The Classics Club – August 2013 Meme question

Do you read forewords/notes that precede many classics? Does it help you or hurt you in your enjoyment/understanding of the work?

Whilst I like picking up the Penguin Classic editions of books, I rarely read the forewords. Whilst they are written by people who I can only assume know what they are talking about and give a worthy text, it does seem to be a book in it’s own right, and does seem to get a little in the way of me reading the text! I sometimes cast an eye down the chronology of the author, but wish they would put some external historical items on the list to help put things in a little context – e.g England friends/enemies of France; Country primarily catholic/protestant; price of corn high or low; mass discontent over specific taxes or the industrial revolution; the trains havent been invented, the train lines are being built, trains have been in place for 50 years etc……

I read the notes where the one is available and I dont instantly understand what is being said.

For Persephone books I am more liable to read the foreward (but not always). It helps by being shorter when compared to the Penguin books and gives a few pages where the author or their work is put in recent historical context.

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4 thoughts on “The Classics Club – August 2013 Meme question

    • it seems that everyone is different, but all seem to get some kind of use from them. I wonder what the people who originally wrote them think about how we treat their work?!

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