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rockfan's avatar

When you read a classic novel for the first time, do you read the introduction first?

Asked by rockfan (12014points) July 25th, 2015

I usually read the introduction last. But if the introduction is only telling us the political/historical background of when the novel was written, then I think it’s valuable to read it beforehand. Your thoughts?

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10 Answers

longgone's avatar

No. Lengthly introductions have managed to turn me off multiple books. I skip ahead and, if the book turns out to be good, I may go back later on.

cazzie's avatar

It depends on who has written it as well. I usually give them a go, but if they sound like pure twattle, I give up on them and just get stuck into the book.

Pachy's avatar

Same as @longgone. I rarely read intros short or long. I think it’s because I just don’t want to be influenced in any way. Same for movie reviews. I always read them afterwards, whether I liked the movie or not, but almost never before.

zenvelo's avatar

Generally, no.

I don’t like spoilers, and intros have to give away too much to tell you what is significant or meaningful or explain the context.

If the author wrote the intro, I will read it. Best intro I’ve ever read was Steinbeck’s introduction to Sea of Cortez.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t really like reading introductions at all.

lugerruger's avatar

I usually begin reading them, then I get bored and I skip to the actual novel. It depends though, sometimes I read the whole thing, sometimes I don’t read any at all, it depends on my mood.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I think the introduction should be placed at the last pages and should be as brief as possible. I don’t need a lengthy introduction explaining the author’s biography, how they wrote the book or how the book is significant in the liturature world. I can find those things on Wikipedia. What I want to know is how the book actually looks like. It’s just like seeing and hearing.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Sometimes. It depends on how much I know about the book (and the historical setting).

I have found that a lot of introductions are basically apologies by the writer (or translator) and don’t add much to the book itself.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

I only read the intros of books I really enjoyed.

Haleth's avatar

If the book is famous, sometimes the introduction is just self-indulgent. Right now I’m reading the Dangerous Visions anthology for the first time. There are I think three long introductions about the authors, how everyone knew each other back in the 60s, funny anecdotes, how Harlan Ellison is such a great guy, how this anthology is like nothing you’ve ever read before etc. And there are also introductions before each individual story, mostly saying how great each one is and how original the author is. I read it all out of stubbornness and spite.

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