Classic Literature Archives | Books on the Wall

Category: Classic Literature Archives

Books on the Wall blog posts covering classic literature, classical authors, and everything in between.

The Work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “Composed Purely and Wholly of the Stuff of the Soul”

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Even in English translation, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s works pulse with the terror and ecstasy of the human soul. But don’t take our word for it. In her essay on Russian literature, British author Virginia Woolf wrote this: “The novels of Dostoevsky are seething whirlpools, gyrating sandstorms, waterspouts which hiss and boil and suck us in.” She went on to say that the only author more powerful than Fyodor Dostoyevsky was Shakespeare. While some authors (most notably Vladimir Nabokov) can’t stand Dostoyevsky’s frenzied style of composition, no one can deny his immense influence on 20th and 21st century art and […]

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From Confucius to the Communists: Five of the Best Chinese Writers

AuthorsClassic LiteratureContemporary Literature

No other civilization in the world has endured as long as the Chinese. Despite wars, famines, revolutions, and imperialism, the Chinese have been able to retain their language and cultural heritage for some 5,000 years. With China’s rapid economic development in the 21st century, it’s clear that this nation will be a major player in global politics for the years to come. And one of the best ways for outsiders to dip into the mind of the Middle Kingdom is to take a look at the nation’s best writers. Of course, it’d take a few pretty thick books just to […]

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Beauty and the Beast: Differences Between the Book and the Movie (2017)

Children's BooksClassic Literature

Movie-goers can’t seem to get enough of Disney’s most recent version of Beauty and the Beast. The entertainment company’s 2017 live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast raked in an impressive $500 million in global ticket sales. While Disney made a few changes from their 1991 animated version of Beauty and the Beast, the 2017 film is still extremely different from the 18th-century source material. If you’ve never read the original fairy tale, you’ll probably be surprised to learn just how much “creative license” Disney took with this heartwarming story. In this article, we’ll go through a few of the […]

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21 Peter Pan Quotes About Fairies, Flying, and Growing Up

Children's BooksClassic LiteratureQuotes

For the last century, children and adults alike have taken immense pleasure from Peter Pan, a tale of adventure, fantasy, and never-ending childhood. Also known as Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up and Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan was written by Scottish playwright and novelist JM Barrie. First published as a play in 1904 and then as a full-length novel in 1911, the story tells of Peter and his many adventures on the island of Neverland. Filled with fairies, villains, mermaids, and friendship, Peter Pan remains one of the most beloved stories today. Here’s a selection of […]

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Five of the Best French Authors

AuthorsClassic LiteratureContemporary LiteratureNovel Knowledge
Five of the Best French Authors blog post feature image

From the Medieval poem La Chanson de Roland to the modern day author Michel Houellebecq, French authors have produced some of the most daring and influential works of European literature. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Indeed, France still holds the world record for the most Nobel Prizes for Literature. Not only does France produce great artistic minds, it attracts them too. As you probably know already, many of America’s finest authors “found their voice” in a Parisian café (e.g. Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Ezra Pound). In this list, we’ll take a look at five of France’s greatest writers. All […]

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Henry David Thoreau: America’s Favorite Rebel

AuthorsClassic LiteratureGenres
Henry David Thoreau blog feature image

The 19th century was a special time in American literature. Sometimes referred to as the American Renaissance, this era produced some of the finest American authors ever, including: Walt Whitman Herman Melville Emily Dickinson Edgar Allan Poe Nathanial Hawthorne One name that inescapably makes its way onto the lists of American canonical writers from this period is Henry David Thoreau. Famous for both his interesting lifestyle and his contemplative essays, Thoreau was a major critic of progress and technology and a strong supporter of individuality, political activism, and the natural world. In this article, we’ll explore why this Concord bachelor […]

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Virginia Woolf: England’s Modernist Master

AuthorsClassic LiteratureNovel Knowledge
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Along with James Joyce and William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf is considered one of the undisputed masters of “stream of consciousness” writing. Born in England in 1882, Woolf’s legacy far outlasted her short life, and her immense oeuvre continues to inspire artists, especially female writers, around the world. Photograph of Virginia Woolf, via Wikimedia Commons All of the greatest Virginia Woolf novels challenge how we think about the nature of human perception with their experimental prose and non-linear plots. Her work has also exerted and immense influence on feminist critics and historians who’ve worked hard to uncover an unbiased history of women in the Western […]

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Il Sommo Poeta: Dante Alighieri’s Life and Times

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Life and Times of Dante Alighieri

Along with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is one of the indispensable epics in the Western Canon. Without a doubt, the Divine Comedy is the most important literary work produced during the so-called “Dark Ages.” But don’t think Dante’s work is just a historical curiosity that has no bearing on how we live nowadays. Dante’s words and images still have the power to profoundly move 21st century readers. Indeed, many Italians still call Dante “il Sommo Poeta” (which means “The Supreme Poet”) or simply “The Poet.” With an epithet like that, you […]

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Jane Austen: Great Britain’s Greatest Novelist

AuthorsClassic LiteratureNovel Knowledge
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The British novelist Jane Austen only published four novels during her brief lifetime. Despite the rather small oeuvre of Jane Austen novels (six major novels, including two posthumously published works), nobody doubts Austen’s status as one of the greatest writers in the English language. Portrait of Jane Austen, via Wikimedia Commons Indeed, Austen is one of those rare authors beloved by both critics and the general public. It might seem strange that people in our technophilic 21st century would be at all interested in Austen’s “novels of manners” set in Regency England. However, every time a new film based on […]

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John Steinbeck’s East of Eden Quote: Perfect and Good [Quote Graphic]

Classic LiteratureQuotesWords Wednesday
John Steinbeck quote from East of Eden

This John Steinbeck quote comes from his 1952 novel East of Eden. East of Eden by John Steinbeck Published in September 1952, East of Eden follows several generations of two families whose stories intertwine: the Trasks and the Hamiltons. Set in the Salinas Valley of Central California, the setting is as much a character as any person in the novel. The story begins on the ranch of Irish immigrants Samuel and Liza Hamilton. While their land is notoriously infertile, the nearby lands are lush and productive—and it’s these lands that purchased by the wealthy stranger Adam Trask. Adam moves to […]

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