By Abi Akerman
Christmas is the perfect time to embark on a new novel, with the knowledge that you are free from lectures, tutorials and deadlines till January. Nothing quite compares to that of a classic novel, penned by great writers like Dickens, The Brontë’s or Hardy. Christmas is also an opportunity to share your favourite classics with family and friends as gifts, especially if you have a particular favourite.
Nothing quite compares to a classic novel, penned by the great writers
Whether you are excited to read a novel with your month of holiday or find the perfect present, some great choices include Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and of course, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Austen’s 1813 romance novel encompasses many classical themes of romance, but was particularly ahead of its time with its portrayal of a largely independent female protagonist. This renders the novel a timeless classic, and perfect to peruse over the Christmas holidays.
Similarly, Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, published in 1892, is a brilliant novel to read over Christmas, exploring the life of an impoverished young women and the socioeconomic relations that come to define her.
Finally, the quintessential Christmas novel is Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. As well as encompassing many a classic Christmas ethos, like the importance of generosity and kindness, the novel is also very historically interesting, published in a society that often criminalised the poor, and saw the emergence of a capitalist economy. Dickens criticises this, and uses his non chronological narrative to illustrate the importance of the aforementioned Christmas values.
If Christmas remains hectic and busy, a short story can be a preferable relaxing read for some
Alternatively, if Christmas remains hectic and busy, a short story can be a preferable relaxing read for some. One that particularly strikes me as rather perfect is Fitzgerald’s Winter Dreams which appeared in his 1926 collection of short stories All the Sad Young Men. As the name Winter Dreams suggests this story is appropriate for the season, and is regarded by some as Fitzgerald’s draft for The Great Gatsby, exploring many similar themes such as heroism and wealth.
One particularly special way to share literature over Christmas is to give younger members of your family your old childhood classics, or abridged versions of your favourites. A perfect example of a childhood story to give this Christmas is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. This fairy tale was published in 1845, documenting the friendship of Gerda and Kai, and their dealings with the evil Snow Queen. The story is a classic portrayal of friendship in the face of adversity, and the perfect present for younger cousins or siblings.
Overall, the Christmas holidays are a fantastic opportunity to reach for some classic literature, whether that be for you or as a gift for others.
Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash