Classic literature is something that I hold near and dear to my heart. Whenever I peruse the shelves for something to read or buy, I always end up grabbing a Jane Austen novel or a Shakespeare play over a newer contemporary or thriller.
Don’t get me wrong, I do read modern books, but there’s something enchanting about classics that I just can’t resist.
I often feel left out since most enjoy reading more popular books, but then again, I may just not have found my people yet!
In the wise words of Mark Twain, “‘Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.”
I often find myself feeling uncomfortable expressing my love for Plato and Dante to the average human, as well as bringing up John Milton’s Paradise Lost as a book recommendation. Their responses are typically confused looks and some small words of encouragement.
Nevertheless, I will continue to spread my love for dense, thematic literature until my face turns blue, even despite the painful interactions.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about classics is you know it’ll be an enjoyable and enriching read (for the most part).
I mean, it’s well-known for a reason, right?
Of course, not everyone is going to like reading a classic if that’s not the type of writing style you enjoy, but this is just my reading experience.
Also, when I read a classic, I feel like I’ve been teleported back to that time period.
How were women viewed in Ancient Greek? What did people think of England and its government during the Renaissance? How do people view the world? What do people think about the Bible? All of these questions, and countless more, can be answered through reading literature.
Even with their fictitious elements, classics are encapsilated by their author’s language. As an avid studier of language and how it evolves, I love exploring previous cultures and how they utilized their word choice, structure, etc. The author’s language shapes the world that they are living in through their own perspective.
I don’t really know where I was going with that. I just love how writers have the ability to create a world that readers feel like they have truly explored and experienced.
Lastly, I love how much classics teach you about yourself.
Take Dante’s Divine Comedy, for instance. By following Dante along side his own journey of self-actualization, the reader is able to reflect on their own person and assess things about themself.
As a real life scenario, I have a friend that took a Dante class with me, and he explained that following Dante’s journey through depression helped him out of his own depression. Now he’s completing a thesis all about bibliotherapy (therapy through books) and the power of bibliotherapy for mental health.
If that isn’t the most impactful example of classics and how they shape you, then I don’t know what to tell you.
At the end of the day, everyone has their own reading taste, and mine just happens to be classics!
Maybe one day I’ll explore a wider variety of more modern novels, but I think I’m comfortable in my cozy classics for now.
What kind of books do you like and why? I’d love to hear some recommendations!
Stay safe. Stay home. Stay stuck in a book.