Thursday, June 16, 2011

Help Please!

Just a quick post here...I need your help. I'm looking for classic literature written by authors that are NOT English or American.
As many of you know I am one of the administrators of the Shelfari group Who Doesn't Love a Classic. Well, one of my main tasks in this group is to pick an author for our bi-monthly group read (I switch between male and female authors each time). But I mostly only know of classic authors from England and America, and of course some Russians (but they intimidate me, shhh don't tell!). But I'd really like to branch out. Other countries, ethnicities, etc. Now, we mainly go for works written in the early 1900s or before. I just really don't know where to start and need some good suggestions. I figured asking you all would be a good jumping off point :)


Dorothy A. said...

Hermann Hesse!

SusieBookworm (Susanna) said...

Try German and French - there's tons of those, Goethe, Kleine, Thomas and Klaus Mann, etc. for Germany, and the Dumas, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Zola, and Balzac (and a ton more) for France. There's plays and novels available from Spain (the most famous is probably Don Quixote), and there's also looking at the non-Western canon. A lot of classics appear religious, but Penguin and Oxford, for example, have many anthologies of folktale or translations of various epics, especially Indian.

Sarah said...

I was thinking some of the Germans and French also, while trying to remember some that I remember from school- Kafka, Camus, Voltaire. You could go way back and snag some of the Greeks and Romans. What about Canadians? LM Montgomery, though Atwood is too recent. Probably could look on some of those lists of books to read before you die to see who is in the right time period, and where they are from.

Shannon Young said...

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
The Inferno by Dante

Dana said...

I immediately thought of Victor Hugo - gotta love Les Mis! Sadly didn't think of Canadians - and I am one. I'll go flog myself now.

FBT said...

Hey, they've mentioned all the ones I was going to. I'll give you some Scandies

Knut Hamsun (Norweigan) - Hunger (it's Crime and Punishment lite)
Hjalmar Söderberg (Swedish) - Doctor Glas (this is awesome and full of women's issues)
August Strindberg (Swedish) - The Red Room (awesome satire)
The only Danes I can think of off-hand are HC Andersen (children's classics) and Sören Kierkegaard (philosophy)

Not sure how how well known these are outside of Scandinavia (I was raised in Sweden), but they're the first translated classics that came to mind.

llevinso said...

Thanks everyone! I can’t believe I forgot about so many great German and French writers. I’m embarrassed. And thanks for the Scandinavian names FBT. I love Hans Christian Andersen! I wish I had some more non-western authors though…

Audra said...

For non-Western writers/classics, off the top of my head I recommend:

Murasaki Shikibu - Tale of Genji
Lady Nijo
Basho -- a poet
The Book of Ramayana
The Bhagavad Gita
Sei Shonagon - The Pillow Book
Omar Khayyam - The Rubaiyat
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Rigoberta Menchú
Leonor Lopez de Cordoba
Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii (aka Lydia Paki Kamakaeha Lili'uokalani)
Clorinda Matto de Turner

Deborah Lawrenson said...

French classics? I think Emile Zola would be right up your street. Try the heartbreaking "L'Assommoir" or "Nana".

Trying really hard to post comments - one last attempt using a blog forum tip. Here goes.

Steph from said...

Zola is so depressing though. The pillow book, by a Japanese woman is an early novel.<a href="”)> Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust</a>

llevinso said...

Thanks for all the tips! I have a lot of researching to do based on all your advice :)

And I’m sorry commenting has been a problem for some. I’ve heard GFC has been having a lot of problems but I don’t know what to do about it. Grr.