Tolstoy was a great novelist, but he wasn’t known for concision. That’s probably the reason why he didn’t use Twitter. Well, one of the reasons, at least.
Luckily for us, the compilers of the new book Twitterature have helped to condense into 140 characters what would have taken the Russian author 140 pages to describe. Each classic is squeezed into 20 tweets or fewer. For example, from Anna Karenina (SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t had a chance to catch the nail-biting finale):
“Alright, twenty rubles says that I can toss my bag in the air, run across the tracks, and catch it before the train arriv–“
William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Thomas Pynchon, and even Dan Brown get the Twitter treatment in the book, to widely varying humorous effect. I like the premise of the whole thing, even if it’s sometimes a bit overcooked. Plus, the tweets actually cover the plot pretty well, so I can even imagine using this as a sort of jokey CliffsNotes. Here are a few more choice examples:
“SATAN HAS THREE HEADS, AND THEY ARE TOTALLY EATING PEOPLE” Dante’s The Inferno
“S—. ‘C-Section’ is not ‘of woman born’? What kind of king dies on a g–d— technicality?” Shakespeare’s Macbeth
“Robert Downey Jr. playing me in a film? Totally cool. Perfect.” A.C. Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes
What do you think? Are Twitter and classic lit like chocolate and peanut butter, two great things that go great together? Or is it more like chocolate and anchovy paste?