Everyone knows the classic gems of English literature, like “Pride and Prejudice”, “David Copperfield” and “Jane Eyre”. But have you heard of these 10 hidden gems of English literature by famous authors?
10 Hidden Gems of English Literature:
- Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Romola by George Eliot
- Essays by Joseph Addison
- The Roots of the Mountains by William Morris
- The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
- Villette by Charlotte Bronte
- The World my Wilderness by Rose Macaulay
- An Indian Summer by James Cameron
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
This historical fiction is set during the anti-Christian riots of the late eighteenth century and follows a host of characters. Ranging from the titular hero who is one of the riot leaders to forbidden lovers on opposite factions of the war, this book has unforgettable characters. It is not as famous as Dickens’ other works like “Great Expectation”, but is masterful.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
This work often gets overshadowed by Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” for which he won the Pulitzer. However, this is an equally important work. It tells the story of the mass hysteria and paranoia during the Salem witch hunt wherein a group of women accused people of witchcraft for personal gains. This is an allegory for the McCarthyism during Miller’s times.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This book is an essential companion to understanding the geography of England and the social implications that it has. It follows Margaret Hale who moves from South England after her father retires from church service to North England. Here she discovers a completely different world to which she must adjust.
Romola by George Eliot
“Middlemarch” might be Eliot’s magnum opus but this book is no less in comparison. It follows late fifteenth century Florence and tells the story of the turbulent religious period of the time. It is especially wonderful to see Italy from the eyes of an Englishwoman who creates idyllic cityscapes of Italy just as finely as English midlands.
Essays by Joseph Addison
These compendium of essays by Addison contain some of the biggest truths of life. They encompass a variety of themes and subjects ranging from historicism and sociology to other important subjects.
The Roots of the Mountains by William Morris
This book is about the war of two ancient peoples and the epic romance that ensues, in the tradition of epic literature. This book is said to have inspired even J R R Tolkien, the master of fantasy. It is a work of art that is difficult to get through but worth it.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
If you love “Far From the Madding Crowd”, chances are you will love Hardy’s lesser known works too. Among them is this story of the Mayor of Casterbridge who sells his wife and daughter for money. He soon grows a fortune but this shameful secret forever taints his conscience. This is the story of a flawed protagonist, in Hardy’s naturalistic tradition.
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
This book, not as popular as Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” is nevertheless as great a classic. It follows a woman, who assumes the role of a teacher at a women’s school in the fictional city of Villette. Here, however, she falls in love with another professor, leading to tragic circumstances. This is a story of a woman’s love, and is deeply underrated.
The World my Wilderness by Rose Macaulay
In this book, a French girl, Barbara is sentenced to an English life by her mother. And in the wilderness around, she finds an “echo of her life in Provence” as the back cover says. In the process, she also learns to confront the wilderness within her. This extraordinary chronicle of a singular life is a hidden gem of both English literature and war literature.
An Indian Summer by James Cameron
In this autobiography that feels like a perfectly crafted fictional story, Cameron gives a British account of India. E M Forster’s “A Passage to India” is perhaps the most known tale of India from the English perspective, but this story of an Englishman who falls for and marries an Indian woman is a masterpiece.
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