Classic Literature : My Top Ten. (Part-1)

Classic literature are the book that has never finished saying what it has to say. Every time you read, you discovered something new in it. We say that these novels are ‘classic’ because they are still read and enjoyed years after their publication. It gives us the beautiful glimpse of the history. They can teach you a lot about how people used to live and what society was like in the past. Novels like Hard Times by Charles Dickens remind us of the poverty in London during the Industrial Revolution while Jane Austen’s fiction shows us what family life was like in the 18th century. People who are interested in history or philosophy can read classic novels to find out how ideas have changed and how the world became what it is today.

Classic literature are popular and memorable and large part of that reason comes down to their stellar fulfillment of all the necessities of a good climax. The climax is the most exciting, upsetting or amazing moment in your story. The moment when the reader’s commitment pays off, that satisfaction they are left with. Everyone of them has this amazing, breathtaking and killer climaxes. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and William Shakespeare’s Othello are some examples. What more can I say about Classic literature, I realise It will never be enough. I can never say more than that has been already said before. So I am just gonna go for it.

Here are My most favourite 10 classic literature and none of them is 2nd or 10th, for me they are all No. 1. 

JANE EYRE
By Charlotte Bronte.

  
  

I am no bird and no net ensnares me I am free human being with an Independent will.

Jane Eyre is a book that I have read again and again; every time it seems a little new. The novel is actually a work of fiction. But it seems as real as an autobiography, if we disregard all the coincidences and clichés so typical of its times. When I read this book I feel like I am reading, and even writing, a chapter out of my own life. It doesn’t matter if the circumstances of Jane’s life seem utterly far-fetched, very improbable, or impossibly remote. I can immerse myself in Jane, and explore myself as she shows the way. Charlotte Bronte wrote fictional accounts of her own childhood, education, and her experiences as a teacher in almost all of her novels. The ill-kept school, the long-suffering friend, the passion for the employer- all these belong in her own life. The character of Jane dominates the entire book. But the other characters are also unforgettable- who can forget the ‘madwoman in the attic’. I hope that the men who read this review don’t get the impression that Jane Eyre is a novel written by a woman, about a woman, for women, and appreciated only by female readers. It is a proto-feminist text that deals with the problems faced by unattached women compelled to earn a living in a hostile world. It is about identity, self-esteem, morality. As such, it has a universal appeal.
It s has the romantic element too. Mr. Rochester is still one of the most beloved characters of literature. From the start, their relationship is full of witty banter and playful flirting (i.e. Edward’s insistance that Jane is a witch and when Jane tells Edward that he isn’t handsome), which is not always an element involved in fictitious romances. They develop a beautiful, deep companionship before anything else, and are what you would call ‘best friends’, which is what gives the two such a home-y feel.
The length is daunting, most editions come in at over 500 pages but it has become my favourite ‘classic’. Yes there is romance, it’s also an epic Gothic tale full of darkness and despair, a story of endurance in spite of those things. I related to Jane a lot, okay I haven’t been dealt the terrible hand she had but she speaks out. If she doesn’t like something, she will tell you. She is honest, feisty and won’t tolerate any of your shenanigans. In 1847, that must have caused quite a stir and I think it still does even now, otherwise we wouldn’t be reading it.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

By Charles Dickens.

 

It was the best of times it was the worst of times.

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens’ 16th novel, epitomizes the author’s popular appeal. It’s a tale of chaos, espionage and adventure set in London and Paris prior to, and during, the French Revolution. This backdrop of social upheaval serves as a catalyst for the drama that unfolds in the lives its main characters; the noble and mysterious Charles Darnay, the ignoble yet unfathomable Sydney Carton, and Lucie Manette, the woman they love.

It sets a riveting story of romantic and familial love against the violent drama of the French Revolution. The personal and the political are deeply connected, and complicated, and additional historical background regarding the French monarchy, feudal system, and French Revolution will help young readers appreciate the novel. It’s also worth noting that though this is one of Dickens’ best-loved works, it is atypical of the author in some ways. A Tale of Two Cities has fewer humorous, colorful characters than others of his most-read books (other than the Crunchers), and the plot is more grand and far-reaching.

Sydney Carton is, and will always remain, one of my most favorite characters. His genius, his selflessness, his agony, and ultimately his noble sacrifice make him stand apart from all other heroes. On the other hand is Madame Defarge, whose name is carved in popular memory as one of the most sinister and malevolent characters in literary history. Many people, who have never read A Tale of Two Cities, have some idea about Madame Defarge and her knitting register. When I first read this novel I was too young to understand the language, but I was profoundly moved. I read it again recently- the magic hasn’t worn off.

‘The Tale of Two Cities’ shows Dickens at his very best. Wonderful characters, a dramatic setting and writing that is so beautiful in its description that I found myself reading the same lines over and over in the hope that I could commit them to memory. This novel possesses possibly the best and most memorable first and last lines of any in the English language.

SECRET GARDEN

By Frances Hodgson Burnett.

  

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

This will remain one of my most cherished books of all time, as I have fond memories of reading it. I always wished to have such a garden that was my  secret place where I would have a world of my own and no one would know about it and that would make it even more exciting .
This delightful children’s classic, first published in 1911, pulled me right in with the cholera outbreak and continued with a bit of mystery, lots of magic and some pretty important learning experiences for both children and adults alike.
I loved all the characters unloved child Mary, troubled suffering but arrogant Colin and especially  the very lovable lad Dickon who wins you over from his very first entrance. And the robin who always wonders what up with these kids.

Author manages to describe the garden and nearby Yorkshire moor over and over again more without once sounding repitative and overdone. In face when I look at the cover of the book It doesn’t   do the garden justice because what I am picturing in my mind is so much more spectacular 

The Secret Garden clearly and lastingly demonstrates that children (no, anyone) can only show love, can only be lovable, if they have experienced love themselves


ANNA KARENINA 

By Leo Tolstoy.

  

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

This novel grabs at the heartstrings of one’s emotional state… It is truly beautiful, complicated at its depth, but those are the qualities that it possesses. Anna is the most inspirational and complex character ever written, but what makes one cherish her is the way in which Tolstoy describes her majestic characteristics.. The plot in itself, with its variety of personalities that are within the narrative, is a work of art..

But what is most intriguing, is how one relates to the lives of those in tragedy as well as those in bliss, and manages to realise that both of those emotions are similar, yet so far apart…

With its evergreen themes of jealousy, pity, fidelity, ambition, success, power, lust and society, Anna Karenina – regarded as more human than War and Peace – seems to me the perfect place to have begun my Tolstoy odyssey. The modernity of the characters is dazzling: how they all, from young Kitty to the author’s alter-ego Levin, strive for meaning; how they so often fail (as the cuckolded husband Karenin does when he confronts Anna’s adultery) to put into words what they want to say; how one society princess is “awfully, awfully bored” and bemoans the “same everlasting crowd doing the same everlasting things” (foreshadowing Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby: “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon … and the day after that, and the next thirty year”

The novel, with its vast panorama of heady, complex and tragic adult emotions – Anna’s aching passion, but also the touching arc of Levin and Kitty’s love, and even Dolly’s chaotic, overburdened domesticity – seemed to encompass everything that lay ahead of me in life. And that room in Florence – lonely, romantic and exhilarating all at the same time – seemed somehow irrevocably tangled up with every word Tolstoy had written.

THE ODYSSEY

By Homer.

  

Ah how shameless – the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone they say come all their miseries yes but they themselves with their own reckless ways compound their pains beyond their proper share.

The Odyssey is, well, the Odyssey(Journey). Beyond being a tremendously exciting read, it is a foundational work in Western literature. 
Monsters, villains, a cunning hero, magic and gods, action and adventure, heartbreak and humour; Homer’s Odyssey is a story to be remembered and loved by all readers. I went to see the movie Readers just because I saw the guy holding the book The Odyssey and reading it to Kate Winslet. Anyways the movie was good too.

 The Odyssey takes itself less seriously than other epics; it is a great deal more fun, but also has a great deal more heart. It is a moral poem; it teaches us about civilisation and human nature, how to live together in respect and harmony, how important are the virtues of love, home and family, and ultimately how happiness is a greater goal than any amount of fame and fortune; lessons that have not lost their relevance today.

“One of the world’s most vital tales… The Odyssey remains central to literature” 

TO BE CONTINUED….

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42 thoughts on “Classic Literature : My Top Ten. (Part-1)

  1. I have been getting e-books and audiobooks from my library. I originally wanted to use the website to finally read some classics that I didn’t read in school, but then I got into the YA books. Once I get through with the YA, I’m going to back to the classics.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A collection of good ones although I have never read The Secret Garden. I love all the Bronte sister’s works. Their own lives had all the ingredients for tragedy, drug and alcohol addiction, youthful death from consumption, struggling against chauvinism etc. and even the proximity to the brooding moors. They were not going to write anything frivolous with that background. Add to this their own sexuality showing through with quite daring displays of passion, which must have caused the odd blush in Victorian drawing rooms. wonderful read, all of them
    Enjoyable post. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just bought A Tale of Two Cities, so I will hopefully read that soon! Jane Eyre and A Secret Garden are incredible of course. Now I want to read Anna Karenina! You’ve inspired me:)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure I won’t be! What a difficult question: Little Women, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice…if I must only choose three! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this list! Jane Eyre is possibly one of my favourite books but I find it’s quite controversial as it divides many people. One book I love is Fahrenheit 451, not strictly a classic but still pretty fab!

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  5. Thank you for visiting Bookshelf and posting a like. Bookshelf is written for lovers of literature and books, just like you. Also appreciate you tagline: to share, to connect, to create, to inspire. I think that is the purpose of literature: to know that we are not alone — that our writing has the power to connect and inspire us. You might enjoy my post: The Power of Literature (enter in search field in Bookshelf) and hear your thoughts. Keep up the great work. Cheers. Alex

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      1. Hi TGWFO (short of knowing your name): thank you for wandering the labyrinthian shelves of Bookshelf and post so many likes. As a writer it is always so rewarding to know that what is intrinsically interesting to you is interesting to someone else (and perhaps even helpful or inspirational — because how many blogs about adorable pets does the world need?). It is also remarkable about the serendipitous nature of the blogosphere that people can discover others who have similar interests and literary tastes. (Impressive when you consider the planet has 7.4 billion on the planet.) Given your literary and cinematic preferences have you ever read Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke or watched Shadowlands based on the play by William Nicholson? Not only are both hauntingly beautiful in their own way, but they convey very timeless, profound truths about human existence that time and experience consistently reaffirms. Cheers. Alex

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      2. Yes; however as you know reading a book or watching as a film, vs. as an adult, with more life experience, you can appreciate the many nuanced levels of complexity of the film. At the heart of the film is a tender love story, and of course, how C.S. Lewis grapples with heartbreaking loss. But there is a wonderful subplot to the film that involves literature and the importance of teaching. The film asks (and answers) two important questions: why do we love? why do we read? I believe the answer to those changes as we go through life. Rilke’s book is one of the most intensely personal, insightful, remarkable books by a brilliant poet who writes beautifully about every important aspect of a life. That he would take the time to share his insights and experiences with a stranger is a testament to the depth of his sensitivity, generosity, and humility. It inspires every reader to discover their inner beauty, the miracle of being you and your expression in the world. Out of the 6,000+ books I own, it is the one that I treasure above all others. Cheers. Alex

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  6. Jane Eyre is one of the books I most often return to. It’s just got such a personable, comforting, familiar feeling to it; it’s like the literary equivalent of comfort food.

    A Tale of Two Cities is hands down my favourite Dickens novel. Again, not one I ever get tired of. Plus, all I know about French History is based on A Tale of Two Cities and Les Mis. So it’s educational as well!

    The Secret Garden! I haven’t read it in a really long time. It was my absolute favourite as a child and I tried to make a secret garden of my own (didn’t work). I really need to reread it.

    As to the last two, I’ve not read Anna Karenina, and I although I read the Odyssey at school, I didn’t get much out of it except that now I recognise the proliferation of references to it in literature. However, your commentary on both of them have me interested.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You must read Anna Karenina it won’t disappoint you. I have read all your posts I love your obsession(in a nice way)over les miserable I did read that but I am going to again (when I get the time soon maybe )as I didn’t get it like you did.

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      1. Your post definitely convinced me that I must! I didn’t make it more than halfway through War and Peace because I wasn’t really relating to any of the characters, but you mention that Anna Karenina is more human, so it sounds like I won’t have that problem.

        Haha, so much for hiding my obsession! I think the reason that I talk about it so much is just it’s so complex, so there’s a lot to talk about. I’m just in awe of Hugo. This time around, I’ve been particularly struck by how interconnected all the characters are. It’s a beast to reread, but every time I’ve done so, I’m glad I did.

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