Chaucer’s career as a secret agent helped him assume different disguises in his writing. Some scholars interpret this role-playing as Chaucer being sexist and anti-Semitic.
First published in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s children’s book has never been out of print. It continues to appeal to adults who prefer childhood.
Anonymous satire by a 1709 political writer worked like today’s partisan clickbait.
Written by Kenneth Grahame as a story for his young son, The Wind in the Willows has also been read as a social satire and a gay allegory.
It’s a very modern version which gives the female characters more agency than in previous adaptations.
Written in 1929, this short, passionate book highlighting the silencing of women’s voices continues to shape our culture.
The writer was drowned at the age of 44, but he left three novels which have come to represent the decline of the British Empire.
Great stories move and they challenge. They draw attention to diverse social and cultural issues and to the transformative potential of empathy. But they can be difficult too.
Almost as soon as Dickens died in 1870, writers and illustrators began to take liberties with his life and career.
Dickens had some clever little narrative tricks, which become clear when his work is analysed as a single data set.
Bleach to defeat COVID-19 or fire to dispel plague, history is full of quack medicine.
A great novel transports you to a time and a place. Here are five of them.
New technology is helping archaeologists uncover details of the playwright’s home, workplaces and his final resting place.
The Bard’s plays have an unfair reputation for being hard. You’re probably reading them in the wrong way.
Some of the most exciting fiction and memoir is being done in the form of graphic novels. Here are some of the very best.
Books were an important weapon on the home front in the second world war.
Written 60 years after the bubonic plague swept London, Defoe’s account may have been a hoax, but it still rings true today.
Last year saw the first cohort of English literature students who were born in or beyond 2000 – the so-called digital generation. I wanted to know whether the classics still affected their lives.
How two ambitious men put their own interests ahead of the great writer and his family in an act of institutionally-sanctioned bodysnatching.
The latest version of Dickens’ classic is a refreshingly diverse tale of the triumph of the ordinary heroism over everyday evil.