Today’s topic is all about the writing styles of classic and contemporary works. This is such an interesting topic! I did English Literature with Creative Writing at uni and had to read a lot of classics as part of my course.
Do you prefer reading classics or contemporaries? What differences do you notice between the two?
I generally prefer reading contemporary books. They often have a faster pace and are more relatable. I’m also a big scifi and fantasy fan, and those genres have grown a lot over the years. But I do like reading a classic from time to time.
Classics can feel slow and hard to get through, and the language can feel archaic to us, because we don’t speak or communicate in the same ways. Language and the way we use it has changed.
Literature has evolved both in terms of content and style over hundreds of years, and the way we read and consume books now is very different from in the past. Literature is informed by the times in which it is written, whether consciously or subconsciously on the author’s part. I think some of the reason people can struggle with getting into classics is partly because of the writing style, but also because they can be hard to connect with. They were written for the people reading them in that present time. Someone three hundred years in the future was not the author’s target audience. However, many classics explore themes and issues that we can still relate to today, and that is part of what makes them a classic.
Classics are also seen as kind of ‘highbrow’, old and stuffy. But that’s just the style of the times they were written in, and many of them were popular books of the time.
‘The classics’ also incorporates such a wide range of literature. I have read a couple of Dickens and they weren’t for me. But I loved Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and am also a fan of Jane Austen’s works. Then there’s the plethora of classic science fiction and horror. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a brilliant classic. Then there’s the modern classics from the 20th Century like 1984 by George Orwell and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. It’s okay not to like classics, but it might just be that you haven’t found the right kind of classic for you. There are so many of them out there!Read More »