Discover the five best classics of English literature

Discover the five best classics of English literature

THE English literature it is full of details and captivating characters. It is present in our imagination through the cinemas, which portray the pages of the books, freezing on the screens a fraction of the wonders that we find in the works through words dyed on paper. And it is because of this wealth of details that we should get to know the English classics better, so check out, below, a list of 5 books to start your reading.

The best classics of English literature


Howling Wind Hill

Launched in 1847, it was the only published work by author Emily Brontë, who, at the time, was hiding under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell. The book became a classic of English literature, but, when released, suffered harsh criticism from renowned 19th-century writers, who claimed that Brontë’s writing was sloppy and that the content was vague and inappropriate.

The narrative follows the passion lived by Catherine and Heathcliff, different young people who live an impossible love. He, a poor boy with no last name, while she, a rich girl and destined for good suitors. Both are prevented from being together, and Heathcliff leaves when the young girl marries another man, in search of a better future.

The boy becomes bitter and has a desire to take revenge on everyone who prevented his life from joining Cathy’s. He returns to the Ernshaw family estate, Wuthering Heights, and settles the score with his past. With this sudden return, the young woman, who is now Edgar Clinton’s wife, finds herself in conflict between her great passion and her husband. The young woman dies shortly after Heathcliff’s return, during the birth of her daughter with Mr. Clinton.

Disgusted, the young man closes himself on the Ernshaw property, now owned by him, and continues to feed his bitterness and sadness, caused by the death of his beloved. The place becomes dark and mysterious. And, with the visit of Mr. Lockwood, it is that we are introduced to history and all the supernatural that surrounds it.

Emily’s work won versions for theaters and television, in addition to inspiring songs like, composed by Kate Bush, and the album of the British band Genesis.


classics of english literature

Published by Charlotte Brontë, Emily’s sister, using the pseudonym of Currer Bell, the work is a milestone for the “formation romances”, which accompany a character throughout her life, reporting her changes and her experiences. The central themes of the work are religion, classicism and sexuality, subjects little debated by women in the 19th century.

The plot would be an autobiography of the character, Jane Eyre, an orphan who lived with her aunt and cousins ​​who mistreated her. Until Jane is sent to a boarding school, where she is educated and becomes a teacher. However, the character does not stay there for long, as she decides to visit new places and search for new experiences, so she applies to be a governess at Thornfield Hall.

After his move, the young woman falls in love with Mr. Rochester, a dark and full of secrets that surround him and prevents them from relating.

The narrative constructed by Charlotte is nothing like that of her sister, Emily, who seeks a dark tone for her stories. it is a witty and promising work, which addresses a side of women little exposed in the literature of the time.

Female emancipation is the subject of discussion on every page of the book, revealing this characteristic so striking in the author, that she built characters that seek to grow by themselves, swimming against the tide of other characters, such as the women in Jane Austen’s novels.

The work has been recreated for cinema several times, among the most famous are the 1944 versions, directed by Robert Stevenson, 1996, by Franco Zeffirelli, and 2011, by Cary Fukunaga.


Pride and Prejudice

(in English,) is one of the most famous works by author Jane Austen, one of the symbols of English literature. The book was published in 1813, and its translation reached Brazilian lands in 1940, almost 130 years after the first publication. She has become iconic and the characters Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are known worldwide, as two proud lovers.

Over the years, several film versions of the story have been created, the most famous being that of 2005, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. In Brazil, the soap opera (2018) was inspired by the story created by Austen.

In its original version, it deals with the life of Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters, all young of marriage age. The older sister, Jane, falls in love with Charles Bingley, a charming and well-educated young man. Through Bingley, Elizabeth is introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy, or simply Mr. Darcy. Man for whom the young woman has total contempt, for considering him arrogant and proud. The feeling is mutual, and an enmity arises from that encounter.

However, with the unfolding of the plot, both start to see their qualities and fall madly in love with each other, going against everything they believed.

The focus of the narrative is the relationships that are built, as one of the author’s favorite subjects was the influence of relationships on the construction of a young person’s personality. Therefore, we can observe that each character exerts a transforming force on the other, altering the personalities built throughout history. Another theme present is that of marriage, and as at the time it gained a new meaning, with divorces, and with the choice of suitors.

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The horror novel written by Mary Shelley enshrined the genre and was considered the first science fiction work in history. It was published in 1818, and conquered the world. Shelley’s monster has been reinventing itself several times, in cinemas, in theaters, on television, and is one of the most famous creatures in the horror imagery.

The story is told through a letter, something unusual for the time, written by Captain Robert Walton for his sister. After an accident with his vessel, Walton is welcomed by Victor Frankenstein, who tells about his creature to the captain, who tells him to his sister. Victor goes through his childhood in Geneva, his youth, adulthood, and tells how he created his own monster in his attempts to create a human being.

As the story unfolds, we understand the message behind Shelley’s construction: that we all have an inner monster. The creature, which we came to call Frankenstein, could be Victor’s inner monster, which came to life. Different versions of the story transform the doctor himself into a monster, which helps to support the idea.

But something that is certain is the relationship between creature and creator developed by the British author, adding a biblical sense to the work. It describes creation, the rupture of the created with the creator and the ruin that unfolds from it. This relationship is explicit in the title of the work: an allusion to the Greek titan, who steals the divine fire to share with men, and is severely punished by Zeus, who attached him to a rock so that the birds could eat him alive. The point is that Prometheus created man, defended his child and, for that reason, he was punished, something that we observed in Victor’s life.

Frankenstein was created at the same time that, Polidori’s work, which in the future would inspire another classic, by Bram Stoker. Both were challenged by Lord Byron to write ghost stories. Such narratives have become a milestone in the history of literature.



A list of English classics is not complete without a work by Shakespeare. The English author is among the most popular in the world. His works are present in everyone’s mind, either, or. The last work is one of William’s best known and probably one of the most re-enacted.

The tragedy of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, accompanies the character of the same name and title, who has just lost his father and sees his mother marrying his uncle, who would be responsible for the King’s death. Later, a soldier claims seeing a ghost prowling the castle and promptly notifying the young prince of what happened, but the most interesting thing is that the supposed spirit is very much like Hamlet’s father.

When he comes into contact with the entity that was walking around the residence, it is revealed that the ghost would have been killed by his own brother, poisoned, and asks that he be avenged. This makes this desire grow inside the boy, but this decision seems to drive the character crazy, one of the most striking characteristics of Prince Hamlet.

The question addressed by Shakespeare is precisely that of this character’s mental sanity. Throughout the narrative, we do not know whether he is crazy or in his right mind, who is just a misunderstood boy. The philosophical and moral questions that hover over history are extremely important to understand the society to which the author belonged and built in his pieces. In all of her stories, there is a moral that rules her, which makes her works a material for study and social understanding.


The saga

Harry Potter

The books written by author JK Rowling are the new classics of English literature. The author built a new world, which became popular and gained strength in the imagination of children and adults, with social issues present in the modern world.

Harry Potter is a young orphan who discovers he is a wizard. Created by his uncles all his life, he finds refuge in the midst of something that seemed to be impossible, magic. But soon the character understands that nothing is so wonderful, and that incredible world to which he was inserted has its dark and dangerous side, and the young man must face the evil that exists in that new reality. With the help of Ron and Hermione, the young wizard ventures into the world of witchcraft, fighting his enemy, Lord Valdemort.

We accompany the three friends over 7 books, we see them grow and mature, and this is noticeable in Rowling’s writing, who matures with her characters.

The saga became a real success, becoming films, games, amusement parks and inspiration for other writers, who, from the advent of, deepened in this world or created their own. JK Rowling was responsible for the popularization of reading among young people in the 21st century.