Skip to Main Content
Read, Watch, Listen



Old Stories Given New Life

January 2012

We all know those classics. The ones we had to read for high school. Some of us remember them fondly, some of us not so fondly, but we all remember them. Something about those stories stayed with us and become part of us as individuals and as a society. The language and props may become dated and hard to understand, but the characters, themes, and essence of the story remains true and relatable.

As the authors of our time make their own stories, it is no surprise that they are inspired by their most beloved classics. Skilled authors take the timeless themes and characters of masters like Shakespeare, Bronte, Austen, and twist and spin them into modern retellings or whole new stories inspired by the classic.

As you look through the following list, if you see a book you were forced to read and never could grasp . . . check out one of the contemporary novels it inspired. Maybe it will give you new insight into the classic. And if you find a contemporary book you find interesting, check out the classic version.

Recommended Reads

Classic: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Classic: Arabian Nights

Classic: Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Classic: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Classic: Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Classic: Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Classic: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Classic: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Classic: A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Classic: The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Classic: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Classic: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Classic: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Classic: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Classic: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Classic: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

List Created By

Latricia Markle

Children's Librarian, Tenafly Public Library


Related Guides