twitterature

Extract

Contents

 

Introduction

Paradise Lost by John Milton

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron

The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Iliad by Homer

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

Beowulf

Candide by Voltaire

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Emma by Jane Austen

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Lysistrata by Aristophanes

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Medea by Euripides

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Eugene One gin by Alexander Pushkin

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Odyssey by Homer

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne

Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Swanns Way by Marcel Proust

The Aeneid by Virgil

The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Lady Chatterleys Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Alices Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Glossary

Twitter Format

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Life can offer us no greater treasure than art. It is all that is beautiful, and all that allows a man’s soul to take leave of the quotidian trifles that molest his waking mind, to be lifted to the highest peaks of experience, and to peer briefly into the sublime. It is that which removes man from the static residue of time and casts him into the gentle waters of the eternal. It is to hear and to speak softly in the beau­teous tongue of antiquity, and yet to foresee all that will unfold through the illimitably growing passage of our universe.

In short, art is pretty sweet.

What a tragedie, then, that so many modern people find the great works of literature inaccessible, overwhelming, and even, perhaps, dull. It is not a defect of their character, nor any special ineptitude that has disposed them in this manner; rather, these great texts – timeless as they may be – are, in their present form, outdated. Who but college students, hermits and disciples of the disgraced John Ludd can muddle through them with any hope of under­standing? This is what we seek, through our humble efforts, to remedy.

While some may describe the reinvention of our world’s Great Works to suit the ever-evolving brain of the modern man as ‘a triviality’, ‘a travesty’, or ‘that sucks’, we prefer to think of ourselves as modern-day Martin Luthers. Herr Lurher took the Holy Scripture itself and seeing that the classic Vulgate no longer spoke to the souls of his contemporaries, he translated it into the vernacular of his time. By doing so,Luther unleashed a revolution of faith and literacy upon sixteenth-century Europe that had not been seen before and has not been equalled since.

In our own way, and in our own time, we hope to do the same.

However, it’s probably best if we stay clear of the Bible.

You may be wondering, good sirs, what exactly we intend to do with these great works of art. What one must keep in mind is that the literary canon is not valued for its tens of thousands of dull, dull words but for the raw insight into humanity it provides. While perhaps an unwieldy tome was the best method of digesting this knowledge during a summer spent in the Victorian countryside in the Year of Our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Seventy ­Three, times have changed. Virginity must not be distracted with books, nor damsel-chasing pacified with poetry. Instead we must run free into the world and not once look back.

And so, we give you the means to absorb the strong voices, valuable lessons and stylistic innova­tions of the Greats without the burdensome duty of hours spent reading. We take these Great Works and present their most essential elements, distilled into the voice of Twitter – the social networking tool that with its limit of I40 characters a post (including spaces) has refined to its purest form the instant-publishing, short-attention-span, all-digital-­all-the-time, self-important age of info-deluge – and give you everything you need to master the litera­ture of the civilized world.

For indeed, does any man have such great pretence as to suppose that he may digest all that it is right and proper for him to have digested in the stunted mortal fit granted to him by Providence? Perhaps in the eighteenth year of your life you sat on a porch asking yourself: What exactly is Hamlet trying to tell me, why must he mince words and muse in lyricism, and, in short, whack about the shrub? Such questions are no doubt troubling – and we believe they would have been resolved were the Prince of Denmark a registered user on Twitter.com, well versed in the idiosyncrasies and idioms of the modern day. And this, in essence, is what we have done. We have liberated poor Hamlet from the rigorous literary constraints of the sixteenth century and made him – without losing an ounce of wisdom, beauty, wit or angst – a happening youngster. Just like you, dear reader.

In brief – and we mean this literally – we have created our generation’s salvation, a new and revo­lutionary way of facing and understanding the greatest art of all arts: Literature.

And allow us now to open

The eternal aperture,

To the brilliant soul of common man,

We present to you . . . Twitterature.

 

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