Why Classic Literature Is Believed to Be Cooler Than Modern Works

Today, many people cannot decide whether to read classical literature or not. On the one hand, it seems to be hopelessly outdated. But on the other hand, it can instill in us high ideals, which are supposed to no longer exist in modern literature.

Writers who believe in modern times are to blame for superficial plots, implausible relationships, superficial dialogue, etc.

The problem is that these claims are based on books that everyone knows, such as Fifty Shades of Gray, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and other bestsellers. But modern literature is not limited exclusively to these books.

We are trying to find out if classical literature really deserves reverence and modern literature, contempt.

Classic Literature Doesn’t Provide A Modern Person With What They Need

Why Classic Literature Is Believed to Be Cooler Than Modern Works
© Vanity Fair / Mammoth Screen© The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Relativity Media

With rare exceptions, we, our parents, and our children study the same literary works in a school. Meanwhile, times are changing: now people’s interests are different from what they were several decades ago.

The classics start to look boring because we don’t know the realities described in them. Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand what is at stake since we do not have that experience.

However, modern literature describes the reality we live in, which is why many people choose to read it.

Of course, there are timeless themes, such as the relationship between parents and children, romance, patriotism, love of nature, animals, etc.

However, even these things change. We do not call our parents “sir” or “mistress”, Classic literature doesn’t provide a modern person with what they need, and the dogs and cats have become our family. We can’t really find any of these things in classical literature.

Women Are The Main Buyers Of Books. The Target Audience For Classics Was Men

Why Classic Literature Is Believed to Be Cooler Than Modern Works
© Jane Eyre / BBC Films© Silver Linings Playbook / Eagle Pictures

Women are considered the main readers of fiction. According to statistics, men prefer popular scientific genres and read less in general. The reason for this is the different attitudes towards literature between men and women.

For example, women perceive books as a way of escaping reality, while men read them as a manual for assembling furniture, for example.

Since books tend to inspire and support us, it is not surprising that many people prefer modern literature to classical:

  • The main character in classic novels is usually a man.
  • Even if it is a woman, she is portrayed as an addition to a man and depends on him for everything.
  • There are practically no strong female characters in the classic pieces.

It is very difficult to think of these classic stories as a form of advice, follow-up, or departure from reality. Modern books, by contrast, offer us an abundance of strong female characters, such as Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood or Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina (which, by the way, has also been filmed).

Classic Novels And Stories Are Usually Written In A Complicated Language While Modern Texts Are Quite Simple As A Rule

Why Classic Literature Is Believed to Be Cooler Than Modern Works
© Crime and Punishment / First Channel© Anna Karenina / Universal Pictures

On the one hand, the language of classical literature is very difficult. Do you remember the phrases in Leo Tolstoy’s books that had a whole page?

But these texts are difficult to read for one more reason: they contain many words, the meaning of which we can no longer understand.

These are the names of objects and professions that no longer exist and words that were in vogue at the time of the book’s creation and that eventually disappeared.

For example, a modern person has no idea that a yellow ticket has been issued for women in the oldest profession in the world, while a hustle was a padded underwear that was used to add fullness or support to the back of the women’s dresses.

On the other hand, the language of the classics is very rich. This is where you will have refined syntax, unusual comparisons, and various metaphors that you will hardly ever find in modern literature.

Also, classical literature can replenish your vocabulary, which is also an undeniable advantage. It can even help improve your critical thinking.

Do you read classical or modern literature? What is your favorite book? Let us know in the comments below.


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