Once you start reading, there’s no turning back. Books open up a whole new world of imagination, and make us fall in love with a world far from reality. Classics, however, make us really appreciate literature, transporting us to a historic time altogether. Here is a compiled list of 8 classic novels written by great authors spanning across eighteenth to twentieth centuries:
1. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice, a witty comedy, is the story of Elizabeth Bennet, and how she deals with the ideas of morality, upbringing, marriage and education in a nineteenth century British Regency setting. Published in 1813, this is one of the most popular novels of English literature, and has also been subject to several dramatic adaptations.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
A classic in modern literature, Harper Lee’s novel incorporates humor and sorrow, and deals with serious societal issues of racism and rape. To Kill A Mockingbird features Atticus Finch, a lawyer who defends an innocent black man accused of raping a white girl, and his children’s experiences of discrimination. It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 and also won the Pulitzer Prize.
3. Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
One of the greatest books ever written, Anna Karenina is a fictional tale of an unhappily married aristocrat and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. Highlighting the moralities and social norms prevalent in Russia, the story unfolds with a tragic theme, and brings to light the question of living a truly fulfilled life.
4. Jane Eyre- Charlotte Brontë
A gripping novel much ahead of its time, Jane Eyre centers around the life and feelings of the eponymous protagonist and her encounters with love, religion, morals and spiritual sensibility. Jane Eyre is considered to have revolutionized the art of fiction over the then popular poetry, and explores themes such as sexuality, feminism, and classicism.
5. 1984- George Orwell
Set in the grave time of war and civil conflict in Great Britain, 1984 is a powerful novel revolving around Winston Smith, a war survivor, and the dictatorial society he lives in. Among the greatest novels of its time, this book also popularized some of the common terms used today, such as 2+2=5, telescreen, memory hole and Big Brother.
6. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is an exemplary book which follows the story of the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby in Long Island. Voted 20th century’s best American novel, it explores themes of idealism, resistance to change, and social upheaval, and has resulted in a number of adaptations, including the 2013 movie casting Leonardo DiCaprio.
7. Hamlet- Shakespeare
Hamlet is a tragic play written by Shakespeare (his longest one) and builds around Prince Hamlet’s revenge against his uncle Claudius, which is called upon by the ghost of King Hamlet. Among the most influential plays of all times and perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, Hamlet dramatizes certain ethical issues of murder, desire, and revenge.
8. Les Misérables- Victor Hugo
A French historical novel set in the Parisian backdrop, it follows the lives and interactions of several characters, particularly Jean Valjean, a peasant imprisoned for stealing bread, and his tryst with redemption. Les Misérables portrays criticism of the French political and judicial system and is considered one of 19th century’s greatest novels.