Classic literature is timeless.
Whether it is fiction, biographical work, or medieval romance, classics can teach us about ourselves as a society, right here in the 21st century. In Europe, the education system is built around a strong literature curriculum, covering various periods, eras and styles, ranging from artwork in Ancient Greek myths and legends, to Victorian plays set in the French Court, to more contemporary pieces. These classic novels are often the backbone and inspiration of current trends and it is crucial to embrace them, rather than fear the complexity of language, or the outdatedness of the art.
There are many reasons why reading classic novels should be on everyone’s top to-do list.
Here is a collection of some:
Classic literature extends your cognitive skills.
There is nothing more intricate than trying to picture behind the long and descriptive paragraph, what an author was trying to describe. And yet, reading complex and challenging texts helps increase your attention span, concentration skills but also your cognitive skills altogether. Reading is, to this day, a skill used to measure cognitive reasoning such as for example, IQ and standardized tests, but also for university entry exams, language certifications and more.
Classic literature enriches your use of language.
Making your way through a book written a hundred years ago will teach you about the subtleties of the language, expressions and idioms that are long forgotten. It will help you extend your written skills, but also your general approach to professional or academic texts and arguments. Furthermore, it will develop your reasoning and critical skills, forging your opinions on complex and debated issues. Argumentative discussion can stem from opinions gathered in classic novels, but also allow for reflection on more contemporary issues.
Classic literature makes you understand modern history.
Our society is constantly changing, and the culture in Europe is rich of centuries of history. Reading classics will give you a glimpse into a flourishing heritage but also broaden your horizons. The customs and manners of past centuries are the foundation of today’s belief system. Moreover, some books that were popular at the time of publishing were often overlooked, disputed, and sometimes even censored. What better way to understand the manners and customs of a society than by reading what the government did not want their citizens to read?
Finally… Classic literature makes you travel.
The world of literature is undoubtedly powerful. Behind every story, every description, every character we hold dear, there lies an author, words in his pocket, who had a passion for stories and wanted to share them. Story telling is one of the most ancient form of communication, and embracing our classics is seeing the beauty through our ancestor’s eyes. Who would not want to dance with Anna Karenina on the roofs of Hugo’s Cathedral de Notre Dame? Who wished to hear the Call of the Wild while drinking tea with Frankenstein? Why is Dorian Grey’s mysterious portrait on the walls of the halls of Pemberley?
However, reading classic novels, whether it is in Secondary School, at University or by curiosity can be a challenge for anyone. But can one imagine diving 20 thousand feet under the sea with Jules Verne, having a cup of tea with Jane Austen, or riding Sancho’s donkey with Don Quixote and Cervantes, all while having difficulties understanding the language, or a SLD (Specific Learning Disorder) such as dyslexia?
Readers with dyslexia wanting to delve into the wonderful worlds of classics might not always feel confident to approach pieces such as Pride and Prejudice directly head on. As a result of this, projects such as Bibliodos are crucial in providing inclusiveness and accessibility to these readers. In a world that is mostly non-dys friendly, it is key to level the playing field. Bibliodos is a project that not only meets learners with SLDs’ needs of literature, but also promotes European heritage and arts by offering a wide range of classic eBooks and their audio, covering vast regions, languages and periods.
And while Mark Twain said “′Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read”, we will try to ensure that our participants can fully take part in the conversation.
In collaboration with : Citizens In Power / Πολίτες Σε Ισχύ, MYARTIST, Langues Plurielles, Les Apprimeurs, Istituto dei Sordi di Torino