February 26th, 2009

Let Us Compare Mythologies

Like all book-lovers, and I think a fair amount of those who aren’t even *that* bookish, I am certain my lens on the world is distinctly tinted by what I read when I was young. What I read now, too, but in those impressionable years I do think I internalized stories more thoroughly than perhaps I do now in my older jaded years. I feel those books formed my internal mythology.

Naively, perhaps, I assumed that school-inflicted part of this lens was semi-universal; that many if not most of the books I read in school were on syllabi all over the country. But then I asked around my friends of like age and station…and *no one* had read what I read in school. Did I go to a mutant school? I find it so odd to think that I read the world in the light of *Antigone* and most don’t.

So here is a list of all that I can remember reading in high school. I think some of the years are off, as there is more in some than others, but it’s a good approximation. The starred items are book-report books, chosen off a list of 3-4 (I don’t think we ever had free choice). I would love to see other people’s lists, if you feel like posting’em somewhere or in the comments or sending them to me. I’m once again really curious about something minor and irrelevant.

English Course Requirements, Wentworth County, Middle Nineties

Grade 9 English, Enriched

–Selection of Greek and Roman mythology (plus excerpts of The Iliad
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut*

Grade 10 English, Enriched
–A short story collection about multiculturalism–the only story I remember being A Class of New Canadians by Clark Blaise
Obasan by Joy Kogowa
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
–A selection of ballads–the only ballad I remember being The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson
The Diviners by Margeret Laurence*

Grade 11 English, Enriched
Everyman, a medieval morality play and my pick for most-hated high-school text
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
–a selection of sonnets, the only sonnets I remember being Shakespeare’s love sonnets
Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw (I remember nothing about this play)
Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Grade 12 English, Advanced
The Oedipus Plays by Sophocles–we read all three, but only studied Antigone in-depth
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
–something else that I am forgetting

OAC English
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (my pick for most-loved high-school text)
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood*
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

Never, sadly, anything by Leonard Cohen, whose work I didn’t read until university (and never the title work of this post, actually). But I sure did like the songs when I was a teenager!

There’s music on Clinton Street all the through the evening
RR

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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