Top Classic Literature Novels

Top Classic Literature Novels

Classic literature is beautiful. The writing behind these stories is crafted in a way that makes the reader feel every emotion possible. It makes us feel fury and devastation and joy all at once. Classic novels paint a canvas of what life was like hundreds of years ago. We can explore how much humanity and society has changed over time. We can see worldviews that are much different than the opinions people have in our modern time period, and we can see the mindsets behind these views. We can read the language and see how differently people spoke compared to the present day. As much as classic literature is written in a world so much different than ours, we can also take so many life lessons from classic authors. Classic literature is dramatic, if you think of Shakespeare for example, but what certain characters are going through is sometimes what we are also going through. This is what makes classic literature beautiful. It feels unique, yet so significant to our lives.

Before I cover some of the best written and most popular classic novels, we first have to know what classifies a novel as “classic”. First, the novel has to make connections between its characters and the reader. This is what I enjoy most about reading classic literature. Classic authors use universal experiences that all humans go through so that their novels remain timeless. Classic novels explore themes of heartbreak, death, betrayal, love, faith, and life so that no matter who is reading, they will find something to relate too. Secondly, the novel must remain significant in order for it to be considered classic. This is why many of the themes covered in classic novels are so broad, because they continue to relate to future generations. Thirdly, reading classic literature should be an educational experience. Classic novels can explore problems with humanity. They shift your perspective and open your eyes to different ways of living. They create dialogue because classic literature leaves so much room open for individual interpretation. That is the beauty of classic literature; it can challenge us with new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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This book was published during the year 1878 and is arguably considered one of the greatest novels of all time. It takes place in Russia and follows the story of Anna, who leaves behind her husband and turns to a man named Count Vronsky. The Count is a dashing man who fulfills Anna’s needs for passion. However, there are many devastating consequences to Anna’s actions. The two are in search of happiness, but instead they find themselves in many times of tragedy.

1984 by George Orwell

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1984 was published in 1949. It is a dystopian and science fiction novel. This novel takes place in London, which is a land of utter chaos controlled by a mysterious leader named Big Brother. Everything you do in this world is controlled by the government. Individuality is a crime. Any signs of defiance result in harmful punishments. Everything the government tells you is what you believe. There is no questioning and no wondering. There are three slogans for this world. Citizens are told that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. In this chaotic and depressing world, there is a character named Winston Smith who works for the Ministry of Truth. His job is to rewrite historical documents. Suddenly, when William meets two people, his entire life is changed completely. This book has brilliant writing and discovers themes of totalitarianism, love, propaganda, betrayal, and liberty.

 Fun fact, the CBS reality television show ‘Big Brother’ was inspired after this novel! If you haven’t watched the show before, it follows a group of strangers being sent into a house together, unable to receive any contact from the outside world. The players compete in competitions for power in the house, create alliances, betray one another, and form relationships, all for money!

Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Animal Farm was published in 1945. It is a highly popular book amongst book clubs because the true meaning behind this novel inspires discussions and debates. The story follows farm animals who take a stand against the farm owner. The animals do this in hopes to form a society that is equal and where the animals can be free. Animal Farm examines themes of totalitarianism, corruption, power, and revolution. It is a symbol of Russia and the Soviet Union during the time when they were under Communist Party Rule. There is so much historical significance in Animal Farm. Animals in this novel represent real people. For example, the character Old Major is based off of Karl Marx. Old Major’s ideals come straight from Marx’s communist manifesto. For anyone who has an interest in politics and history, this novel is perfect for you!

Price and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen is one of the most popular classic literature novelists. Her novel Pride and Prejudice is set in 18th century England. It is a romance novel about the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, who lives a simple life in the countryside, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, an extremely wealthy aristocrat. This novel was adapted into a film in 2005, and starred Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. The tone behind Jane Austen’s writing was perfectly displayed in the film, which made it a very enjoyable watch.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

This classic novel, published in 1987, focuses on the history behind enslaved African Americans after the American Civil War. It is a historical fiction novel with magical realism. The protagonist is Sethe, who was born into slavery. She once was enslaved on a farm named Sweet Home, where incredibly awful and devastating events happened to her. In her home in Cincinnati, her home is haunted by her deceased baby. The baby does not have a name. The only thing that marks the child’s tombstone is the words “Beloved”. Sethe works to escape her traumatic past, but when a teenage girl who calls herself Beloved shows up in Sethe’s life, her entire world is shaken. Toni Morrison is a brilliant writer who has been featured on the Oprah show multiple times. Beloved has won the Pulitzer Prize.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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Jane Eyre was published in 1847. Jane is an orphan who becomes employed at Thornfield Hall to care for a girl named Adele. She works for Edward Rochester, a proud and brooding man. Jane finds herself fascinated with Edward, and she falls in love with him. However, what Jane doesn’t know is that there is a mysterious secret Edward is keeping from her. How will this secret impact Jane’s life and her stay a Thornfield Hall? This novel is an extremely highly rated romance story.

These classic novels have still remained relevant in the world of literature many years after their publication date. This is because the writing of each of these books is enlightening, beautiful, and heartfelt. Reading classic literature may seem like a daunting task, but it is definitely worth your while!

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