November 15, 2008

Literary crushes

The other day I came across a great post from Alison Flood in The Guardian books blog. Having heard about a petition launched in Japan to allow people to marry cartoon characters (hey, don't laugh, Fox News is convinced Donald Duck could vote in the US Presidential Election), she was inspired to think about what fictional character she would marry. A few, it turns out, from Georgette Heyer heroes to Jay Gatsby, by way of Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables. Who are your literary crushes, she asks?

This is the kind of question that could probably keep me alive a few extra days while waiting to be rescued at the bottom of a ravine. Say I was precocious, but when I was still being read aloud to I can remember hanging on my mother’s words as she read to us about mysterious, one-armed Freckles in Girl of the Limberlost. Although, since I remember that the other high point of the book for me was the description of Elvira’s lunchbox with its cunning little compartments, maybe I wasn’t that bad.

Later – that would be puberty – there was the Louisa May Alcott book Eight cousins and its sequel Rose in bloom, about an orphan named Rose and her seven boy cousins, one of whom she is of course destined to marry. The main players are the oldest cousin, Archie, the natural-leader type; Charlie, nicknamed “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, talented, charming and fatally flawed; and bookish, absent-minded Mac. I think I was a little bit in love with all of them -- well, maybe not Archie!

I was pleased to see just now on The Literature Network site that readers are discovering and gushing over this sweet, romantic and proto-feminist book in 2008.

In high school I fell in love with Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun also Rises and spent many nights picking out a sophisticated, androgynous one-syllable name that I would change my name to as soon as I moved out of my parents’ house. With my best friend, I shared a crush on Mercutio, the melting point being established in Franco Zeffirelli's film version of Romeo and Juliet. And of course there was Dean Moriarty.

But my biggest literary crush of all is my high school Honours English teacher. He had beautiful blue eyes, a romantic limp, a passionate soul and he interpreted poetry so sublimely. The day he read us "Ode on Melancholy," when he got to the part about he whose strenuous tongue can burst joy’s grape against his palate fine, I was, if not his, John Keats’s forever.

So, who are your literary crushes?

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 05:30


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