Classic August: four pieces of literature to read this month

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The last full month of Summer before the new academic year, August is the perfect time to lose yourself within the fictional universe. Discovering that ideal book is probably the biggest challenge and nothing is worse than purchasing a book that doesn’t capture your attention. So why waste time trying to find new gems with the risk of disappointment if you still haven’t read literary classics embedded within the canon due to their masterfulness? Below is a condensed list of four exquisitely classic books that deserve to be read in your last full month of Summer. To buy one of the classics, click the associated picture and you will be directly sent to the book on Amazon to conduct an unfittingly modernised purchase.

9780141037424D.H. Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Published back in 1928, Lady Chatterley’s Lover remains one of the most controversial novels ever. The classic book focuses on Lady Chatterley, a woman married to a man who is paralysed from the waist down as a result of a war injury. A combination of emotional disconnect and her sexual urges causes her to embark upon an affair with their working class gamekeeper. This classic novel is a compelling read, particularly with regard to its exploration of social class and the sturdy societal boundaries that assert their prejudiced dominance. Highlighting key issues in 20th century Britain, the novel has sexual themes that it has become iconised for, but more importantly, it pulses with social criticism in its foreground. From a gender perspective, it is also rather provocative in whether or not Lady Chatterley is a sexually-liberated woman or whether she is searching for a man to achieve the sexual gratification that she feels she can only accomplish through a man. Thus, there are endless debates regarding Lady Chatterley’s Lover, marking it as one of the most important, involving and ambivalent British novels of the 20th Century.

penguin-bk-great-gatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby has become one of the most-loved classics of all time. The novel focuses on the enigmatic and tragic life of Gatsby, seen through the eyes of our narrator, Nick Carraway. Brimming with complex characterial relations, this American novel is also an extravagant examination of the American Dream as a whole. What is particularly poignant about this classic is its transformation: beginning with alluring facades and ending with the broken people that hide behind them. The cryptic nature of Jay Gatsby is the prominent draw to the book, capturing readers for years. The mosaic layers to his character marks Gatsby as one of the biggest enigmas in the literary world, resulting in The Great Gatsby becoming iconised as one of the most alluring pieces of literature that is both lively and melancholic.

9780141037684Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Published in 1891, The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most illustrious pieces of literature to be written. The novel looks at a man named Dorian Gray who becomes captivated with hedonism and wishes for the painting of him to age rather than him which is granted. As a result, the painting ages and grows ugly as Gray conducts a libertarian lifestyle. One of the most curious aspects of the book is Wilde’s fearless tackling of the ugly face of mortality that rears its head at us all and society’s desire to avoid the inevitable. This superficiality that is constructed as a result of this aversion of the authentic creates an interesting examination of art and life becoming intimate despite their established and supposed antithetical nature. Exploring beauty, art, youth and aesthetics, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic novel that enthralls.

catcher

J.D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye

Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye has become one of the most important pieces of American literature. The novel is a snapshot in the life of Holden Caulfield, a seventeen year-old school drop-out. A compelling novel that effortlessly connects with the alienation of the youth, The Catcher in the Rye is literary canon for almost every generation. Capturing the tone with an engaging idiolect and weaving in and out of colloquialisms, Salinger explores the psychological estrangement felt by young people in society through a stream of consciousness. What is particularly memorable about The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger’s ability to seize the character of Holden with such ability that a connection between reader and character is so durable but then to also simultaneously inspect society as a wider force with such a criticising, adolescent eye. A masterful classic that is an essential read.

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Film & English student, Deputy Editor of The Edge and President of FilmSoc. Likes FKA twigs, BANKS and other capitalised artists.

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