previous Classics spins, irrelevant observations, reblogged posts — so it’s possible that you may find the odd link to them no longer works. Apologies. This one too will almost certainly self-destruct soon after it ceases to be relevant.


No 6 it is: Charles Kingsley’s Hypatia.

43 thoughts on “Classics Club Spin 27

    1. Yes, indeed, and it so happens that I’ve two editions of The Satyricon, one in a Penguin Classics translation (combined with Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis) which I haven’t really looked at much, and a 1923 edition “made English by Mr. BURNABY of the Middle-Temple, and another hand” (first published 1694) which I read many years ago. I may work from both texts though the order of the fragments is different in each edition.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jjlothin

        Mr Burnaby’s translation sounds like fun! I remember seeing Fellini’s interpretation many years ago, and getting into an argument as to which version of Ancient Rome was likely to have been closer to the truth: Fellini’s, or William ‘Ben Hur’ Wyler’s!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My faint memories of the Fellini film are only of Trimalchio’s feast, a bit of romping, and a very confused, certainly confusing, storyline. I’m hoping a reread, and some background reading on the parodic elements, will clarify things more than Fellini did! (I definitely enjoyed Ben Hur more though!)

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I saw the Fellini during my student days in, I think, Southampton’s Classic Cinema, and Wyler’s sword & sandals & piety film in Cinerama either soon after it was released or in a re-release in the 1960s. Of the two I think I’d prefer Ben Hur, leaving the Petronius to be enjoyed on the page! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL indeed! What I meant was that, with only 13 classics left to read, for the seven remaining titles on the spin list I repeated as many shortish / children’s classics as I could. I’ll amend the post to make that clear! 🙂


        1. You won’t be surprised to know that even after a post is written, read, reread, scheduled and then published, I’m still spotting typos and non sequiturs and scrabbling to correct them before anyone notices!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, I chuckled at Middlemarch, but mostly as a means of masking my admiration. My own CC list has languished for so long. Sufficient books read, almost none reviewed. There’s still hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got up as far as just before Dorothea is about to marry Casaubon in Middlemarch before other things dragged me away. I shall have to start at the beginning again!

      As for reviewing, I started writing reviews as a way to marshall my thoughts about a narrative before I forgot the details, but now it’s just as much to do with having conversations with other bloggers and readers. I don’t know what your motivations would be but I’m very happy to read any crit you do as well as your occasional seasonal ruminations!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed both Middlemarch and Gormenghast so if you get one of those two I hope you’ll have better luck with them this time. I also loved Anne of Green Gables – one of my childhood favourites!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These novels are all very ‘worthy’ titles — and I don’t mean worthy in any derogatory sense! — and I know I shall enjoy them when I settle down to them, BUT I’m a bear of very little brain and can only give my attention to one worthy work at a time, enjoying at the same time more ‘accessible’ diversions.

      Still, Anne (with an E) is very diverting by all accounts, so I’ll take your mention of it as a recommendation! 🙂


    1. Kim would be a reread for me, Mallika, and I’ve still got the hardback given me by my parents when I was a child. I stalled on Hypatia a while ago and have felt guilty about it ever since, as the subject matter — an eminent female scientist in classical times ultimately murdered by an anti-pagan Christian mob — very much mattered to me at the time, and still does, plus I wanted to read more of Kingsley’s fiction.

      But if Middlemarch comes up I’ll be just as pleased!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been meaning to read Hypatia from ages but…

        Kim I actually read a library copy and loved it so much that I haven’t actually brought one because I’m still looking for one with illustrations, or rather I think reliefs, Kipling’s father had done.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I didn’t know Kipling’s father had illustrated Kim — my Macmillan copy only has a frontispiece map. I’ve just dug it out and I see it’s dated 1956, with an inscription from friends of my parents for my birthday in 1957 and a sticker on the back flyleaf showing it was sold by the Practical Book Co., 28 D’aguilar Street, Hong Kong.

          The famous opening, with Kim sitting on the cannon outside the Lahore Museum, sticks in my mind because my mother had told me that at some stage in her time in British India she had lived in Lahore, (now of course in Pakistan). I wish she’d given me a timeline of her life in India before Partition and Independence as she named several places she had connections with but never in any way that provided a chronology or much of a background. Ditto my father too.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. 🙂 Its years since I read the book but no luck finding an ed with these yet. I might cave in and get myself a nice hardback while keeping a lookout for this when I get (back) to second-hand shops eventually.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cleo, it’s now in the lap of the gods what I’ll get—what we’ll all get—so it’ll be interesting to see what turns up; Middlemarch will be perfectly acceptable though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. In case my comment on your blog post doesn’t appear, I see we’ve both got Tom Sawyer on our lists, but I’d be most interested to know what you thought of Shirley if you got that—I managed a couple of discussion posts as well as a review when I read it, which I don’t do for many classics!


  3. I got caught up on your comment about deleting old posts.

    I’m curious. Now that I’ve moved to WP, the whole reblogging thing is very easy, but it’s hard to know which posts work best with this? How do you decide which ones to reblog? Do you simply reblog or tell a story about why you’re reblogging or refresh the post? or both?

    I can see why not keeping old spins, memes and housekeeping type posts would be a good way of tidying up…I guess I’m curious about your reasoning?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such interesting points, Brona, and ones I’d half thought about putting into a post, but I’ll summarise my thoughts here.

      Approaching ten years of this blog I find I’m now around 85% capacity of the free storage I’m allowed for a WordPress site, so it makes sense to bin old, no longer relevant posts, especially those with few likes and/or comments which nobody is going to read again. The only ones I leave are reviews, because this is essentially a review blog.

      Regarding reblogs, I used to do this with some of my earlier posts, and occasionally other bloggers’ posts, but I no longer do that. All that happens is that the reblog gives the start of the original post and one is still left to click on the link to read more. Most people (and that includes me) are less inclined to casually do that (especially those who are leery of click bait strategies!).

      So what I do is to look critically at, say, an earlier review, revise and/or expand it if necessary, and then reschedule it, with a note that it’s a repost. That way I don’t add to my storage but earlier posts that I’m reasonably proud of, or at least am satisfied by, get refreshed and offered again to my eager readership! (Note the tongue placed firmly in the cheek…)

      Hope that helps! 🙂


  4. Well, I’ll add to general enthusiasm for Middlemarch, especially if you draw a map! 😉 It is pretty great. And Gormenghast, too, in a very different way…

    I still think of Glass Bead Game as my favorite Hesse novel, but it’s been a very long time since I read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I haven’t read it since the 1970s when it came out in Penguin Modern Classics with a very distinctive but sombre geometric abstract cover design. As for the Eliot, I shall as I said have to start again to, get the sweep of the whole thing and to check my rough sketch of settlements reflects the text!

      Liked by 1 person

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