View From The Glen

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Classics

Ever since I first read Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist, as a matter of fact), I've been in love with the classics. Like Canadian fiction, I went though a phase where these were all I read, and as a result, went off them for a number of years. Oh, I still pick up Dickens and Austen regularly, but there are so many other great classics out there. Our society today favours fast-paced action and characters who we get to know immediately, so sometimes the cadence and pace of these older writers is difficult to get past, and their descriptions seem to go on for pages and pages (largely because they do in fact go on for pages and pages), but they are well worth the attempt. Here are some of my favourites:

Dickens - I love A Tale of Two Cities. It's by far by favourite Dickens, but not the one I most recommend. For that I go to Oliver Twist or David Copperfield, both of which are very readable and which really capture Dickens' social conscience.

Austen - Sadly, these books have enjoyed a revitaliaztion which I think has stopped people from taking them seriously. Jane Austen is perhaps the greatest writer in terms of style I have ever read. Reading her books (Sense and Sensibility is my favourite) is like listening to Julie Andrews talk - the perfect dicton and tone leaps out at every turn.

George Eliot - Adam Bede
Thomas Hardy - The Return of the Native
Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre (classic Gothic masterpiece)
Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina
Boris Pasternek - Doctor Zhivaco
DH Lawrence - Lady Chatterley's Lover
EM Forster - Howards End and A Room With a View
Mathew Lewis - The Monk
Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White

1 comment:

Leanne Haines said...

I haven't read many classics since our days at university together, although I have read all of Jane Austen since then, and several of Dickens. I picked up Jane Eyre a few years ago, and I've reread Wuthering Heights a few times. The ones that jump out at me from this post, though, are the few that I am so embarrassed to have called myself and English major and never read: Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Howard's End and A Room with a View — pathetic! Another challenge you've set before me!