Top 10 Classic Reads

Top 10 Classic Reads

The literary front is covered with volumes of prolific writers who have captured the spirit of their times and their cities with such magnificence that their writing leaves an deep impression on their readers. If one begins to talk about the must-reads of all the times, the list will go much beyond the mark of 100. So, we have put together a string of Classic reads that have enjoyed tremendous popularity among their readers for many a decades.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A tale set around the unlikely and unordinary romance between the wealthy Mr. Darcy and the strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet, this Victorian-times novel is Austen’s frank and powerful depiction of the pressures of marriage, the issues of class difference and the many ties that bind one to circumstances created by others. The pride of Mr. Darcy which keeps him from openly engaging with the not-so-noble family of Elizabeth and the prejudice of Elizabeth against him for holding such aristocratic airs both reconcile in face of events that give way to mutual understanding and a union based solely on respect.

2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

While Dicken’s “A Tale of Two Cities” enjoys supreme critical acclaim, this more autobiographical novel narrates the social hardships and societal hypocrisy so typically Dickens -style through the more individual journey of David Copperfield. Called a novel of self-cultivation and the finest work of Dickens by Tolstoy, the novel takes through the many experiences of daily, lower-class existence in Britain of early twentieth century, by conveyed through the inflictions of factory-work, misuse of honour and financial hardship.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte’s Bronte’s most widely read romantic novel is fraught with darker interplay of Byronic themes of revenge, mistreatment and tainted yet all-conquering love. Simply read, however, it is the tale of the Jane Eyre who falls in love with the mysterious man who hires her to be a governess to his daughter from a “mad” wife who is kept shut somewhere in the disturbing attic of the house. Strewn with gypsy imagery and ambivalent sensibilities, Jane Eyre has been a favourite with the youth and the critics alike ever since its first publication.

4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy’ masterpiece of fiction can be categorized as ‘historical fiction’. It is a vivid and graphic detail of the events leading up to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and the impact of this era on the Tsarist society as observed by the Russian aristocrats. War and Peace stands second only to Ann Karenina (also by Tolstoy) in its unique play of polarized opinions on a cross-national front in times of great upheaval.

5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Set in Atlanta, at the time of American civil War and Reconstruction, it follows the events surrounding the life of fictions most celebrated characters, Scarlett O’ Hara. Applauded for its symbolism and criticism of archetypes, ‘Gone with the Wind’ also has political undertones with the fall of Atlanta, issues like the Ku Klux Klan and the racial sentiments the time period is notable for. This like, many other classics, has been adapted for both stage and screen, with widespread acclaim for its central character Scarlett who is looked upon as heroic, struggling to mould life to her wishes.

6. Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

Fantasy fiction does not know a greater writer than Tolkien and a greater trilogy than Lord of the Rings. An ingenious creation of parallel worlds and realms with intense detail of languages and atmospheres, Tolkien’s masterpiece has acquired the honour of being a timeless epic. A tale set in the historical context of Middle Earth, the struggle of Frodo, the well-to-do hobbit who inherits the ring and seeks to keep it away from the Sauron, the Dark Lord, in war of universal proportions.

7. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

This much controversial novel takes us through the life of Emma Bovary who engages in relationships and activities parallel to social taboos in an attempt to escape the banalities and emptiness of the provincial life in Northern France. A seminal work of realism, the story revolves around Emma’s pursuit of the unacceptable and often the selfish in hope to find what she calls ‘the finer things in life.’

8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A troubling, dark and brooding story of love lost and avenged, Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is at its very essence, a tale of two who were, for the sake of themselves and of others, always meant to be together and yet torn apart. A commentary on the class brutalities of life, a picture of existence in cold, dark autumn days, Wuthering Heights has long charmed readers for its plot and characters, both so intense and so Byronic at times that they call upon the universe as their elemental parallel.

9. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde’s obscure wit finds expression in this highly complex, controversial satire of a society that falls prey to its won faults. The young Dorian Gray is new in the town of London and soon finds friends and admirers for his looks and his engaging personality. The popularity, however, makes him conscious of how much he ants to defy the ageing defeat of time and in a deal with the devil he transfers his soul to a portrait that suffers for his sins while he remains unblemished through acts of depravity. Oscar Wilde taunts a society for suffering the malice of its own grave faults. The sacrifice of soul for sins finds a final outlet in the excruciating end of the central character that is destroyed along with the portrait to save the tomorrow of a present he has deprived of innocence.

10. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Nobel Prize winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia sets alight the history of a family and the fictional town that they reside in, Maconda. Magical realism and extensive use of irony is drawn upon to tell a story that shifts focus on characters and speaks of existence as a solitary experience, beneath the struggles and hardships of all that life offers.

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