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Category: Classic Literature

From short stories to poetry, this is where we share some of the best works of classic fiction in history.

Poetry Classics: To Helen, By Edgar Allan Poe

"To Helen" is the first of two poems to carry that name written by Edgar Allan Poe. The 15-line poem was written in honor of Jane Stanard, the mother of a childhood friend. It was first published in the 1831 collection Poems of Edgar A. Poe.

Poetry Classics: A Dream, By Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was one of the greatest yet mysterious poets in the world. His life shaped his poems and short stories; all the misery, sorrow, romantic feelings Poe suffered was expressed through his poems and short stories. He was part of the famous American Romantic Movement, consequently, most of his work was dark and disturbing.

Short Story Classics: Love Suicides, By Yasunari Kawabata

Palm-of-the-Hand Stories (掌の小説 tenohira / tanagokoro no shōsetsu) is the name Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata gave to more than 140 short stories he wrote over his long career, though he reputedly preferred the reading tanagokoro for the 掌 character. The earliest story was published in 1920 with the last appearing posthumously in 1972. The stories are characterized by their brevity – some are less than a page long – and by their dramatic concision.

Poetry Classics: The Tiger, By William Blake

This poem contemplates a question arising from the idea of creation by an intelligent creator. The question is this: If there is a loving, compassionate God or gods who created human beings and whose great powers exceed the comprehension of human beings, as many major religions hold, then why would such a powerful being allow evil into the world

Poetry Classics: Advice To A Son, By Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway wrote Advice to a Son right after the Roaring Twenties in the early 1930's. This poem shows the many things that Hemingway had learned after fleeing to Paris from America after the Great War. Hemingway in his early thirties was writing to his son through poetry about the harsh reality of life.

Short Story Classics: The Story Of An Hour, By Kate Chopin

"The Story of an Hour," is a short story written by Kate Chopin on April 19, 1894. It was originally published in Vogue on December 6, 1894, as "The Dream of an Hour". It was later reprinted in St. Louis Life on January 5, 1895, as "The Story of an Hour". The title of the short story refers to the time elapsed between the moments at which the protagonist, Louise Mallard, hears that her husband is dead, and when she discovers that he is alive after all. "The Story of an Hour" was controversial by American standards of the 1890s because it features a female protagonist who feels liberated by the news of her husband's death. In Unveiling Kate Chopin, Emily Toth argues that Chopin "had to have her heroine die" in order to make the story publishable". (The "heroine" dies when she sees her husband alive after he was thought to be dead.

Poetry Classics: The Road Not Taken, By Robert Frost

Frost's biographer Lawrance Thompson suggests that the poem's narrator is "one who habitually wastes energy in regretting any choice made: belatedly but wistfully he sighs over the attractive alternative rejected". Thompson also says that when introducing the poem in readings, Frost would say that the speaker was based on his friend Edward Thomas. In Frost's words, Thomas was "a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other"

Short Story Classics: Harrison Bergeron, By Kurt Vonnegut

"Harrison Bergeron" is a satirical and dystopian science-fiction short story written by Kurt Vonnegut and first published in October 1961. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the story was republished in the author's Welcome to the Monkey House collection in 1968.

Poetry Classics: Caedmon’s Hymn

The so-called Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) embeds this Anglo-Saxon hymn and the legend of its creation within his Latin text, An Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a book that describes the spread of Christianity in England. The hymn itself was composed in the mid- or late-7th century and so is the earliest surviving Old English poem.

Poetry Classics: Opportunity, By John James Ingalls

Opportunity, it is famously said, knocks only once. John James Ingalls, a U.S. Senator from Kansas, penned an ode to this simple but profound principle in the mid-19th century, and it was said to have become Theodore Roosevelt’s very favorite poem.

Poetry Classics: Ode 1.11, By Horace

Made famous by Robin Williams’ inspiring literature teacher in the film Dead Poets Society, Horace’s Ode 1.11 contains one of the most quoted Latin phrases — Carpe diem, or “Seize the day!”