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Articles on Guide to the Classics

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The Leopard/IMDB

Guide to the Classics: The Leopard

The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) has been regarded as a classic of European literature since soon after its publication in 1958. It recounts the decline and fall of Sicily’s aristocracy.
An illustration of the allegory of the cave from Plato’s Republic. 4edges/Wikimedia Commons

Guide to the classics: Plato’s Republic

Plato's Republic is one of the most influential books in history. It has been claimed by people on all sides of the political spectrum and continues to resonate today.
Robert Redford played the golden Gatsby in 1974. IMDB

Guide to the classics: The Great Gatsby

Status anxiety and conspicuous consumption generate a dazzling, often surreal poetry in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. But Gatsby’s rise and fall exposes deep fissures underlying the American Dream.
Poet Walt Whitman in his home in New Jersey in 1891. Born 200 years ago this week, Whitman is celebrated in America for his daring poetry collection Leaves of Grass. Samuel Murray/Wikimedia Commons

Guide to the classics: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and the complex life of the ‘poet of America’

Walt Whitman is perhaps America's most admired poet. His work, now praised for its themes of equality and democracy, was once shunned for its experimental verse and discussion of sexuality.
Linen Market, Dominica, oil painting by Agostino Brunias, circa 1780. Wikimedia Commons

Guide to the classics: Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys's prequel to Jane Eyre explores the monstrous figure of Rochester's mad wife Bertha, prompting readers to think about the racialised legacies of colonialism.
Li Kui (李逵), one of the characters in The Water Margin, battles tigers after they killed his mother. Utagawa Kuniyoshi, between between 1845 and 1850. Wikimedia

Guide to the classics: The Water Margin, China’s outlaw novel

In The Water Margin, first put to paper in the 14th century, local injustice is the rule, and defence against cruel local authority is a matter of vengeance, stratagem, and violence
One important reason for the Spartans’ obsession with fighting was the constant possibility they would need these skills in war and also at home, in Sparta itself. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: who were the Spartans?

From about age seven, Spartan children learned to fight and practise obeying orders. They also staged pretend battles. Boys and girls were trained separately.
Kahlil Gibran, The Divine World (1923), Illustration for The Prophet, Charcoal. Gibran Museum

Guide To The Classics: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

After Shakespeare and Laozi, Kahlil Gibran is the highest selling poet ever, largely thanks to The Prophet, a set of 26 prose poems.

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