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A Guardian archive of digested (which is to say, condensed) classics – parody/pastiches by John Crace.

A sample, from the digested version of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness:

The flood had made and the only thing for it was to wait for the turn of tide. The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth! … The dreams of men, the germs of empires.

Between us four was the bond of the sea, making us tolerant of each other’s yarns. Which was just as well when Marlow, sitting serenely as a Buddha, began his two hour, Freudian critique of colonialism.

And another couple of choice bits, this time from the digested version of Dickens’s David Copperfield:

“Mr Murdstone and I are now wed, Davey,” said my mother, “so if he wants to give you a good beating then I shall have to let him.”

“Indeed I do,” sneered Mr Murdstone, “for he is a disagreeable boy. And when he has been thrashed sufficiently, he shall be sent to Mr Creakle’s school in London to be thrashed some more.”

***

…the only break in my day was the invitation to take tea with an unattractive clerk by the name of Uriah Heep. “Most ‘umble,” he said. In truth, I did not much care for Heep, finding him a deeply aspirant member of the lower orders, but I bore myself with the dignity expected of distressed gentlefolk and treated him with a patronising contempt disguised as good manners.

There are over a hundred of these gems in the archive. Go have fun.