Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Harsh Prabha Singh
Founder & Owner of: Serendipity and Soliloquy
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Family & Life and Healthy Living Writer
“Surely, by ‘Victorian Novels’ you don’t mean those big-fat, age-old decrepit weighty tomes people call Classic?” Er. Yes, I do, but I also mean those intellectually fulfilling creations of art, the legacy of great minds who lived long before our time.
The most common myth with respect to Victorian literature is that it is extremely difficult to understand. Here’s what I want you to know, it is exactly that, a myth. Great minds create great books which again create great minds. How’s that for a great thought and a great tongue twister?
Here are 5 tips for you on how to start reading and loving the books that were written by English men and women, over a hundred years ago !
- Understand the backdrop:
You know what? That classic wasn’t written yesterday. It was written over a century ago. It was a different time. The society in that era gave credence to etiquette, mannerism, propriety, and rules. It was Queen Victoria’s regime. It was England. It wasn’t anything like today. You have to fathom these facts before you start reading. Why? Because it will help you relate to the characters, their behavior, actions, and relationships.
- Keep the dictionary nearby:
You are going to add a lot of words to your current vocabulary by reading Victorian literature, provided, you keep the dictionary close and continuously look for the words that baffle you like ‘WHAT?’. Soon you’ll start enjoying those words. You will feel, no other word could have done justice to the meaning of a particular sentence.
- Use your imagination:
“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.”
That is a wonderful quote from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Widen your horizons of imagination to get the best out of classic literature. You are going to find lots and lots of rhetorical devices and figures of speech. You will realize, they absolutely add delightful effects to the text. Here’s a tip, do not read these books at a speed of light. Take your time to understand a sentence, pause and reflect upon it and then move on. Life’s too short to finish Victorian books in a hurry!
- Feel the emotions:
“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.”
The characters, make them your best friends, worst enemies or anything in between. It’s important to become a part of the fictional world, to see every word through the eyes and feel the emotions through the heart. Did you know, reading good books make you less of a judgmental freak and more of a lovely forgiving person? So, why not transform ourselves into better human beings? You will soon gain the ability to understand why real people in real world, do what they do, without hating them.
Once you are done reading that glorious novel, it’s time to discuss it out! If you can’t find a friend who has read the same book, seek online communities. Try Goodreads. Book discussions are the best for two main reasons. First, you get to let out your immense love or hatred for a particular character who, by the way, never existed in real life. Second, you might just come across something you absolutely missed out while you were reading it yourself!
These were my tips and tricks on how to get loving the most sumptuous of literary classics. If you are a voracious reader or just a regular one or if you’ve just finished your first Victorian classic and you have a particular style of reading, please do share in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to mention your most favorite Victorian classic!
Article Credits: Harsh Prabha Singh
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor