3 Reasons I Read Classic Novels

A few people who’ve read Dissonance this year claimed to enjoy my writing style. Some have asked how I manage eloquent prose. When posed with that question, my first instinct is to argue (“It’s not that great!”) My second is to urge people to read classical literature, because it makes noticeable changes in your style.

If my writing is eloquent, I can’t think of another reason: I simply visited the masters and learned from them.

All my literary heroes are dead. If you were to ask me about a favorite modern-day author, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. I fangirl over writers who got published hundreds of years ago; I find so much meaning in old literature.

Earlier this month, a friend asked that I guest blog for them about what classical literature is to me. That post is not out yet, but check Brett’s blog in the next couple of weeks! The request made me stop and reflect on why I love old books and admire authors from long ago.

My guest post has seven points, so keep an eye out for the link! However, I wanted to share three things right here that I love about classical literature:

1. The writing. The English language is always evolving. New words are invented and others forgotten. If you want to know how people spoke centuries ago, find an old book where the language is frozen in time. It gives soul to the book we’re reading; it opens a door for us to step back.

If you can muster the patience to look up big words, it’s rewarding to immerse yourself in literature from the past. Your vocabulary expands, making your writing eloquent; you see the world differently.

It’s worth giving these gems a chance; they’ve likely been neglected by society’s short attention span. You may be one of the only people to read a particular book, making it your treasure to find!

2. The timelessness. Classical literature retains the tension, sadness, confusion–whatever the mood at the time it was written. You’ll experience politics as it was in the 1800s. You’ll travel with people on horses or in carriages; you’ll see what it was like to work in a factory, or give up your life for a revolution.

Classics maintain different lifestyles and ideologies which may be outdated now, but once were followed faithfully. Life was different, and an old novel captures our world as it was long ago.

3. Second chances. This is the most important point to me: Each time you read a book by a dead author, you give them another chance to be heard.

Log onto Gutenberg or ManyBooks.net and dig into the archives. Find a name you’ve never heard, not even in your English class; pick a topic you know little about. Go random! Look up things such as etiquette or French cuisine and let a master from back then tell you how it was done.

Spend some time with an author who dedicated years of their life to writing a masterpiece. Every time you read a book by someone who’s dead, you give them a second chance at life–and if you take their words by heart, they’ll never really die.

Do you read classical literature? If the answer is no, then why? Maybe you haven’t found the right book yet–check out the links above and maybe you’ll find an adventure of your own!

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3 thoughts on “3 Reasons I Read Classic Novels”

  1. I read a lot of YA books. I personally enjoy them—they’re quick, it’s what I write, and they just make me happy. At the same time, I absolutely adore classics. Some of my all-time favourite books are Jane Eyre and Rebecca and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall…I could go on forever. It really depresses me that other people in my age group, like the 15-25 (maybe?) range seem to hate classics, or just won’t even go near them. I love writing posts about classics, but they hardly ever get read or commented on. I’m not sure how much sense this comment makes, I just saw this post and felt like venting! So sorry, Mariella!

  2. “Claimed” to enjoy your writing style. Please, you’re a good writer, and you have to trust that we enjoyed it! Admittedly, I haven’t read much classical literature, but I am glad you have found such satisfaction in it, and I hope that I’ll enjoy that which I read in the future, too! :)

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