During my junior year of English, I recall underlining passages in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. If you look at my bookshelf, a copy of that old and wrinkled paperback still sits in the second tier. My English teacher emphasized how we were reading a classic and that it was important we understood the gravity of Mr. Twain’s insights.
As a sixteen year old, I failed to understand the magnitude of Twain’s words in Huck Finn. The combination of labeling the book as “required” reading and the quizzes and tests detracted me from appreciating the sheer beauty of the words and the relevance of its themes. This past month, my dear friend Kristie gave me a very early edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a gift. Rereading these words are refreshing. The language, themes, metaphors, and characters felt relevant and inspiring. Just a few months earlier, I revisited The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Again, the crisp language and the descriptions of the 1920’s seem palpable and striking.
I’m curious. If you had a chance to revisit a classic piece of literature, what would you recommend reading? Do you think classics have relevance in a modern society?