7 Best Books About English Literature

BookSummaryClub Blog 7 Best Books About English Literature

English literature can be somewhat confusing to many people, but this subject is thrilling, fun, and educational if you know the right books to go for. Many students complain of not finding their grip on some of the books about English literature they find online. Not to worry, we’re here to streamline the process and make it easier by providing some of the best books about English literature that contain literary history, etc.

Famous names publish these books, and we hear their names in our literature class during drama, prose, and poetry lessons. These books contain historical backgrounds that are needed in this present day, fantastic stories filled with human wisdom and knowledge essential for everyday life journeys. Dive in here if you enjoy reading literature novels on philosophy with great themes as we explore the 7 best books about English Literature. 

1•    “William Shakespeare – Henry IV Parts 1 and 2

Henry IV, Part 1 (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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Henry IV, Part 1 (Folger Shakespeare Library)
  • Shakespeare, William (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages – 01/01/2005 (Publication Date) – Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

You can’t talk about English Literature without mentioning one of the best authors, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare Henry IV parts 1 and 2 is a captivating story of honor and power. It’s a story that illustrates the tricky dance between nobility and commoners. In this book, Shakespeare explored the life of Prince Hal, who transformed from being a carefree and handsome young man to a king. 

In this novel, Shakespeare deftly combines political complicity with moving analyses of leadership and the slight dynamics between father and son. With a dash of humor from the endearing offender Falstaff, this literary work serves as an ageless reflection of the never-ending problems of the human condition. I read this book during my school days and it was worth it. You should do the same. 

2•    “Oliver Twist By Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist (1839) NOVEL ( VOLUME 2)
  • Dickens, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 98 Pages – 02/09/2016 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Only a few people will say they haven’t heard of Oliver Twist. I heard of the story long before it was even introduced in our English Literature class. Oliver Twist is a timeless novel by Charles Dickens, a famous author. In Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist,” the author follows the story of an orphaned kid as he passes through the harsh realities of Victorian-era London. 

Oliver Twist’s innocence stands in stark contrast to the harsh reality he experiences, revealing social inequities and the human spirit’s tenacity. Dickens creates a vivid image of poverty, crime, and, finally, salvation through colorful characters like Fagin and the Artful Dodger. This is a timeless and educating story you should go for if you need an English Literature book with so much knowledge and wisdom on the pages of a book.

3•    “Lyrical Ballads” By William Wordsworth

Lyrical Ballads
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Lyrical Ballads
  • Audible Audiobook
  • William Wordsworth (Author) – Mark Meadows (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/01/2012 (Publication Date) – BBC Audio (Publisher)

William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge co-authored the thrilling novel, “Lyrical Ballads.” The book is regarded as classical Romance literature you should go for because it has so many lessons for you to take in. It highlights the use of informal language—a break from the formal diction. The book highlights the beauty inherent in our everyday existence. This Williams Wordsworth’s book emphasizes the relationship between nature, emotion, and the human experience. It is especially noteworthy for outlining the precepts of Romantic poetry. Anyone who has read this powerful literary work by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor will attest to the fantastic job done by the authors. This should be a must-read.

4•    The Pilgrim’s Progress By John Bunyan 

The Pilgrim's Progress
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The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Audible Audiobook
  • John Bunyan (Author) – James Langton (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/22/2010 (Publication Date) – Tantor Audio (Publisher)

The Pilgrim’s Progress is a novel published by John Bunyan that is highly recommended for English Literature students interested in a book that teaches about the spiritual challenges and accomplishments of the Christian life. The story digs through the concepts of faith, temptation, endurance, and the final reward of heavenly glory, serving as a powerful analogy for the journey of the believers. 

Because of John Bunyan’s continued impact, his writings are among the most recognized, and the translations are masterworks of English literature. Ensure you pay maximum attention while reading it to pick up a lesson or two about the Christian journey from this story.

5•     “The Canterbury Tales” By Geoffrey Chaucer 

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale (Modern Verse Translation)
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The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve’s Tale (Modern Verse Translation)
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Geoffrey Chaucer (Author) – John Rowe (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/30/2012 (Publication Date) – Naxos AudioBooks (Publisher)

“The Canterbury Tales” is one of the best English Literature novels I’ve read so far; I read this book about seven years ago and it still feels like today. The novel covers many genres like romance, fabliau, and allegory, which gives the story a diverse view of nature. It was written in the late 14th century by one of the famous writers, Geoffrey Chaucer. “The Canterbury Tales” is a compilation of tales recounted by pilgrims traveling to Canterbury to visit Thomas Becket’s shrine. 

Furthermore, Geoffrey Chaucer in this story offers readers a diverse collection of characters from various social classes and backgrounds within a framework, creating a multiple picture of medieval English society. This literary masterpiece, provides an insight into the essential social and cultural dynamics of this era all thanks to Chaucer’s humor and wisdom.

6•       “The Rape of the Lock” By Alexander  

The Rape of the Lock
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The Rape of the Lock
  • Hardcover Book
  • Pope, Alexander (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 56 Pages – 10/13/2019 (Publication Date) – Mount Orleans Press (Publisher)

Alexander Pope’s humorous poem “The Rape of the Lock,” which was published in 1712, send-ups how members of upper society behave. It’s a fictional story of a girl named Belinda and how, while playing cards, her hair gets taken away without a clue as to who did it. The poem illustrates how absurd it is to make a big deal out of little things by using sophisticated vocabulary to discuss simple topics.

Furthermore, Alexander Pope mimics the morals of the wealthy in eighteenth-century England by using humor. “The Rape of the Lock” is a creative and funny reflection on the ruling cultural ideals because of the way he used grand and heroic language to describe everyday happenings, which adds a layer of irony.

7•     “Middlemarch” By Mary Ann Evans Under the Pen Name George Eliot 

Middlemarch. NOVEL (1871) by: George Eliot. (pen name of Mary Ann Evans) ( It was first published in 1871 to 1872.)
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Middlemarch. NOVEL (1871) by: George Eliot. (pen name of Mary Ann Evans) ( It was first published in 1871 to 1872.)
  • Eliot, George (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 516 Pages – 12/07/2016 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Middlemarch is one of the English Literature books I love due to its concise study of society and masterful narrative. George Eliot illustrates the stories of several residents of the town of Middlemarch. The story explores their relationships, way of life, and their various forms of overcoming obstacles. The novel is renowned for its realistic characters and deep insight into human nature. “Middlemarch” by George Eliot is regarded as one of the best English Literature novels because of its rich storytelling and humor.

Wrapping Up

Books on English Literature we discussed in this post cut across diverse genres, periods, and styles. We took our time to show you a glimpse of the great expectations that await you if you dedicate a little time to read any of the books. You can also check out books by renowned authors like James Joyce, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift,  William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, etc. 

Also, the  Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an English Literature book you should have in your collection. You can also gain inspiration from these books if you’re an article writer or an author. Pick up one of these books, and have a great read!

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