For a long time I struggled to read classics. I don’t know why, perhaps the language or me or a combination of the two.
As I have got older and probably linked into my very healthy genealogical and history obsession I find classics of real interest and enjoyment. One of my favourites has to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which really gives the historical bit of me an insight for what life was like for families and women in the 18th Century. How important it was to marry into a good respected family and the consequences of marrying and not marrying. Fascinating!
A later classic is A Room with a View by E M Forster, set in my home county of Surrey in parts and Italy. I remember the film produced in 1987 and the portrayal of the central character, Miss Honeychurch on her grand tour of Italy care of a spinster cousin, played in the film by Dame Maggie Smith, before returning home, to marry a pompous man, whilst loving a potentially unsuitable one. In the end Miss Honeychurch follows her dreams and it is all rather lovely. The other cast in the film were Dame Judi Dench and Helene Bonham Carter.
I recall at school, for my senior exams we had to read Animal Farm by George Orwell. I recall reading it and wondering what on earth!, but when I came to history and looked at Russian history and then made the link between the facts and the book, courtesy of our English Lit teacher I read the book again and it all fell into place. I have re-read the book since those days around 30 years ago and think perhaps I might have a another read. I still have that aged copy purchased when I was 15 so I could prepare for my exams.
Classics are timeless literature, they tell the same story whether you read when you are young, old or middle aged, the difference is, like with all reading what you get out of the book each time it is read. The superficial reading or perhaps the hidden meanings.
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