Welcome to our recommendations for the best classics of English Literature. We’ve interviewed leading academics, literary critics and the world’s best living novelists to find you the best classic books by famous authors you always wanted to read, but never quite had enough time to—from Jane Austen to forgotten classics. Our experts include eminent Shakespearean René Weis and University of Oxford Professor Emma Smith on the best plays of William Shakespeare, John Sutherland on Victorian fiction, and authors Amanda Craig and Scott Pack on their favourite classics.
Daphne du Maurier is one of the most overlooked writers of the twentieth century, says Oxford University’s Laura Varnam. As Rebecca celebrates its eightieth anniversary and du Maurier enjoys a critical renaissance, Varnam explores five works that best highlight this novelist’s sheer range and brilliance—from biography and fiction to history and horror.
When it was published on December 19th, 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was an instant classic. As families settle in front of the fire to read it aloud on Christmas Eve, Oxford Professor of English Literature Robert Douglas-Fairhurst runs through the best of Dickens’s prolific writings about Christmas.
Ninety per cent of the books we hear about are new, which means we are missing out on countless masterpieces already out there. Scott Pack, co-founder of the Abandoned Bookshop, a digital publisher that specialises in finding forgotten and neglected books, picks five forgotten classics, for lovers not of the new but of the different…
George Eliot is all but synonymous with Victorian realism; for D H Lawrence, she was the first novelist to start ‘putting all the action inside.’ Here, Philip Davis, author of The Transferred Life of George Eliot, selects the best books by or about one of the greatest novelists of all time: ‘If you want to read literature that sets out to create a holding ground for raw human material—for human struggles, difficulties, and celebrations—read George Eliot’
Thanks to her ability to be many things to many people at once, Jane Austen is one of the vast minority of writers who manage to be both eternally popular and canonical. Here, Austen scholar Devoney ‘Stone Cold Jane’ Looser presents alternative Austens, from subversive youngster to video-game heroine