For those of you expecting this week’s Sunday Salon, I’m cheating and combining my Patron of the Week post with The Sunday Salon.
This week’s Patron of the Week comes from the Land of Cotton, Look Away, Look Away, Look Away, with the emphasis on the “Look Away” and not on the cotton, because the setting actually is in New England.
Please say hello to Mrs. I’m-Old-Enough-To-Desire-Under-The-Elms-Now.
After she put the book down on the counter, she proceeded to tell her story about why she was getting this particular book, the American Library Edition of Eugene O’Neill: Complete Plays 1920-1931:
“When I was in high school, we had this teacher who told us ‘Desire under the Elms’ was too adult for our tastes. I’ve always wanted to read it and now at the age of 62, I’m finally getting to it.”
She said she thought she was old enough now to handle the adult themes presented in the play, even though she admitted she wasn’t thrilled about it being a play. She said she didn’t like to read plays.
What prompted her to pick up the book, she said, was that some of her classmates were praising the teacher on a Facebook page set up for an upcoming reunion, on how great a teacher he was, and all she could remember was that he didn’t want them to read this one particular play.
This brings me to today’s questions for you: Has there ever been a book or even series of books that a teacher or parent told you not to read because you wouldn’t be able to “handle” it (them) at the time or because that person thought it was (they were) too immoral or too “evil” for you? For me, it wasn’t a book but an author: Emanuel Swedenborg, that I’ve written about previously.
If you would like to read Desire Under The Elms for yourself, you can do so here thanks to Project Gutenberg in Australia. One of its more recent revivals was done in 2009 on Broadway with Brian Dennehy in one of the leading roles.
For today’s moment of Zen, I’ll leave you with the trailer for the 1958 film version of Desire Under The Elms with Anthony Perkins in a romantic role (really? yes, really):
As for what I’m reading today, I’ll be finishing up Lemons Never Lie by Richard Stark (a pseudonym for Donald E. Westlake) this morning and then…and then…? I don’t know yet. We’ll see. I’ll let you know on Wednesday what I decided to pick up next.