Summer reading: “Wait a second, this seems like homework, you nerd.”

I’ve been getting all my information together for our big Possession read, and I came across some things that seemed kind of helpful. As I mentioned before, there are many many references that aren’t necessary to understanding Possession, but which do enhance the reading of it. Or so I hear. I didn’t actually know where to find those references . . . until today. So, for your reading pleasure, I have decided to link many of them. I hope you find them helpful. Also, this should make next Monday’s post much shorter. (It should, but maybe I’ll dig in to all the references and have entirely too much to say. It’s possible, knowing me.)

At the end of the reader’s guide (which contains spoilers), the publisher’s website lists the following poems as helpful to understanding Possession:

Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” (keep our Roland and his quest in mind as you read it), “My Last Duchess,” “Porphyria’s Lover,” “Caliban Upon Setebos,” “Bishop Blougram’s Apology,” “Mr. Sludge, the ‘Medium‘,” “Andrea del Sarto,” and “Fra Lippo Lippi“;

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Christabel“;

Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress,” “The Garden“;

Petrarch, Rime Sparse;

Christina Rossetti, Poetical Works;

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Merlin and Vivien” from Idylls of the King, In Memoriam, “Maud,” “Mariana,” “The Lady of Shallott“;

W.B. Yeats, The Rose

It may also be illuminating to keep in mind that Ash is loosely based on Browning and LaMotte is loosely based on Rossetti. Here are some other references to look at if you get a chance.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you are laughing that someone who claims not to like poetry picked a big old book full of references to it to discuss. I must confess: I like a book that expects me to keep up, to do a little work. I like being able to dig into something like you can dig into this book. I think that literature classes should have been as fun as reading this book is. I’ll wait and actually talk more about the themes next week. I can hardly wait.

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