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The New Domesticity: Led by Literature

The New Domesticity: Led by Literature

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The words drummed in my brain as I worked on committing Marc Antony’s speech to memory. Notecards placed around our home prompted me: “Friends, Romans, countrymen…” My fellow classmates had all chosen various passages from the works of Shakespeare, and the juniors of Fort Vancouver High School were a chanting, quoting entity until the day of recitation finally arrived.

Although we feigned disdain over this seemingly wearisome task, I believe that many of us felt like we had somehow joined a greater, larger realm of mankind when we were quoting Shakespeare. It was as though we had stepped into a timeless tradition, and we—like thousands and thousands before us—had become the students passionately uttering the tragic, “Et tu, Brute?”

Today, as I continue to pick up various favorite novels, I am convinced that this is true. Shakespeare is everywhere. Indeed, the works of classic literature in general permeate modern works, dropping quotes and phrases over which the well-read student will smile and nod knowingly.

I frequently revisit the novels of Maud Hart Lovelace and Louisa May Alcott, and as both women wrote in detail from their own childhood experiences, I always feel as though I’m stepping into a very real world. Both authors reveal how natural it was to include literary references and diversions in daily life over 100 years ago.

To read more, pick up a copy of the January 2017 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy here.

Julianna Lawson and her husband, Jamie, make their home in Vancouver with their four children, ages 14 to 22.

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