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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.

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!”

Poetry Classics: The Iron Heel, By Jack London

The Iron Heel is a dystopian novel by American writer Jack London, first published in 1908. Generally considered to be "the earliest of the modern dystopian" fiction, it chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States. This is a poem inside the book which is a take on Jack London's view of life.

Poetry Classics: Ulysses, By Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Ulysses" is a poem in blank verse by the Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, written in 1833 and published in 1842 in his well-received second volume of poetry. An oft-quoted poem, it is popularly used to illustrate the dramatic monologue form.

Short Story Classics: The Mustache, By Guy De Mauspassant

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a popular 19th-century French writer. He is one of the fathers of the modern short story. A protege of Flaubert, Maupassant's short stories are characterized by their economy of style and their efficient effortless dénouement. He also wrote six short novels. A number of his stories often denote the futility of war and the innocent civilians who get crushed in it - many are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s.

Poetry Classics: “The Soldier” By Rupert Brooke

This poem was written at the beginning of the First World War in 1914, as part of a series of sonnets written by Rupert Brooke. Brooke himself, predominantly a prewar poet, died the year after “The Soldier” was published. “The Soldier”, being the conclusion and the finale to Brooke’s ‘1914’ war sonnet series, deals with the death and accomplishments of a soldier.

Short Story Classics: A Telephonic Conversation, By Mark Twain

In 1879, Mark Twain became a very early adopter of Alexander Graham Bell's new invention (in 1876) of the telephone, a big step beyond the telegraph because it made possible voice communication at a distance, ordinary talk via electric current over a wire. A new adventure for humanity. Being Mark Twain, he also was early and keenly aware of some cultural side effects and ironies of new technological developments. Twain's sketch "A Telephonic Conversation" recounts an overheard conversation in his home, perhaps partly fabricated or embellished but true to life. This sketch is so early in the history of the telephone that it's likely that the majority of Americans, even of readers of his sketch, had never yet heard a voice via a telephone

Short Story Classics: The Little Match Girl, By Hans Christian Andersen

The Little Match Girl, also titled, The Little Matchstick Girl is one of our Favorite Fairy Tales. Published by Hans Christian Andersen in 1845, it exemplifies his broad literary talent and ability. I personally like to read this story at least twice a year, once in Autumn as the holiday season comes into focus, and then again around the Christmas holiday. It's a gentle reminder of the value of compassion and charity. The Little Match Girl Study Guide is a resource for teachers and students.