For someone like me (Micky here), English classics are integral to why I like reading. I studied Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for two years in high school and rather than putting me off, Jane Eyre became my favourite book and remains so to this day. The analysis of the characters, narrative, context and storyline only made me fonder of the book as a whole. That truly started off my love of books but it also got me inquisitive about English classics. Also, I am English, so reading about my country and the culture in a different era is usually enjoyable and sometimes discomforting.
I’m definitely a romance fan and so my leanings in this era of writing do tend towards those with a love story as part of it. I have often struggled with Dickens and Thackerey for example but I adore the Brontes, Austen, Gaskell, Eliot and Hardy. Here are my top ten English classic favourites.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
- Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
I’m also a fan of some international classics and here are my top five.
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
- Little Women by Louisa May Allcott
- Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
I find that now if I am going to read a classic, I have to readjust my expectations of how the read will pan out. With contemporary fiction, things often happen fast and with classical fiction you have to invest more time to the pacing. If anyone ever asks me where to start with English classics, I always recommend Persuasion by Jane Austen, its a shorter read and easy to get into with one of the best and original second chance romances ever created.
Hollis, for once, has little to say! Personally my all time favourite is PERSUASION by Jane Austen. I love the book, I love the adaptation (the Sally Hawkins version!), and I will forever recommend it. The only other classic that has come close, for me, is PRIDE & PREJUDICE. I want to say that NORTH & SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell makes this non-existent list, as I’m a huge huge fan of the adaptation, but the book put me to sleep after twenty pages. Yikes. I’ll just bow out now while I’m ahead and before admitting to how few classics I’ve actually read.. oh, too late.
Are you a classics fan? Do you have a favourite?