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πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ πŸ“– The Best of Classic British Literature

 


British literature has many of the world's best books in the English language and the Western cannon. British literature refers to literature associated with the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. We can't cover everything, only the best of the best and widely known. Many of the books have Christian themes, which has been their religion for centuries, and other strong logical themes as well. The classics never get old, most of them are timeless and still relevant today. We'll you you the best of classic British literature from the Elizabeth era to the Early Modern era that has shaped Western culture, influenced the English speaking world, and captivated readers for generations. 




Beowulf

No one knows who wrote this classic tale, Beowulf is a major epic of Anglo-Saxon literature, probably composed between the first half of the seventh century and the end of the first millennium. The poem was inspired by Germanic and Anglo-Saxon oral tradition recounting the exploits of Beowulf, the hero who gave his name to the poem. Here, it's transcribed as a verse epic, onto which are grafted Christian additions. Originally in Old English, the tale has been translated many times in many different ways, but the most famous and accurate is Seamus Heaney's translation, but J.R.R. Tolkien, a fan, made his own beautiful unique translation in his style. Burton Raffel and Michael Alexander's 1973 translations are also recommended.


The Works of William Shakespeare

The man, the legend. You may have heard of him multiple times from class, the library, your friends, the internet or television. If you've been living under a rock, William Shakespeare was a English playwright from the 17th century. He's notable plays are Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Cesar are one of the most extraordinary and beautiful plays in the English language. William Shakespeare stands out in this period as a poet and playwright as yet unsurpassed. Shakespeare was not a man of letters by profession, and probably had only some grammar school education. He was neither a lawyer, nor an aristocrat as the "university wits" that had monopolised the English stage when he started writing. But he was very gifted and versatile, and he surpassed "professionals" as Robert Greene who mocked this "shake-scene" of low origins. Almost all of his works are memorable classics. Shakespeare wrote plays in a variety of genres, including histories, tragedies, comedies and the late romances, or tragicomedies. The dialogue may be alien to modern readers, but this is Shakespearean dialogue is "Early Modern English". 

Tragedies

  1. Troilus and Cressida
  2. Coriolanus
  3. Titus Andronicus
  4. Romeo and Juliet
  5. Timon of Athens 
  6. Julius Caesar
  7. Macbeth
  8. Hamlet
  9. King Lear
  10. Othello
  11. Antony and Cleopatra
  12. Cymbeline 
Comedies

  1. The Tempest 
  2. Two Gentlemen of Verona
  3. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  4. Measure for Measure 
  5. The Comedy of Errors
  6. Much Ado About Nothing
  7. Love's Labour's Lost
  8. A Midsummer Night's Dream
  9. The Merchant of Venice 
  10. As You Like It
  11. The Taming of the Shrew
  12. All's Well That Ends Well 
  13. Twelfth Night
  14. The Winter's Tale 
  15. Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  16. The Two Noble Kinsmen
Histories
  1. King John
  2. Richard II
  3. Henry IV, Part 1
  4. Henry IV, Part 2
  5. Henry V
  6. Henry VI, Part 1
  7. Henry VI, Part 2
  8. Henry VI, Part 3
  9. Richard III
  10. Henry VIII
Simply put, When you have The Complete Works of William Shakespeare you have one of the best works of literature ever written. I would definitely place it in the top 10 best works of literature of all time. I'm not being biased.

The Holy Bible, King James Version. 

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.Genesis-1:1"

Not really of British origin (Hebrew and Greek), but this translation is. The King James Bible, one of the biggest translation projects in the history of English up to this time, was started in 1604 and completed in 1611. It represents the culmination of a tradition of Bible translation into English from the original languages that began with the work of William Tyndale (previous translations into English had relied on the Vulgate). It became the standard Bible of the Church of England, and some consider it one of the greatest literary works of all time. It has also become one of the most influential and most read Bible translations in the English speaking world. The translation is widely considered a towering achievement in English literature, as both beautiful and scholarly. It's has been in the public domain throughout most of the world, except in the UK.



Paradise Lost

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton, published in 1667. It's considered by critics to be Milton's major work, and it helped solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men".

John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, who are motivated by all too human temptations but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love.

Marked by Milton's characteristic erudition, Paradise Lost is a work epic both in scale and, notoriously, in ambition. For nearly 350 years, it has held generation upon generation of audiences in rapt attention, and its profound influence can be seen in almost every corner of Western culture.

Pilgrim's Progress

“What God says is best, is best, though all the men in the world are against it.”

The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print.This Christian allegory of personal salvation and a guide to the Christian life. Bunyan writes about how the individual can prevail against the temptations of mind and body that threaten damnation. 

In John Bunyan's classic allegory, Christian abandons his family and the City of Destruction and sets off to find salvation. His path is straight but not easy, and he is beset by trials, including the terrible violence of the destructive Apollyon and the Giant Despair, as he pursues his pilgrimage through the Slough of Despond, the Delectable Mountains and Vanity Fair towards the Celestial City. In the second part of the narrative his wife, Christiana, is escorted by Great-Heart through the same difficult terrain. Written with the urgency of persecuted faith and a fiery imagination, The Pilgrim's Progress is a spiritual as well as a literary classic.

The book is written in a straightforward narrative and shows influence from both drama and biography. There's has been a few adaptations, 2 popular ones from 2008 and 2020 are American-made.  

Inspired by John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, C.S. Lewis wrote his own version, The Pilgrim's Regress, his work as an allegory and has a similar concept. 


Areopagitica

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

Areopagitica; A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England is a 1644 prose polemical tract by the English poet, scholar, and polemical author John Milton opposing licensing and censorship. Areopagitica is among history's most influential and impassioned philosophical defenses of the principle of a right to freedom of speech and expression.

Today, Areopagitica is regarded as one of the most eloquent defenses of press freedom ever written – and as one of the most influential, because many of its expressed principles have formed the basis for modern justifications.



Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719.

Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends thirty years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued.

It was published under the full title that's extremely long, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pirates.

Robinson Crusoe marked the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre.Its success led to many imitators, and castaway novels became quite popular in Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of these have fallen into obscurity, but some became established, including The Swiss Family Robinson, Gulliver's Travels, and Treasure Island.

Gulliver's Travels

“I cannot but conclude that the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth.”

Anglo-Irish literature achieved an ambiguous independence in the 18th century with the emergence of writers such as Jonathan Swift, (before Ireland become independent from the UK) whose important early novel Gulliver's Travels, published in 1726, is both a satire of human nature, as well as a parody of travelers' tales like Robinson Crusoe. 

Gulliver's Travels describes the four voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon. In Lilliput he discovers a world in miniature; towering over the people and their city, he is able to view their society from the viewpoint of a god. However, in Brobdingnag, a land of giants, tiny Gulliver himself comes under observation, exhibited as a curiosity at markets and fairs. In Laputa, a flying island, he encounters a society of speculators and projectors who have lost all grip on everyday reality; while they plan and calculate, their country lies in ruins. Gulliver's final voyage takes him to the land of the Houyhnhnms, gentle horses whom he quickly comes to admire - in contrast to the Yahoos, filthy bestial creatures who bear a disturbing resemblance to humans.

It has been adapted many times and it is considered a favorite among many.



Frankenstein

"It's aliiiive!"

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by the Englishwoman, Mary Shelley that tells the story of a young science student Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London in 1818, when she was 20.
Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement, and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Since the novel's publication, the name "Frankenstein" has often been used to refer to the monster itself, as it is in the stage adaptation by Peggy Webling. This usage is sometimes considered erroneous, but usage commentators regard it as well-established and acceptable. In the novel, the monster is identified by words such as "creature", "monster", "demon", and "it". Speaking to Victor Frankenstein, the monster refers to himself as "the Adam of your labours", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead "your fallen angel."

 It has had a considerable influence in literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films and plays.


Dracula

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights."

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.

Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations


Sense and Sensibility

"The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!"

Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Englishwoman, Jane Austen, and was her first published work when it appeared in 1811 under the pseudonym "A Lady". A work of romantic fiction, better known as a comedy of manners, Sense and Sensibility is set in southwest England, London and Kent between 1792 and 1797, and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. The novel follows the young ladies to their new home, a meagre cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience love, romance and heartbreak.

The book has been adapted for film and television a number of times.

Below will show you Austin's other book that are considered classics. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.



Pride and Prejudice

"I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow."

Another novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813 as a stand-alone successor of  Sense and Sensibility.The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, Mr. Bennet living in Longbourn.

Set in England in the early 19th century, it tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet's five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.

Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books." It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes.

The book has been adapted for film and television a number of times.


Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park is the third novel by Jane Austen, published in May 1814. Taken from the poverty of her parents' home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle's absence in Antigua, the Crawford's arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen's first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

Mansfield Park has been the subject of a number of adaptations.




Emma

Emma, by fourth Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The novel was first published in December 1815. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters.

Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma is spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray. Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen's most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organizes the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect. 

This novel has been adapted for several films, many television programs, and a long list of stage plays.



Oliver Twist

"Please, sir, I want some more."

Oliver Twist, or The Parish Boy's Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, and was first published as a serial 1837–9. The story is of the orphan Oliver Twist, who starts his life in a workhouse and is then sold into an apprenticeship with an undertaker. He escapes from there and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets, which is led by the elderly criminal Fagin.

Oliver Twist is notable for Dickens's unromantic portrayal of criminals and their sordid lives, as well as exposing the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London in the mid–nineteenth century.An early example of the social novel, Dickens satirizes the hypocrisies of his time, including child labour, the recruitment of children as criminals, and the presence of street children.

Oliver Twist has been the subject of numerous adaptations, for various media, including a highly successful musical play, Oliver!, and the multiple Academy Award-winning 1968 motion picture.



A Christmas Carol

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in December 19 1843. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. A Christmas Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

The book was written at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past as well as new customs such as Christmas cards and Christmas trees. Carol singing took a new lease on life during this time. Dickens's sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.

A Christmas Carol remains popular—having never been out of print—and has been adapted many times to film, stage, opera, and other media. It is not only considered a classic but a Christmas classic. Bah humbug!



Great Expectations

Published in 1861,the novel is set in Kent and London in the early to mid-19th century and contains some of Dickens's most celebrated scenes, starting in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery – poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death – and has a colourful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. These include the eccentric Miss Havisham, the beautiful but cold Estella, and Joe, the unsophisticated and kind blacksmith. Dickens's themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. Great Expectations, which is popular both with readers and literary critics, has been translated into many languages and adapted numerous times into various media.

The 1946 adaptation of Great Expectations, the most celebrated film version.



A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same period. It follows the lives of several characters through these events. With sales of about 200 million copies, A Tale of Two Cities is the bestselling novel in history



Bleak House

Bleak House has been considered as Charles Dickens's greatest novel, Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London, where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery. The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs, the romance of Esther Summerson and the secrets of her origin, the sleuthing of Detective Inspector Bucket and the fate of Jo the crossing-sweeper, these are some of the lives Dickens invokes to portray London society, rich and poor, as no other novelist has done. Bleak House, in its atmosphere, symbolism and magnificent bleak comedy, is often regarded as the best of Dickens. A 'great Victorian novel', it is so inventive in its competing plots and styles that it eludes interpretation.

The novel has many characters and several sub-plots, and is told partly by the novel's heroine, Esther Summerson, and partly by an omniscient narrator. Though the legal profession criticized Dickens's satire as exaggerated, this novel helped support a judicial reform movement which culminated in the enactment of legal reform in the 1870s.




David Copperfield

Another classic from Charles Dickens published in 1849, David Copperfield is the story of a young man's adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr Murdstone; his brilliant, but ultimately unworthy school-friend James Steerforth; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble, yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora Spenlow; and the magnificently impecunious Wilkins Micawber, one of literature's great comic creations. In David Copperfield - the novel he described as his 'favorite child' - Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of the most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. 



Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This setting provides the frame for Marlow's story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness.

Central to Conrad's work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises important questions about imperialism and prejudice. Originally published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood's Magazine, the novella Heart of Darkness has been variously published and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness as the sixty-seventh of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.

The most famous adaptation is Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 motion picture Apocalypse Now, which moves the story from the Congo to Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
A production documentary of the film, titled Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, exposed some of the major difficulties which director Coppola faced in seeing the movie through to completion.

On March 13, 1993, TNT aired a new accurate version of the story. Video game, Far Cry 2 is a loose modernized adaptation of Heart of Darkness.



Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant London-based "consulting detective", famous for his intellectual prowess, skillful use of astute observation, deductive reasoning and forensic skills to solve difficult cases. Holmes' archenemy Professor Moriarty, is widely considered to be the first true example of a super-villain, while Sherlock Holmes has become a by-word for a detective. Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six short stories featuring Holmes, from 1880 up to 1907, with a final case in 1914. All but four Conan Doyle stories are narrated by Holmes' friend, assistant, and biographer, Dr John H. Watson. Anything written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is part of the Sherlock canon.



The Lost World

Not to be confused with Micheal Crichton's novel, The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine and illustrated by New-Zealand-born artist Harry Rountree during the months of April–November 1912. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. The novel also describes a war between indigenous people and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures. It is started the "lost world" genre and inspired dinosaur adventure novels including Jurassic Park. 

Most people don't know this is the first novel of the Professor Challenger series.

Unrelated, but Micheal Crichton' Lost World took direct inspiration of the original with a similar setting, but in a more realistic manner with science fiction elements. It's also a sequel to his Jurassic Park novel, also involving dinosaurs. The 2003 edition of Doyle's Lost World has an introduction from Crichton. 





King Solomon's Mines

“Truly wealth, which men spend all their lives in acquiring, is a valueless thing at the last.”

King Solomon's Mines (1885) is a popular novel by the Victorian adventure writer and fabulist Sir H. Rider Haggard. It tells of a search of an unexplored region of Africa by a group of adventurers led by Allan Quatermain for the missing brother of one of the party. It is the first English adventure novel set in Africa, and is considered to be the genesis of the Lost World literary genre. It spawned the Allan Quatermain series of novels including a Spin-off series, it has been adapted at least six times and served as an inspiration to the India Jones franchise. 




Alice in Wonderland

"Fellow the Rabbit, Down the Rabbit Hole."

Alice in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.It followed by a sequel, Through the Looking Glass, a spin-off poem, The Hunting of the Snark and a retold version, The Nursery "Alice".

It has spawned many adaptation and paradise, the most popular one is the Walt Disney's 1951 animated film. 



Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

"If he be Mr. Hyde, I be Mr. Seek."

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next

There have been numerous adaptations of the novella including over 120 stage and film versions alone.
There have also been many audio recordings of the novella. It has also served as an inspiration of American comic-book hero, the Hulk.



The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells first published in 1898. it is one of the earliest stories that detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race.
The novel is the first-person narrative of both an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and of his younger brother in London as southern England is invaded by Martians. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon.

The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears and prejudices. 
The War of the Worlds has been both popular (having never been out of print) and influential, spawning half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic book adaptations, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors. It has even influenced the work of scientists, notably Robert Goddard, who (inspired by the book) invented both the liquid fueled rocket and multistage rocket, which resulted in the Apollo 11 moon landing 71 years later.

The War of the Worlds has spawned seven films, as well as various radio dramas, comic-book adaptations, video games, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors. Among the most famous, or infamous, adaptations is the 1938 American CBS radio broadcast that was narrated and directed by Orson Welles. The first two-thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a news bulletin and is often described as having led to outrage and panic by some listeners who had believed the events described in the program were real. In 1953 came the first War of the Worlds theatrical film produced by George Pal and directed by Byron Haskin, starring Gene Barry. Steven Spielberg directed a 2005 film adaptation from Dreamworks starring Tom Cruise, both take place in the United States, instead of the United Kingdom, which received generally positive reviews. The 2005 version was "mixed bag" for audiences.

 H. G. Wells is considered the father of science fiction and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in four different years.



The Time Machine

The Time Machine is another science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. Wells is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposely and selectively forwards or backwards in time. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle.

With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.

The Time Machine has since been adapted into two feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It has also indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media. The 2002 version from Dreamworks, same people who did the 2005 adaption of World of the Worlds, was directed by H.G. Wells' great-grandson, Simon Wells. Again, like the 2005 WotW, thee place is changed from Richmond, Surrey, to downtown New York City



The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau is another 1896 science fiction novel by H. G. Wells. The text of the novel is the narration of Edward Prendick who is a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat. He is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, a mad scientist who creates human-like hybrid beings from animals via vivisection. The novel deals with a number of philosophical themes, including pain and cruelty, moral responsibility, human identity, and human interference with nature. Wells described it as "an exercise in youthful blasphemy.

The Island of Doctor Moreau is a classic work of early science fiction and remains one of Wells' best-known books. The novel is the earliest depiction of the science fiction motif "uplift" in which a more advanced race intervenes in the evolution of an animal species to bring the latter to a higher level of intelligence. It has been adapted to film and other media on many occasions including two American adaptation from 1977 and 1996.



The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man is a another science fiction novella by H. G. Wells. Originally serialized in Pearson's Weekly in 1897, it was published as a novel the same year. The Invisible Man of the title is Griffin, a scientist who has devoted himself to research into optics and invents a way to change a body's refractive index to that of air so that it absorbs and reflects no light and thus becomes invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but fails in his attempt to reverse it.

It has adapted many times through several media, the most famous is Universal's 1933 film. One film, that is inspired by the book, Paul Verhoeven's Hollow man, takes a darker and more violent turn. 


Treasure Island

"Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth."

Treasure Island is an 1883 adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold".  Treasure Island is traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, and is noted for its atmosphere, characters, and action. It is also noted as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long John Silver—unusual for children's literature. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. Its influence is enormous on popular perceptions of pirates, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders. The book pioneered the pirate genre. 

There are two other books, H. A. Calahan (1935) wrote a sequel Back to Treasure Island. Calahan argued in his introduction that Robert Louis Stevenson wanted to write a continuation of the story.

In Porto Bello Gold (1924), a prequel to Treasure Island - written with the permission of Robert Louis Stevenson's executor,that tells the origin of the buried treasure, recasts many of Stevenson's pirates in their younger years, and gives the hidden treasure some Jacobite antecedents not mentioned in the original.



Black Beauty

Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by Englishwoman author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate best-seller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, but having lived long enough to see her only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect.

Black Beauty spends his youth in a loving home, surrounded by friends and cared for by his owners. But when circumstances change, he learns that not all humans are so kind. Passed from hand to hand, Black Beauty witnesses love and cruelty, wealth and poverty, friendship and hardship . . . Will the handsome horse ever find a happy and lasting home? Carefully retold in clear contemporary language, and presented with delightful illustrations, these favorite classic stories capture the heart and imagination of young readers. By retelling the story in a shorter, simpler form, these books become highly engaging for children, and the color illustrations help with both comprehension and interest level.



The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett and published in 1911. It is now one of Burnett's most popular novels, and is considered to be a classic of English children's literature. The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he's away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle's vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven't heard, spiking Mary's curiosity.

The Secret Garden appeals to both young and old alike. It has wonderful elements of mystery, spirituality, charming characters and an authentic rendering of childhood emotions and experiences. Commonsense, truth and kindness, compassion and a belief in the essential goodness of human beings lie at the heart of this unforgettable story. It is the best known of Frances Hodgson Burnett's works, though most of us have definitely heard of, if not read, her other novel Little Lord Fauntleroy.

The book has been adapted extensively on stage, film and television and translated into all the world's major languages. In 1991, a Japanese anime version was launched for television in Japan. It remains a popular and beloved story of a child's journey into maturity, and a must-read for every child, parent, teacher and anyone who would enjoy this fascinating glimpse of childhood.




The Tale of Peter Rabbit


The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. He escapes and returns home to his mother who puts him to bed after dosing him with camomile tea. The tale was written for five-year-old Noel Moore, son of Potter's former governess Annie Carter Moore, in 1893. It was revised and privately printed by Potter in 1901 after several publishers' rejections but was printed in a trade edition by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1902. The book was a success, and multiple reprints were issued in the years immediately following its debut. It has been translated into 36 languages and with 45 million copies sold it is one of the best-selling books of all time.

The book has generated considerable merchandise over the decades since its release for both children and adults with toys, dishes, foods, clothing, videos and other products made available. Potter was one of the first to be responsible for such merchandise when she patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903 and followed it almost immediately with a Peter Rabbit board game.



 Seven Pillars of Wisdom

“The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander.”

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence, published in 1922, is an unusual and rich work. It encompasses an account of the Arab Revolt against the Turks during the First World War alongside general Middle Eastern and military history, politics, adventure and drama. It is also a memoir of the soldier known as 'Lawrence of Arabia'.Lawrence is a fascinating and controversial figure and his talent as a vivid and imaginative writer shines through on every page of this, his masterpiece. Seven Pillars of Wisdom provides a unique portrait of this extraordinary man and an insight into the birth of the Arab nation. This is the book that the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia is loosely based upon.



The Jungle Book

"The bare necessities..."

The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling. Set in India were the author lived, during British rule, The Jungle Book key characters are Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves and Sher Khan, biggest tiger in India. As Baloo the sleepy brown bear, Bagheera the cunning black panther, Kaa the python, and his other animal friends teach their beloved “man-cub” the ways of the jungle, Mowgli gains the strength and wisdom he needs for his frightful fight with Shere Khan, the tiger who robbed him of his human family. But there are also the tales of Rikki-tikki-tavi the mongoose and his “great war” against the vicious cobras Nag and Nagaina; of Toomai, who watches the elephants dance; and of Kotick the white seal, who swims in the Bering Sea.
Most people didn't know that "The Jungle Book" was a collection of tales. Thanks to the Disney movie, most had  had always identified this novel with the story of Mowgli, the man cub raised by a pack of wolves.

The book was followed by a "Second Jungle Book" and a chronological compilation of the stories about Mowgli from The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, together called "All the Mowgli stories."



Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is a detective novel by Agatha Christie, published in 1934, featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer—in case he or she decides to strike again. 

This is considered a classic "who done it" mystery thriller and it's the 11th novel of the Hercule Poirot Series. You don't have to read the first novel to get to this one, because there all stand-alone novels.  Agatha Christie, a writer of crime novels, short stories and plays, is best remembered for her 80 detective novels and her successful West End theatre plays. made her one of the most important and innovative writers in the development of the genre.

The novel has been adapted numerous times, famously the 1974 film and Kenneth Branagh's "okay" 2017 film.



The Wind in the Willows 

The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908.
For more than a century, the book and its endearing protagonists--Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty--have enchanted children of all ages. Whether the four friends are setting forth on an exciting adventure, engaging in a comic caper, or simply relaxing by the River Thames, their stories are among the most charming in all English literature.




The Hobbit

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit..."

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. Originally for his children, tt was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim. 

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. It is part of the now popular Middle-Earth series. 

Personal growth and forms of heroism are central themes of the story. Along with motifs of warfare, these themes have led critics to view Tolkien's own experiences during World War I as instrumental in shaping the story. The author's scholarly knowledge of Germanic philology and interest in fairy tales are often noted as influences. The Hobbit has lead to the "modern fantasy" revival and creating the "high fantasy" sub-genre." Tolkien has been considered many the "father" of modern fantasy literature —or, more precisely, of high fantasy

Peter Jackson adapted to screen, with The Hobbit Trilogy.



The Lord of the Rings

"One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is a sequel to The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold. Originally going to be one book, it was divided into three volumes, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them.

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. 

The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: the Men, Aragorn, a Ranger of the North, and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor; Gimli, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas Greenleaf, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a wizard.


The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works,[10] and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works.

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy film adaptation is universally acclaimed and won over 11 Academy Awards.

Since publication of the Lord of the Rings, other Middle-Earth novels were published after Tolkien's death, all edited by Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien. Most recently, The Nature of Middle-earth, published in 2021. Respectively, I thought dead men tell no tells. 



The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Not only a classic children's story but a classic in general.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children Christian author by C. S. Lewis, published in 1950. Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they've been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch's sinister spell.

The novel uses Christian symbolism, allegory and themes and  has spawned sequels and prequels of the Narnia series, which all have became classics themselves. The books series was also influenced by the Middle-Earth books by Lewis' closest friend, J.R.R. Tolkien. It's one these books you should read at least once in a while, as a child to a adult and to when your older. 

The most famous adaptation is the 2005 film from Disney and Walden Media and it was followed by 2 squeals.



Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity is C.S. Lewis's forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. First heard as informal radio broadcasts and then published as three separate books - The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality - Mere Christianity brings together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of the religion. Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, C.S. Lewis finds a common ground on which all those who have Christian faith can stand together, proving that "at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.


The Great Divorce

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil.


The Screwtape Letters 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S.  Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written. 



The Space Trilogy 
The Cosmic Trilogy relates the interplanetary travels of Ransom, C.S. Lewis's ill-informed and terrified victim who leaves Earth much against his will and who, in the first book of the trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, published by the Bodley Head in 1938, encounters the imaginary and delightful world of Macalandra. It was followed by two other books, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength.

C.S. Lewis believed that popular science was the new mythology of his age, and in The Cosmic Trilogy he ransacks the uncharted territory of space and makes that mythology the medium of his spiritual imagination.





The Lord of the Flies

“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.”

A dystopian survivalist novel aimed at mature readers, Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of British schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

Its stances on the already controversial subjects of human nature and individual welfare versus the common good. The novel is a reaction to the optimistic youth novel The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne. It was the inspiration for Golding's novel, which inverted the morality of The Coral Island; in Ballantyne's story the children encounter evil, but in Lord of the Flies evil is within them.(In a realistic manner with a darker tone).




Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist.




Animal Farm

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible. When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, an attitude that was critically shaped by his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. The Soviet Union, he believed, had become a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror. 



1984

"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength."

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written and still relevant today.

The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to "Ingsoc" in Newspeak, the government's invented language. The superstate is under the control of the privileged elite of the Inner Party, a party and government that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as "thoughtcrime", which is enforced by the "Thought Police".

The tyranny is ostensibly overseen by Big Brother, the Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. The Party "seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power." The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line.

As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered into common use since its publication in 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state.

In the decades since the publication of 1984, there have been numerous comparisons to the Aldous Huxley novel, Brave New World which was published 17 years earlier in 1932 are both predictions of societies dominated by a central government, based on extensions of the trends of their times. But the ruling class of 1984 use brutal force, torture, and mind control to keep rebellious individuals in line, while Brave New World rulers keep citizens in line through addictive drugs and pleasurable distractions.

 Many consider, 1984 to be the best and most relevant.

1984 film version of 1984 is the most popular and accurate adaption to the novel. The 1984 audio-book version  is also recommended. 




Well, these are the classics of British literature, we hope you'll find your next favorite!

Cheers, Jane Doe. 


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