And yet in our uncertain modern times, not only do books that are considered classics fill the shelves of many bookshops, but these books still exert a powerful influence on contemporary culture. Some do so in obvious ways, such as the film and television adaptations of the works of Homer, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Henry James ...
And yet in our uncertain modern times, not only do books that are considered classics fill the shelves of many bookshops, but these books still exert a powerful influence on contemporary culture. Some do so in obvious ways, such as the film and television adaptations of the works of Homer, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Henry James; others in less obvious ways, through their enduring impact on fellow writers, artists and musicians. Until the end of twentieth century, many of these books were taught in schools and universities as part of a commonly recognised list of great literature known as 'the canon'. This canon has quite rightly been challenged by postmodern critics, essentially because it excluded writers from beyond the prevailing culture, especially women and non-European writers, and it is no longer taught. Nonetheless, the books the canon once embraced, and other books now considered classics, are invaluable for their insights into the human heart and soul; for their wisdom and humour; for their worth as records of social, political and economic life in other terms and places; and for their extraordinary mastery of language - so extraordinary, in fact, that each book serves as a storehouse of literary quality, of style, rhythm, vocabulary, and ingenuity of expression. These books are important because they are among the best books ever published, whether in our times or in their own - and it's worth remembering that many of these novels were bestsellers of their day, particularly those published before the twentieth century, before technological advances made it economically feasible to print small quantities of books for specialised markets. This is a selection of some of the best books ever written and published. It represents a small cosmos of 2500 years of our literary heritage. It is your invitation to those great works you always wanted to read, a gateway of fulfilling pursuit of understanding of human culture by exploring some of the most enduring writings of the world:
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