Question posed over at The Classics Club for September 2013 and answered here
Rereading a favourite classic at different stages of your life gives you different insights with each reading. Is there one classic you’ve read several times that also tells a story about you?
Actually, I’m going to be bold and nominate several:
First is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I read this several times as a child and remember it with fondness. I then re-read it when I was approx 20, when I had just finished college, and had managed to get out of the mindset of catholic-school indoctrination. I hated it, thought it unsubtle in its analogies (Aslan = Jesus etc) and was seriously disappointed in Lewis for producing not only this tripe, but a whole series set in Narnia. It was another decade or more before I read it again – my fervent anti-Catholic church had dimmed slightly, but I was still reticent to read LWW just in case – I did and the shine was still off the story, so that’s a story I’m not in a rush to recommend to young readers.
The other one is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I must have first read this when I was a teenager, thought it was ok. Second time was in my late teens/early twenties, thought it was over wordy and skipped over whole passages (looking back now I suspect these were the best passages). I read it again in my late 30s – around the time that the Toby Stephens mini-series came out on TV and loved it again – I had an appreciation for it that I had never had before – there was a lot more intelligent banter between the two main characters that I had never picked up on before….