On navigating problematic classics

Candy Palmater talks about how to navigate classic works that are so not woke they may in fact be comatose.

The comedian and columnist had never read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. She picked it up recently but felt it was a struggle.

The novel’s worldview was hard for her to take —and it got Palmater thinking how she as a reader should treat problematic “beloved” books of the past and books by problematic people. She stopped by The Next Chapter to talk about what’s a reader to do when it comes to controversial classics and problematic authors.

“I give myself a little challenge every year that I should at least have five classics in my yearly reading list. I had never read Gone with the Wind. I’ve never even watched the movie, even though I love old movies. 

“I was expecting it to be dated. What I was not expecting was, seven pages in, that the whole notion of slavery was right up in my face. I was in some kind of a dream world. I didn’t realize the depiction of slavery would be so blatant and casual in the book.

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