Tag Archives: guest post

Great Illustrated Badge

GIC RBoCYesterday I asked my crew if anyone wanted to read the Great Illustrated Classics version of The Red Badge of Courage.  Not to be outdone by child number one who recently wrote a post, child number two quickly piped up with, “I will!”

Me:Can you tell me what the book is about?
#2: The Red Badge of Courage is a book about Henry Fleming.  He was a young farmer who went off to war.  He didn’t have to, but he wanted to.

Me: Why don’t you tell me three parts of the story that you enjoyed.
#2: I liked when Henry Fleming and Tom wrestle over holding the flag, and Henry becomes the flag bearer.  (One difference between the Great Illustrated Classic and the original text is that the GIC has Wilson getting the confederate flag from the dead flag bearer and not Wilson and Fleming together taking it.)  I liked when the mule-drivers had their revenge by winning their battle.  One part that was sad was when Henry Fleming’s friend Jim died.

Me: Did you think this book was too bloody or gruesome for kids your age?
#2: For some kids maybe, but not for me.

Me: To whom would you recommend this book?
#2: People who read books about wars.

PS– I, Christine, did not read the Great Illustrated Classics version of this novel.  I did take a peek at the very end to see if the epilogue titled “The Veteran” was included.  It was not.  But there was a map on the very last page titled “The Battle of Chancellorsville. Virginia: May, 1863”.
So that’s where we were!


Posted by on April 1, 2013 in The Red Badge of Courage


Tags: , ,

Levin the Introvert

Classic Case of Madness is thrilled to bring you a guest post today.  “Levin the Introvert” was written by fellow classics reader Gina.  In August Gina came to the blog as a friend of Christina’s sister, and now she’s become our friend too.  Enjoy!


So I just finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which is an excellent book. As an introvert, it was an affirming read and showed me that being an introvert is not a negative personality trait.

When I started reading Quiet, all of a sudden, AK was suddenly showing me lots of examples of Levin as an introvert and made me recall the quote attributed to Flaubert about Tolstoy. Tolstoy did such an amazing job of portraying his characters that he picked up on this type of personality trait before the concepts of introversion and extroversion became widely accepted.

Here are a few examples that jumped out at me – did anyone find any other examples?

Part One, Chapter 7 – Levin enjoys listening to a philosophical conversation with his brother Koznyshev and a professor – “Is there a line to be drawn between psychological phenomena in man, and if so, where?” (Introverts are great listeners and prefer having deep conversations to small talk.)

Part Three, Chapters 4-6 – Levin mows the field with the peasants; yeah, more than one chapter devoted to mowing! (Introverts tend to enjoy activities that are solitary and do not require much conversation.)

Part Three, Chapter 26 – Levin goes hunting on the property of his friend Sviazhsky, and Sviazhsky’s unmarried sister-in-law is wearing a low-necked dress – “…but he had not complete freedom of ideas, because he was in an agony of embarrassment. This agony of embarrassment was due to the fact that the sister-in-law was wearing a dress specially put on, he thought, for his benefit, cut particularly low, in the shape of a trapeze, on her white bosom. This square opening, in spite of the bosom’s being very white, or just because it was very white, deprived Levin of the full use of his faculties.” (Introverts are not very good at multi-tasking.)This was a LOL moment for me!

Part Four, Chapter 11 – Kitty and Levin converse with each other while everyone else talks about politics (Introverts prefer one-on-one conversations).

Part Six, Chapters 8-13 – Levin takes up several chapters going hunting (similar to the mowing example).

Part Six, Chapter 28 – Levin is in Kashin for the elections. “But Levin forgot all that, and it was painful to him to see all these excellent persons for whom he had a respect, in such an unpleasant and vicious state of excitement. To escape from this painful feeling he went away into the other room, where there was nobody except the waiters at the buffet.” (Introverts may not be as comfortable expressing their feelings outwardly, and also need to take occasional breaks when in group situations.)

Part Seven, Chapter 1 – Kitty is noticing differences in Levin since they moved to Moscow for her confinement. “She liked his serene, friendly, and hospitable manner in the country. In town he seemed continually uneasy and on his guard, as though he was afraid someone would be rude to him, and still more to her.” (Introverts tend to be homebodies and like to avoid conflict when possible.)

Part Seven, Chapter 3 – Levin meets Metrov, who is a well-known agricultural or economics writer. “’What I began precisely was to write a book on agriculture, the laborer,’ said Levin, reddening, ‘I could not help coming to quite unexpected results.’ And Levin began carefully, as it were, feeling his ground, to expound his views.” (Introverts can be embarrassed by the spotlight, but actually do enjoy taking an active role in conversations that cover subjects they are familiar with.)

Part Seven, Chapter 5 – Levin takes Natalie to a concert and tries to immerse himself in the music. “…he stood against a column and tried to listen as attentively and conscientiously as possible. He tried not to let his attention be distracted, and not to spoil his impression by looking at the conductor in a white tie, waving his arms, which always disturbed his enjoyment of music so much, or the ladies in bonnets, with strings carefully tied over their ears, and all these people either thinking nothing at all or thinking of all sorts of things except the music.” (examples of overstimulation, disdain of people who don’t think deeply.)

On an unrelated note, this was one of my favorite parts of the book so far – Part Six, Chapter 31, where Oblonsky sends Dolly a telegram – “Darya Aleksandrovna, getting the message, simply sighed over the ruble wasted on it, and understood that it was sent after dinner. She knew Stiva had a weakness after dining for faire jouer le telegraphe (setting the telegraph going).” So who knew?! Before drunk texting there was drunk telegraphing!


Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Anna Karenina


Tags: , , , ,

Girl reads Gulliver

This installment of “What’s on my nightstand?” is about a book that’s been on my nightstand for weeks.  Every free moment I have, I’m reading Anna Karenina, so I did what I’ve done before… I pawned the book off on one of my children.  May I present…

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver
retold by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Riddell

… and reviewed by this blogger’s daughter.

I chose to read this book because I thought it might be interesting.  The illustrations looked funny. (and because mom asked if anyone wanted to read the book and help her blog about it)

The book is about Gulliver.  He’s a sailor but he ends up going to all of these crazy places like with little tiny people, and huge people, and horses that talk.  He also visits an island and goes to Japan for a little bit.

Gulliver is pretty good in languages to be able to learn all the different ones so quickly.  He’s good with people.  He can talk himself out of the situations he gets himself into. 

My favorite section to read was the giants.  There’s no competition.  You know how girls like to play house with dolls?  That’s what it was like for Gulliver, except he was the doll.

My least favorite section to read was the house with all the ghosts.  I don’t like the idea of people coming back from the dead.  It was creepy how he talked to all the famous people like Alexander the Great.

The illustrations for this version were very good.  They helped you understand the story better.  With the Yahoos, you wouldn’t understand how bizarre they were without seeing the pictures.

I would read the story again.  It was fun to read and see all the places Gulliver went.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver… It’s what’s on a blogger’s daughter’s nightstand.

PS.  I, Christine, did quickly peruse the book.  It’s very accurate and the illustrations are a great addition to the story.  Gulliver visits all of the same places as in the original.  Sometimes the book was even a little too accurate–going so far as to include an illustration of the Yahoos in the tree trying to… trying to… well, you remember the ban.


Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Gulliver's Travels


Tags: , , ,

Did you see her mole?



I have a special surprise for you today:  A Guest Post!  This one comes to us from someone who deserves the title of Accomplished Young Lady.  Amy is in her second year at Hillsdale and got to read P&P under the ivory towers of her fair institution and now she’s happy to give us some insight into our English friends. Oh, and at the end she asks a question, so let’s be dutiful students and raise our virtual hands with an answer, okay?

It looks as if Darcy has been reading Shakespeare. Pardon me if I’m jumping ahead in the book list (this will give everyone something to look forward to). In the play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Hamlet says,

So oft it chances in particular men
That for some vicious mole of nature in them—
As in their birth (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin),
By the o’ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o’erleavens
The form of plausive manners—that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature’s livery or fortune’s star,
Their virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo)
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal (I, IV, 25-40).

This “mole of nature” that he talks of is often wondered about. What exactly is Hamlet’s “dram of evil”? Well, Darcy has his all figured out for us. In Chapter 11 he says,

“I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. — It is I believe too little yielding — certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offences against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. — My good opinion once lost is lost for ever.”

The conversation continues:

That is a failing indeed!” — cried Elizabeth. “Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. — I really cannot laugh at it; you are safe from me.”

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”

So, Darcy’s “mole” is a freebie since he gives it to us. He then jokes that Elizabeth’s “is wilfully to misunderstand [everyone].” Do you agree with him? What would you say the “mole’s” of the other characters are?


Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Pride and Prejudice


Tags: , , , ,