Be it as an e-book, audiobook, on a tablet or classically in print: Books are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in other worlds, to find new inspiration or to digress with thoughts and to enjoy the multifaceted forms of literature. Here are ten classics of world literature that you should have read at some point in your life:
1. Jack Kerouac – “On the Road” (1957)
The autobiographical novel is considered the “Beat Generation” manifesto par excellence. Kerouac wrote his best-known work in just three weeks, creating a travel novel that continues to inspire free spirits and fortune seekers to this day.
2. Vladimir Nabokov – “Lolita” (1955)
In prudish 1950s America, Nabokov’s novel about paedophile Humbert Humbert sparked a scandal. At the same time, the work is much more than the psychological representation of a morally questionable relationship. “Lolita” is a book that becomes an exciting novelty experience every time it is read.
3. Umberto Eco – “The Name of the Rose” (1980)
With his debut, Eco made his breakthrough as a writer. Set in a Benedictine abbey in 1327, the novel is considered a typical example of postmodern writing, as it unites several genres and offers countless possibilities for interpretation. exciting!
4.Jane Austen – “Pride and Prejudice” (1813)
In the book toplists of world literature, female authors are a rarity. All the more we recommend the reading of Austen’s most famous work: The love story around Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals the states of society at the turn of the century from the 18th century to the 19th century as vivid and stirring as no other.
5. Günther Grass – “The Tin Drum” (1959)
Grass became world famous with his portrayal of the chewy Oskar Mazerath, who stops growing at the age of three. The novel is the first part of Grass’s “Gdansk Trilogy” and is considered one of the most important works of postwar literature.
6. Franz Kafka – “The Transformation” (1915)
Although Kafka’s “transformation” is rather unpopular as school reading, the narrative of Gregor Samsa waking up one morning as a beetle in his bed provides a story in which many find themselves at some point in their lives: After developing into a new form of his I meet with rejection from Samsa’s family and society. A story of otherness and the search for acceptance.
7. George Orwell – “1984” (1949)
The main character Winston Smith lives in a totalitarian dictatorship. This literary example of an unpleasant surveillance state is often cited even in modern times as a reminder of the fatal consequences of such “Big Brother” systems. A novel that leaves a lasting impression.
8. Albert Camus – “The Stranger” (1942)
With his novel “The Stranger,” Camus provided a literary work that is more relevant today and encourages the reader to reflect on his own and the foreign, xenophobia and enemy images. Set in 1930s Algeria, the novel is considered one of the most important works of the 20th century.
9. James Joyce – “Ulysses” (1922)
At around 800 pages, Joyce’s “Ulysses” is definitely not an easy fare. Still, the novel is worth the time and effort: Echoing Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s protagonist Leopold Bloom wanders through Dublin on June 16, 1904 – a literary work that reading fans worldwide honour every year with the “Bloomsday” on that very date.
10. Milan Kundera – “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1984)
Kundera’s global success is far more than the love story surrounding protagonists Teresa and Tomas. Rather, in his multi-layered novel, the exiled author reveals the peculiarities of the individual and the influence of individual people on their environment in the time-historical context of the Prague Spring. A novel that continues to thrill.