Choosing electives at University can be quite tricky, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take mine in English literature (it was actually my second choice for my major). Throughout the years, I’ve taken classes called ‘The Novel’, ‘Drama’, ‘Comedy’, ‘British Literature from 1660 to 1900’, ‘Critical Reading’ and ‘The Creative Process’. And let me tell you, with these, I’ve probably read The Importance of Being Earnest a thousand times, and it remains one of my favourites plays (along with Ibsen’s A Doll’s House). Although I’ve read many plays and poems, novels will always be the ones I enjoy reading the most. However, I’m still quite behind when it comes to the lists of ‘English classics that one must read’. I’ve recently started reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I found too slow, but then started reading Emma and completely fell in love with the characters (especially Mr. Knightley, how adorable is he?).
Next on my reading list is of course Pride & Prejudice, and I’d also love to read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women as it is one of the most comforting movies, and Frankenstein because Mary Shelley just had the most wonderful life (which I also know from the recent movie with Elle Fanning). But for now, I still have many novels assigned for my final English Lit class including Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It feels like the list of classics is never ending. It’s great in a way, but I have a lot to read but also not great because I’m missing out on so many iconic books. I’m also happy a lot of these classics are written by women, despite the issues they had with getting their stories out (see Mary Shelley). They paved the way for women writers today and it is incredible!
What is your journey with English classics? Do you enjoy reading them in your spare time?