The Western Lit Survival Kit by Sandra Newman
An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner

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A side-splitting tour that makes it a blast to read the Western literary canon, from the ancient Greeks to the Modernists.

To many, the Great Books evoke angst: the complicated Renaissance dramas we bluffed our way through in college, the dusty Everyman's Library editions that look classy on the shelf but make us feel guilty because they've never been opened. On a mission to restore the West's great works to their rightful place (they were intended to be entertaining!), Sandra Newman has produced a reading guide like no other. Beginning with Greek and Roman literature, she takes readers through hilarious detours and captivating historical tidbits on the road to Modernism. Along the way, we find parallels between Rabelais and South Park, Jane Austen and Sex and the City, Jonathan Swift and Jon Stewart, uncovering the original humor and riskiness that propelled great authors to celebrity.

Packed with pop culture gems, stories of literary hoaxes, ironic day jobs for authors, bad reviews of books that would later become classics, and more.


About Sandra Newman

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Sandra Newman is the author of the novels "Cake" and "The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done". Her writing has appeared in "Harper's", "Granta", and other publications.
Published January 3, 2012 by Gotham Books. 300 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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With each writer, she gets to the nub of a work or style from the outset (“The Bronte home was a little biosphere of literary misery”), and she is not afraid to venture her true feelings: Of Tristram Shandy: “Page for page, it’s possibly the funniest novel ever.” Newman is a serious fan of humor ...

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IT manages to be both passionate and flippant -- veering at times towards the facetious though never reaching the depths of frivolity -- but Sandra Newman's lively and witty book, while knocking down sacred cows with relish, never loses contact with her central thesis: reading should be a pleasure.

Jun 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Western Lit Survival Kit:...

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