Well, there are many advantages and disadvantages to every possible action that takes place on this earth. Walking has many benefits and also many disadvantages for the ones who have weak legs. Fruit juices are useful but very harmful if you don’t follow the necessary restrictions and guidelines. So, this stands for everything – everything? Yes, everything! Well, why are we talking about many actions? Because we are eventually coming to reading classics and it also has pros and cons. However, of the many cons, the biggest is that sometimes the classics are utterly boring! So, we will discuss the advantages of reading classics today saving our fuel to write about disadvantages in another article another day.
First, what is a classic novel? Classic is near to the implication of the ‘best’, a standard of excellence worthy of emulation. It follows certain basic rules and regulations of literary writings that may be in the form of irony, metaphor, sarcasm, narrative etc. It has the credentials to create a serious atmosphere of literary permanence among the readers. Classical novels are based on widely accepted themes. Their themes cannot remain within the ambit fo a certain boundary of age, time, emotions and even a century or two or many. All the novels that are famous worldwide hold the same permanence, to an extent. ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky is worldwide popular and counted as a classical one due to universality in the theme. It deals with crime and then subsequent punishment – and more than that, it deals with the theme of pretence and the agony of a crime inside the head of a criminal. Another example we can take ‘The Hungry Tide’ by Amitav Ghosh does not hold the universal theme that’s why it is not regarded as the Classic as of now. However, at times, our prejudice also leads to ascribing the classic tag to some of the undeserving novels! So, the important thing to be a classic os the universality in the theme that can be fitted across the globe.
Now, the fulcrum of discussion is how useful is reading a classic novel. So, it can benefit us in a multifold way.
1. Furthering the Language: The most important thing in a classic novel is the language used in it. The language used in classical novels is exalted and maintains a decorum of lexicon. It’s not casual and it’s not unfriendly at the same time. Regular reading of classical novels can build a strong amount of literary vocabulary among readers. Sometimes, sentences are in the form of a period the readers will get to know about these things which we can not find in contemporary novels. So, to better your language usage and to learn about difficult and, at times, archaic words one has to read the classical novels.
2. Understanding the wider Spectrum: The themes of classic novels always deal with the broader aspects of society, humanity, the emotional abstract and even the fantasy. The simple thing about the themes of classic novels is that these are not very simple! So, by reading a lot of classic novels, a reader can understand how the authors perceive the world from their perspectives. It will enhance the abilities to look into the things from various directions and then bringing out the hidden dimensions of a two-dimension portrait that we generally see in front of us – every day!
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3. Becoming more Creative: Yes, this is very important once you start reading the novels which are deemed as classics by the world. These novels are designed with the utmost care by the authors – who are supposedly the masters of this craft of writing fiction. So, a person who regularly reads the classic novels is likely to understand the twists and turns and when and how and why to apply them to a creative work of literary art. In simple words, if you want to become a writer, read classics!
4. The Vanity Fair: A person who does not know the names of world-famous novels is likely to invite flak in the prejudiced literary circles. So, in order to survive those cocktail circles where sophisticated people sit and talk literature, you have to be aware of the names of authors and the titles of novels and you have also to be familiar, like a household friend, of the important characters – the Darcy charm, the Everdeen’s ambition, the Gradgrind’s stiffness, Osip Dymov’s unacknowledged art… you have to be aware of all these and to do so, you NEED to read the classics!
So, friends, I am sure this article will certainly induce a little spur in you to read the classics – novels, poems and short stories collection. Though the article focuses more on reading novels, a classic is a classic irrespective of its genre. No one can forget Paradise Lost (howsoever religious it might be) and likewise, no one can forget to read Meghadutam – howsoever wide it might be for you!
All the best for your readings ahead!
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by Amit Mishra for Literature News
Very good article Amit. I have also experienced that reading classics always has a good impact on our mind. However, I do agree that at times we tend to make things a little clumsy just on the basis of our whims. Thanks for the advice!
Simple, short and elegant article. It has a lot of information about the advantages of reading classics. I liked the way you explained you last point vanity fair. That’s the reality of the society.
Really a nice article about the advantage of reading classical novels. You have mentioned for major points and every point holds the good. It’s really helpful for those who found themselves in a dilemma of whether to read classics or not?