Wondering what book you should read next? You’re sure to find something worthwhile among these five classic novels written before the 20th century. Check out these worthy additions to any must read list.
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a landmark depiction of victorian values and culture. Dracula tells the macabre tales of Count Dracula, a vampire who feeds on the blood of mortals. Stoker once said the inspiration for Dracula came to him in a nightmare after a night of eating too much crab. Dracula helped to establish horror’s status as a legitimate sub-genre.
- Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In this sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn embarks on an adventure down the Mississippi River. It took Twain seven years to finish the novel because he stopped to write Life on the Mississippi and the Prince and the Pauper. Huckleberry Finn was finally published in 1884.
- Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. This epic tale follows the life of an ex convict and his quest for redemption Les Miserables offers a harsh portrayal of French politics, moral philosophy and justice. In the novel the character Fantine is assaulted by a rejected customer. This is based on an actual incident witnessed by Hugo who spoke on the woman’s behalf to prevent her from being arrested.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus tells the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s experiments with reanimating, meaning non-living matter. The resulting creature escapes and wreaks havoc among the innocent villagers. Frankenstein was written as a part of a competition proposed by Lord Byron in the summer of 1816 in which Shelley won that contest.
- Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice this classic romance and social satire follows Elizabeth Bennett as she deals with manners and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th century. Pride and Prejudice was originally rejected by the publisher who didn’t even bother to read it. Fourteen years later Austin revised the manuscript and it was published in 1813.
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