I study English literature at university and have always been proud of Britain’s literary heritage. Some British authors that you may have heard of are Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. These writers are famous all over the world because their books have been translated into many different languages. In the UK, their novels are celebrated as some of the best that have ever been written. We say that these novels are ‘classic’ because they are still read and enjoyed years after their publication. However, some people don’t like reading these novels because they can be quite challenging. Sometimes when I’m reading a classic novel, my sister will frown and say ‘Are you reading that for fun?’
I read classic novels because they are part of my university syllabus but also because I enjoy them. 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 novels usually have memorable stories and interesting characters. One of my favourite books is Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations. It is about a boy called Pip who suddenly receives a lot of money from a mysterious patron. As he grows up, his character changes: he becomes quite selfish and mean. Another important character in the book is an old woman called Miss Havisham. When she was young, her fiancé ran away on their wedding day. She lives in a dark house and still wears her wedding dress. She is a fascinating character, both sad and scary.
I think that classic novels can be very satisfying but sometimes I feel like reading something lighter. I love the Harry Potter series and sometimes read ‘chick lit’: books that are like romantic comedies. In my opinion, it’s important to read lots of different kinds of literature and magazines, if possible in another language. So far, I have only read fashion magazines in Italian but soon I want to start reading classic novels by Italian authors. Wish me luck!
Do you like reading classic novels? Who are the most famous authors in your country?