A famous aphorism says: “You need to read ten books to become clever, but you need to read thousands to find them”. We have selected those books which have had the greatest influence on the development of world literature and are a must-read for every student.
1. “The Iliad” by Homer
“The Iliad is the oldest surviving monument of ancient Greek literature. Along with the Odyssey, it is the world’s first poem in fantasy, thriller, action, and family drama genres.
Some background on the book. The poem is probably created in the eighth or seventh century BC and describes the siege of Troy by the Achaeans. It was based on folklore stories about the exploits of ancient heroes. For a long time, scholars had even debated whether the book was based on real events or the Trojan War was just fiction. However, during excavations in Troy, they found a culture that matched the descriptions in The Iliad. And the deciphered Hittite inscriptions contained several names hitherto known only from the Greek poem.
2. “The Adventures of Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens’s second novel and the first in English literature to have a child as the main character.
Some background on the book. Oliver, an orphan boy, has to face baseness and betrayal, go through many adventures, try to escape danger, become the epicenter of crime, in order to find happiness and love in the family of his relatives in the end. The genre of the novel is edgy social romance.
3. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Jane Austen, who was angered by the dependent position of women in the Victorian era, was one of the first to create the image of a free woman. The heroine in her book makes her own decisions, such as whether or not to marry this or that man, and is able to overcome all of life’s difficulties and the pressures of society with her head held high. The novel perfectly describes the Victorian age with all the details, so once you read it, you won’t have any problems in history at university, at least within the described period of history. Well, if you still have difficulties, you can always buy an argumentative essay for a good grade.
Some background on the book. Simple at first glance, the love story of the poor but sensible and independent noblewoman Elizabeth Bennet and the noble aristocrat Mr. Darcy. The story develops spirally, from a first mutual unpleasant experience to a declaration of love and a reciprocal feeling between the two protagonists.
4. “Faust” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Goethe’s Faust is a national drama. Faust is not just about Germany, but about all mankind, called to transform the world through joint-free and intelligent work. Thus a plot is built not on a single life conflict, as was customary before, but on a successive chain of profound conflicts along a single life course.
Some background on the book. Goethe wrote “Faust” throughout his mature life. The work is based on the well-known German myth of Dr. Johann Faustus, who strikes a bargain with the devil, exchanging his soul for worldly pleasures and eternal youth. According to the terms of the agreement, Mephistopheles receives Faust’s soul when he exalts a certain moment. Both protagonists believe that they will emerge victorious in the dispute. There is no doubt about the devil’s tempting skills, and Faust faces many challenges.
5. “Arch of Triumph” by Erich Maria Remarque
The German writer set a love story against the backdrop of the war against fascism. Unsurprisingly, it came under a strict ban in his home country.
Some background on the book. The novel is set in France in the late 1930s. Ravic, a German surgeon, a member of the First World War, who does not have French citizenship, lives and works in Paris. He is one of those emigrants who live under the constant threat of arrest and deportation from the country. He strikes up an affair with the Italian actress Joan Madou, whose image reminds him of Marlene Dietrich. Thus love is intertwined with war.
6. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel GarcíaMárquez
The novel by the Colombian writer is the representation of magical realism. The work contains the main features of this trend of the XX century: a kind of fusion of the real and the fictitious, the ordinary and the fabulous, the obvious and the miraculous, a special way of seeing the world through the prism of folk-mythological consciousness.
Some words about the book. The book consists of twenty untitled chapters, which describe a story looped in time: the events of Macondo and the Buendia family. The novel’s plot is woven using a patchwork technique: fantasy and reality are taken for granted, and following the fate of the characters becomes increasingly difficult as each new member of the Buendia family emerges.