Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my Syllabus if I Taught ‘Classic British Lit 101’

Welcome back to Top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week is one of my favorite topics yet: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101. I’ve done a little teaching as a university student. One day, I would love to teach full time at a university or community college. I have a million ideas for potential classes I would hope to teach. So it was a little hard to narrow it down. Ultimately, I went with Classic British Lit 101. Yes, this list could be twice, three times, infinitely longer. Yes, I favor 19th century literature. Yes, I indulge outside of strictly books. But I love it! I don’t always write about classics so I’m excited about this list!

In graduate school, I studied British Literature and absolutely loved it. If I could only choose one class, I would love to teach some of my favorite classics 🙂

Persuasion by Jane Austen // Austen is top of my list of favorite classic British authors. Persuasion is my favorite for its beautiful characters, detailed imagery, and classic love story.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens // Dickens belongs in this class for obvious reasons. I love that A Christmas Carol is accessible and more concise than a lot of Dickens; yet it also explores deep themes of humanity and the value of service and money.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis // I would read all of the Chronicles of Narnia if I had the time. I read this series start to finish, back to back last year and fell in love with it all over again. The religious symbolism is beautiful and moving.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte // I finally read this one last year. Its classic for its Gothic setting, brooding Mr Rochester, and compelling story. I love Jane and I love her story.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell // I want to read more of Gaskell’s books. Cranford is a series published originally in a magazine about a community of women who live as the railroad comes to their small village and changes their world. The BBC has a great adaptation as well.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde // This play is one of my favorites. It’s hilarious! Following the story of two men who both pretend to be named Earnest to impress two women whom they love, this play shows the importance of family, names, and love.

“In Memoriam” by Lord Alfred Tennyson // This poem is a beautiful epic that defines Victorian poetry. Another one I read in school, this poem helped me appreciate the writings of Tennyson.

“Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth // I fell in love with Wordsworth’s poetry in college. This is one of my absolute favorites. I have visited the Lake District several times and love it. One day, I would love to see Tintern Abbey for myself.

Hamlet or Macbeth by William Shakespeare // It’s hard to narrow down to one Shakespeare play. These tragedies are both compelling and thought provoking. They explore the complex themes of life and death, humanity, and truth. I’d love to teach them.

Paradise Lost by John Milton // The only time I’ve read this epic poem is in high school. But I remember it being moving and far more interesting than I anticipated. This one definitely belongs on this syllabus.

32 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my Syllabus if I Taught ‘Classic British Lit 101’

  1. I see a few books that I still haven’t read yet. *le sigh* I taught a unit on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last year to my 5th grade class. They loved it! I got the teacher’s guide from the CS Lewis Foundation. We had loads of great discussions. You have a great list!


    1. Thanks! It’s hard to read everything we want to, right? My TBR pile is always increasing faster than I can read. Your unit on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe sounds fantastic! Very cool to get a teachers guide. If I ever teach Narnia, I will have to check that out!


  2. Yes! What a great list, Jane! Love that you have ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Cranford’ on there. And ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’… Ah, makes me want to pick up some classics right now and start re-reading them, haha!


  3. Great topic! I’m reading my first Gaskell right now (North and South), and I know I’ll want to get to Cranford soon too. I’m also listening to the audiobook of Persuasion at the moment. I read the book years ago, and I’m really enjoying revisiting it!


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