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 🙂