Classics: Love them or hate them?

classics

Those of you who follow me here on Bookish Temptations since when I first started posting, already know that I have a soft spot for classic novels. In fact, some of the shelves on my library are dedicated to them.

Not all classics are the same, though, that’s for sure. It’s one thing when you read Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters, and quite another when you read, for example,  Joseph Conrad or James Joyce (ugh!! Definitely not one of my favorites). Some of the classic novels I’ve read were very, very hard to get into, some were easier, but all in all I’ve always believed that classics in general can give us a lot in terms of insight, and they provide a lot of food for thought to ponder upon.

I studied Foreign Languages and Literature at University, and one of my English Literature Professors used to say that it’s very  difficult to write new literature without knowing those who came before us. All right, probably he was exaggerating a bit, but I get his point. Reading a classic novel enriches you in many ways. You can like a classic, and dislike (and sometimes even a despise) another, but in both cases, you always bring something with you out of them; they always leave a mark in someway.

I think there’s no need to tell you that I love (and I mean LOVE) Jane Austen’s novels and the ones written by the Bronte sisters. I could spend countless hours talking about them, but let’s take, for example, one of the most beloved male characters of all time: Mr. Darcy. Well, how not to love him? Mr. Darcy is one of the first literary heroes we all fell in love with, and several of the characters we find in today’s novels share some similarities with him. Probably, if Mr. Darcy didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have some of those book boyfriends we all adore. Maybe that would be the case, maybe not. But he definitely is a hero whom other characters were modeled on. Same goes with Heathcliff, for example. What I’m trying to say is that classic novels have given a lot to readers and authors and our literature world probably wouldn’t be the same if some of those novels didn’t exist.

But as I said at the beginning, not all classic novels are the same, and some of them do really put our patience to hard test, and all we’d like to do is close the book and dive into more enjoyable reads..

Now I’d love to hear from you. What is your relationship with classics and is there a classic you particularly love or hate?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

Elena

About Elena

Literature is my passion. I love reading so much that I spend countless hours in bookstores and libraries. I have a soft spot for poetry and art. I like traveling and discovering new places. I can't do without a book.

19 thoughts on “Classics: Love them or hate them?

  1. Emma says:

    Great post! Wuthering Heights is my all time favorite read! Certain scenes and lines go straight to my heart like no other.
    And I agree – I think many of the male characters are the prototype for a lot of modern book boyfriends today. For me, Rhett Butler is the original alpha male, Mr. Darcy the misunderstood romantic, and Heathcliff the ultimate “bad boy.”

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  2. I have never read any classics . I didn’t get into reading until about 3 years ago . I didn’t grow up with books . So I never knew how wonderful they really are !! I do wish I was introduced to books early in life . But I had a hard time in school with reading. I might pick one up someday and see what I am missing !! Never to late to be educated on the classics !!!!

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  3. Jess says:

    It depends on the classic. Most of the ones I’ve read are excellent & are classics for a reason. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever (I’ve read it five times so far) & my cat’s name is Frankenstein. But I also fantasize about inventing a time machine so that I can beat James Joyce over the head repeatedly with a hardbound copy of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man while screaming unintelligibly about stream of consciousness.

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    • Elena says:

      I so agree with you, Jess! I’ll definitely help you beating James Joyce over the head with the copy of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man! This is one of those books that were so, so hard for me to get into. Lol

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  4. debradml says:

    Dearest Elena – what a brilliant subject matter! What I love about Classics is how they take you back in time to a lifestyle and views that are different from the moment in time that it is being read….it’s a captured precious reference so to speak and to me it makes you stop and wonder about the past and how life must have been!

    Jane Austen works I love dearly too! Some others that I have read and enjoyed are “The pursuit of love” by Nancy Mitford, “The Passion” by Jeanette Winterson, “Anna Karerina” by Leo Tolstoy, “Mrs Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence, “Madam Bovary” by Gustav Flaubert. And totally get what you mean about some that are hard to read!

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  5. Laurie Davis says:

    some of my favorites are the classics as well. jane eyre is one i have read numerous times and seen every film adaptation. i also love rebecca by daphne dumaurier. pride and prejudice, far from the madding crowd, woman in white, tess of the d’ubervilles, to kill a mockingbird – i could go on and on!

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  6. Judith Stein says:

    Thank you for sharing this thoughts! I love classics and as a teacher I try to challenge my pupils with some of these wonderful books/thoughts. Studied German an Swedish, but been educated in literature, so I came in contact with lot of the classics. I love Jane Austin, the Bronte Sisters, especially Jane. Tolstoy, Dumas, Flaubert, Süskind, Virginia Woolf, Günter Grass, Elfriede Jelinek, Shelby, Brain Stokes, Dickens, Cervantes, Thomas Hardy, tThe Roland songs a.s.o., the list is endless. Loved the film “the Jane Austin Book-club”, just because to hear and see people reading and talking about her books. That I am in loved in Gabriel’s Inferno, Gabriel’s Rapture and hopefully Gabriel’s Redemption is actually the lLiterature History which I treasure is represented in this books. It takes me back to the classics in a very special way.
    I totally agree with you, Elena that this classics are the ground, in the same way as Mythology. I do love this new novels because they make me rediscover the classics in an pleasurable way.

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  7. I love and hate willa cather. Then I put 2&2 together and realized she was gay. I was like, ok I get it now. And we all love the bronte sisters. But when I read the count of monte cristo, I could not stop talking about it. For me its the best ever.

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  8. JoJo Quinn says:

    I love Jane Austen, she is the ultimate reason I took English Literature A levels and beyond. She is also the reason I started writing fanfiction and now write for a living. Mr Darcy will always be my fav hero but I do cheat on him regularly with other fantasy boyfriends.

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    • Margie says:

      Do you write P&P fanfiction? I love P&P fanfiction!!!

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      • JoJo Quinn says:

        I used to write pp fan fiction but don’t have time anymore as publishing my mainstream books now. Stopped last year. But there are some great stories out there on ff.net and others forums. My first published book was a fanfiction story rewritten slightly.

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  9. Margie says:

    Elena!
    That’s it! It is official! We were separated at birth!!!
    And YES! Mr. Darcy IS the tall, dark, handsome, mercurial, brooding hero we still see today, he is the ORIGINAL!!! Jane Austen is the best romance writer; I think most authors are greatly influenced by her. (I am a Janeite / Austenite!)

    Not only do I love the classics, I love a good classic rewrite and I love adaptations! Literature is filled with rewrites and adaptations of classic novels, fairytales and mythology. I find myself trying to find a classic in everything I read!

    Some of my favorite modern YA adaptations of classics are: (just to name a few if you like YA)
    Jane by April Linder (Jane Eyre)
    Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan)
    Prom & Prejudice by: Elizabeth Eulberg & Twilight (Pride & Prejudice)
    Sass & Serendipity by: Jennifer Zeigler (Sense & Sensibility)
    House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle (prequel to Jane Eyre)
    Jake Reinvented by Gordon Korman (his homage to The Great Gatsby)
    Paper Towns by John Green (His homage to The Catcher in the Rye)
    Abandon by Meg Cabot (retelling of Persephone)

    I have a list forever long! But in addition to YA adaptations, there are some great ones for adults as well! Some with literary merit, such as Wide Sargasso Sea by: Jean Rhys, that is a prequel to Jane Eyre and is a story of Bertha Mason (the mad woman in the attic) to erotic ones such as Wuthering Nights, An Erotic retelling of Wuthering Heights and the parodies, such as Fifty Shades of Mr. Darcy. There is a classic adaption for everyone! And again I can go on forever but I won’t!! Thanks for this my Book Soul Sister!!!

    MR. FITZWILLIAM DARCY STILL ROCKS EVEN AFTER 200 YEARS!

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    • Elena says:

      Hello my dear Book Soul Sister! I love this 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with everything you said! And I’m adding all the books you mentioned to my TBR list. I love the P&P adaptations! ❤

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    • debradml says:

      Oh Margie how cool TY for sharing all these wonderful Books I had no idea of….s’more please!!!! You need to do reviews! xoxox

      Like

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