The Importance of Reading Classic Literature: Why These Books Stand the Test of Time

Issue 69: 28/6/2024 Strategic Objective:

Reading has always been a fundamental part of human life. It allows us to learn, grow, and expand our knowledge about the world around us. Books have endured the test of time and continue influencing generations of readers.

What is Classic Literature?

Classic literature is a term used to describe books of the highest quality and value. These books have stood the test of time and are known for their enduring themes, timeless characters, and universal messages.

Classic literature is often written by authors considered the greatest writers of all time, such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain. Why Read Classic Literature? Reading classic literature is essential for a variety of reasons. For one, it allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience.

These books are often set in different periods and give us a glimpse into people’s lives from various cultures and backgrounds. By reading classic literature, we gain empathy and compassion for others and learn to appreciate the complexities of the human condition.

Another reason to read classic literature is that it exposes us to timeless themes and universal messages. These books deal with issues such as love, loss, betrayal, and redemption, which are still relevant today (human experience has not changed, just the environment we feel has). Classic literature provides a lens through which we can view our lives and the world around us. It can help us make sense of our experiences and give us perspective on our struggles.

Finally, reading classic literature is essential for personal growth and development. These books challenge our intellect and force us to think deeply about complex issues. They expand our vocabulary, improve our writing skills, and increase our knowledge about history and culture. By reading classic literature, we become more well-rounded individuals better equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern world.

By reading classic literature, we gain a deeper understanding of the world around us and become better equipped to navigate the complexities of modern life. So, consider picking a classic when looking for a good book over the summer holidays. You won’t be disappointed!

17 Benefits of Reading Classical Literature

Moral Lessons. Classic literature teaches moral lessons that span time. The fact that morality has remained largely unchanged over the years reinforces the foundational truths humans must live by.

Beneficial for Brain Health – In a study by Michigan State University, researchers were stunned by the areas of the brain that were stimulated simply by reading the classics.

Increased Attention Span—Blog posts and commercials, such as sitcoms and video games, are short. Most classics are longer and require lengthy focus to stay with the plot, strengthening your ability to focus your attention.

Inexpensive Entertainment – Sure, this applies to all books, but reading the classics is a great form of cheap entertainment, which is great for those of us on a budget.

Character Development—Connecting with the problems of people from another era stretches your brain and enables you to empathise with people of different backgrounds. You can then apply this “stretching” to people in your current circles of influence, making you a better friend and member of society.

Better Understanding of History and Culture – Exposing yourself to other cultures from the past gives you great insight into how things were, and many lessons from the past help us address the present and the future.

Improved Vocabulary – Reading of all kinds improves vocabulary, but reading the classics does so in a new way–partially due to the more sophisticated use of words, but also due to new words being used. Even if they aren’t words in current use, knowledge of their connection with the current language is of value, as is learning about words in the way they were used in the past.

Reduce Cognitive Decline—Reading generally reduces the onset of cognitive decline. The classics should assist this even more, especially if one isn’t used to reading many of them. As the brain forms new pathways, it’s buffered against that deterioration.

Understand Literary References – Have you ever read something without understanding a reference? Once you have read the classics, there will be no need to smile awkwardly as if you know what’s being said because you will!

Become a Better Conversationalist – Exposing yourself to great classic literature will broaden your ability to engage in conversations in a richer way. Think of it–you can start dropping Shakespearean references like a pro!

Sharpens Writing Skills—Reading generally sharpens writing skills, and the complexity of writing in the classics will help even more.

Better Knowledge of the Human Experience—Exposing yourself to the classics will help you better understand your life, yourself, and the world around you. Encounters with literature develop the concepts of identification, imagination, and empathy.In our increasingly chaotic world, these skills matter deeply.

Develops Critical Thinking—The classics, with their depth of character and scene development, force you to think of nuance or “between the lines.”

Get Inspiration for Your Writing – If you’re a writer in any form, exposure to the classics can only help to broaden the base from which you can gain inspiration. Many modern writers have leaned on the classics for inspiration for their work.

Develop Compassion and Character – Of course, this applies to many genres of reading, but experiencing the troubles and human responses from the past will help you connect with others, and that will, in turn, “exercise” your heart so that you can better relate and empathise with those in the present.

Enjoyment—Once you finish reading the classics, you will appreciate the great stories and likely enjoy the intellectual challenge.

Learn more easily—Combining many of the above benefits (improved vocabulary, reasoning skills, knowledge of culture and human nature, improved attention span) makes learning all kinds of topics easier.

Ready to Get Started? Of course, you are! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some great books to get your feet (or at least your toes) wet with:

Veronica Rowley
English and Drama Teacher