Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Classics Challenge: June with Mark Twain

This is the sixth month of the Classics Challenge, hosted by Katherine at November's Autumn. Our Challenge this month: "Sometimes we come across a scene or description that creates such vivid imagery it moves us. Select a quote from the Classic you're currently reading and create, what I call a visual tour."


I recently read Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad (my review is here). This is from Chapter XXXI, "The Buried City of Pompeii."


It was a quaint and curious pasttime, wandering through this old silent city of the dead - lounging through utterly deserted streets where thousands and thousands of human beings once bought and sold, and walked and rode, and made the place resound with the noise and confusion of traffic and pleasure.



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And so I turned away and went through shop after shop and store after store, far down the long street of the merchants, and called for the wares of Rome and the East, but the tradesmen were gone, and the marts were silent, and nothing was left but the broken jars all set in cement of cinders and ashes; the wine and the oil that once had filled them were gone with their owners.



image source


Compare the cheerful life and the sunshine of this day with the horrors the younger Pliny saw here, the 9th of November, A.D. 79, when he was so bravely striving to remove his mother out of reach of harm . . .

image source


I was lucky enough to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, and though the streets were far from deserted when I was there - packed with tourists like me - Twain's descriptions still resonated with me.

A side note: I apologize for all the blank spaces in this post. I detest and abhor the new blogger interface, I find it very difficult to use compared with the previous version, and missing important features. I cannot figure out something simple like how to eliminate those extra spaces.

5 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read something of Twain and I think The Innocents Abroad may be it. Thank you for participating, Lisa!

    p.s. with the extra spaces, if you go in to edit the post and choose the HTML view, you'll see the coding/text has a lot of spaces if you delete the spacing that usually fixes it-- I have the same issue sometimes. Or you might see a row of < br > tags just delete a few of them.

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  2. Your images and quotes compliment each other perfectly. Lovely tour!

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  3. Katherine, thank you for another great prompt. I enjoyed The Innocents Abroad so much, and I am now eager to read more Twain. Thank you also for your HTMP hint, I was able to cut out at least some of the spaces. I think the photos created most of the problem.

    Cat, thank you, it was such fun browsing for them. And I love your avatar :)

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  4. Lovely! This is very cool.

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  5. Thank you, Jean! Twain wrote so evocatively about Pompeii - though being Twain he also had to get his jokes in.

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Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!