'What makes a classic? For me, it's a book I can't imagine having lived without; a truthful, wholly imagined world, in astonishing language, by a writer unafraid to probe those things that scare us and scar us and make us humana' - Charlotte Wood, author of The Submerged Cathedral, in CLASSICS Mark Twain defined a literary classic as 'something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read'. But what was true in the nineteenth century doesn't hold today. In our uncertain modern times, not only do books considered classics still fill the shelves of many bookshops, but these books continue to exert a powerful influence on contemporary culture - some in obvious ways, such as the film and television adaptations of of the works of Homer, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Henry James; other in less obvious ways, through their enduring impact on fellow writers, artists and musicians. When Jane Gleeson-White wrote an article on classic books for Good Reading magazine, she was amazed at the response it elicited: students, teachers and reading groups were hungering for recommendations from 'the canon', the list of classic texts that until quite recently was compulsory reading in Australian schools. The result is this beautiful book on why the greatest works of literature matter, and what they can give us today. As well, the book contains many great contemporary authors' lists of their favourite classics - from J.K. Rowling, who loves Jane Austen, to J.M. Coetzee, whose 'top ten' includes Cervantes and Samuel Beckett. CLASSICS is an accessible, impassioned and inspiring guide to the great books of the past, and will be eagerly embraced and discussed by passionate and grateful readers.
About the Author
Jane Gleeson-White is a freelance book editor, writer, reviewer and passionate reader. Jane lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. CLASSICS is her first book.
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