Among readers these days, there are a lot of people who tend to avoid classic literature and prefer resorting to more recent writings. In the long run, this leads to a decrease in the fascination for past historical events and the old, complex language. It also prevents readers from seeing various points of view which differ greatly from the ones of the contemporaries.
Why don’t we read the classics anymore?
The reasons why classic literature isn’t on the reading lists of millennials are of various natures.
Firstly, the school system may have had an important influence on the way people perceive the classics. Each of us has probably met with writers such as Shakespeare or Dickens during literary studies in middle school, high school and even university. However, we weren’t encouraged to experience it in our own way. Instead, we were taught an exact technical way of perceiving it.
Moreover, teachers rarely asked us about our personal opinions about the action and the characters. They preferred to only tell us the characteristics considered important by them. Therefore, students got used to approaching these writings in such a technical way that it didn’t involve curiosity or creativity anymore.
Another possible reason why youngsters do not choose classical writings is the time distance. We live in an age where technology is involved primarily in our lives. It implicitly influences the way we perceive people and our relationships with them. Therefore, it might be difficult for some people to get a grasp on life and people back then since they were so different.
Why should we read the classics?
There are many positive aspects of reading classic literature. It can broaden your horizons and allow you access to new perspectives.
For instance, you could consider them informative and learn about the lifestyle and habits of people at the time. Furthermore, they might prove to be more relatable than expected. You might find yourself understanding the feelings the characters are going through and even reacting to them emotionally.
Booktuber Alexa Donne talks about this issue in detail here.
What classics should we read?
Your first experiences with classical literature should focus more on the quality, not on the quantity. In other words, don’t aim for the longest, most complex novels, whose language you will probably struggle with. Instead, try finding a story which satisfies your preferences and feeds your curiosity. That way, you will most certainly finish it.
Many middle-length, captivating books are worth taking a look at. Here are some suggestions that might prove helpful:
1)Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
This love story certainly awakens deep emotions. The characters are brilliantly written and so different from one another. Therefore, there is no doubt that anyone can relate to some of them to a certain extent. Moreover, the female protagonist’s journey proves to all of us how love can be found in the most unexpected places.
2)Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
If you are a fan of the horror genre, Wilde’s creepy story about a man driven insane by his obsessions will be your cup of tea. Set in the gloomy London, the novel deals with thought-provoking issues such as vanity, sinfulness, beauty and temptation. Even after all this time, this classic never ceases to captivate its readers.
3)William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
This play is a great way of introducing readers into the fascinating Shakespearian world of drama. It presents a fairy-tale-like plot, which revolves around themes such as love and magic. The action takes place somewhere in between the human world and the magical world, full of humour, dramatism and plot-twists.
4)Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Despite the appearances, Wuthering Heights is more of a horror novel, than a romantic one. What is most interesting, however, is the fact that the startling factor is not of paranormal nature. Instead, it is a feature present in human nature – the need for vengeance. As we follow the tragic lives of the characters, we find out that revenge, like everything in life, has its price.
If you enjoy dark, spooky tales, click here to check out our article on Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.
Hopefully, these recommendations will be food for thought and many more youngsters will discover the beauty of classic literature.