Just think of classic novels in your mind. The names that might already be coming to your mind should be Jane Austen, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, Fitzgerald and a few more. Well, you can also think of reading Indian English classic novels by Raja Rao, Anand and Narayan. Yes, there are absorbing as well! Nevertheless, keeping that for a different discussion, we are bringing to you 7 reasons you must read classic novels more often! If you are one of those readers who is yet to decide whether to read classic novels or not, this article will certainly help you make a decision (surely in the positive direction). We will discuss the major advantages of reading these timeless works of fiction.
- History and Culture on pages: It is not something you need to discover. Classic novels provide insight into different historical periods and cultures, it’s a fact well-known. And so, reading classic novels can often help you understand the social, cultural, and political contexts in which they were written. In addition, many authors have used their art of function very well to subtly comment on the prevalent social and traditional issues of their times. For students of history and enthusiasts of social issues, this can be especially useful for gaining a deeper understanding of historical events and how they have shaped the world we live in today. Are you up for an adventure back in time?
- Enhance your critical thinking: Many factors prove that linguistically, critically, literary, and in terms of fictional craft, classic novels are way better than contemporary fiction (especially popular or commercial fiction). And so, classic novels can improve your critical thinking skills. Classic works of fiction deal with complex themes and ideas that often require careful analysis to fully understand. Thomas Hardy and D H Lawrence raised issues about sexual and individual freedoms in their works; and to grasp the same, one has to critically engage with the works written by these two giants of English literature. So, reading and interpreting these works can help you develop your critical thinking skills and improve your ability to analyze and interpret texts of any kind, or situations in your practical life. Learning, ha?
- Word Bee, does that exist?: Dixtinaries of languages in the world must have been changing over time to accommodate new words and (perhaps) release the older and obsolete ones. Reading classic fiction can often lead you to your bookshelves where voluminous dictionaries are lying with dust on their covers. You may need to use those or your digital dictionaries to learn new words that you will encounter while reading the novels by Henry Fielding, Daniel Defoe, Dickens or even Lawrence. Yes, classic novels can expand your vocabulary! Not only your vocabulary but you will also learn about the art of writing things in style. Saying and ways of speaking sophisticatedly come as add-ons!
- Eliot’s Individual Talent meets Literary Tradition: Now, this is something that students of literature will understand the best. The literary tradition is a thing that those who write for money in their bank accounts can never understand. Without blaming them only for the desire to earn better (that we all have), let me tell you that reading classic novels will make you feel like someone who understands the soul of literature and literary tradition. Traditional themes in literature, types of characters, and use of literary devices and tools are something that can be understood by reading classic novels by authors from different ages in the history of literature. Landmarks in making and how they influenced other writers of the time, trend-setter publications, disruptors of the tradition – many things are on exhibition for those interested in classics! Come on, pick one now!
- Emotional Drama at its best: You may or may not be a fan of the great Indian melodrama that goes on every day in many households with TV – saas-bahut, nibba-nibbi, premi-premika, pati-patni aur wo and so on and so forth… Ekta Kapoors of the TV industry in India do not have any limits even after being reprimanded by the courts of the country. Leave that. If you want to experience the drama of the elite kind, highest order and the one that actually touches you (excuse me if you are touched by 3 times turning heads of every character on the TV screen), you might need to read classic novels. Feel the agony of OAK in Hardy’s work or Robbie from Atonement by Ian McEwan, you may cry for them and feel their agony in real-time as you read. Human emotions come in vivid colours packed with these classic works of fiction. Read Nirala’s Hindi novels for that matter, you will feel it too.
- Want to get out of the Matrix? Classics can be your way out: Though you may brush this statement aside and I will be happy with that, think about it. When you go through the ups and downs of human emotions and experience them first-hand while reading a book, you may be inspired to think about things in your life rather deeply. This thought process, the analysis, and the habit of thinking deeper about simple and complex experiences in your life may make you a composed person who makes well-informed decisions and avoids the rush of blood. And that’s it! Think about the economy, your job, governments, war, politics, love and everything.
- Classic novels can be enjoyable: Last but not the least, classic novels can also be enjoyable (for sure they are). Even if you don’t find the reasons given above inspiring, you may read them for sheer enjoyment! Many perceptions about classic works of fiction being challenging and difficult are floating in the open, however, these works are also tender and enjoyable and delightful at times. Try reading one. Begin with the work you like after reading a few pages and you will find it enjoyable, I bet. Begin today!
Inspiration for you:
10 Indian English classic novels you must read
Indian English poets you must read
And at last
Hope this article will persuade you into reading traditional and classical works of fiction. Yes, you should read whatever you enjoy and that’s not up for discussion. However, with contemporary fiction, including popular fiction, you can also read these novels that have an impact on readers from different centuries. There must be something about these works that they are still alive and attract a wide readership. We can argue that academic syllabuses and critical studies of these works from time to time have played a major role in keeping these works contemporary, yet, there are some special features of classics in the literature that make them ageless. For example, works by Jane Austen will always be about love, affection, ego, relationships and domestic issues (read those in any century from now). And these human traits will also be there forever. So, anyone reading Pride and Prejudice any day will find the work relatable. Why are you still behind in the line? Get your copies of classic novels today and start reading these landmarks of English literature now! All the best!
Ashish for Featured Books