❶ Dead authors can’t harass you. But they may eat your brains.
❷ You’ll increase your vocabulary. And possibly have a good laugh at how word usage has changed. ‘Ejaculation’ didn’t mean what it does today. *snickers*
➌ You’ll understand literary references in conversation, in other books, in TV and film.
➍ You can watch and compare stage and screen adaptions with the books they’re based on.
➎ You can read about history and culture in context.
➏ You’ll be challenged both in ideas and beliefs but also cognitively when you’re puzzling through the Middle English of Chaucer and the more modern Shakespeare.
➑ ‘A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way. And this, too, is a surprise that gives a lot of pleasure, such as we always gain from the discovery of an origin, a relationship, an affinity.’ – Italo Calvino
➒ ‘Your classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you to define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him.’ – Italo Calvino
➓ ‘A classic is a book that comes before other classics; but anyone who has read the others first, and then reads this one, instantly recognizes its place in the family tree.’ – Italo Calvino
Image: Brenda Starr