Classics in the Modern Age

by , Wednesday October 19, 2016
Classics in the Modern Age

Classics in the Modern Age

Another grand blog by Prodigy on modern adaptations of classics we all know of, and some we don't...



Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short;

Sail seas in cockles, have an wish but for't;

Making, to take your imagination,

From bourn to bourn, region to region-


Ahem. It’s not hard to admit that some of Classic literature can be a little obscure and outdated. Anyone who’s ever read Shakespeare knows that it’s not always something that you instantly adore with no effort. Luckily, the modern age has made great strides in making classic literature more approachable to the casual reader - and watcher! Here are a few modern books, movies, and TV shows that draw from classic stories and authors. Some you might be expecting, others might surprise you!


League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Comic/Movie)

Originating in a comic book series, this movie adaptation stars Sean Connery as Alan Quartermain from King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard - but he’s not the only iconic character to make an appearance. In this steampunk setting, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comes off almost as a crossover fan fiction, featuring characters such as Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray), Mina Murray (Dracula), Rodney Skinner (In homage to The Invisible Man), Dr. Jeckyll (Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde), Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), and Captain Nemo (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea). This is any classic literature lover’s dream combination, the characters play off each other in a fantastic setting. If you’ve read the comics or like the movie, there is currently a TV series following a very similar set of characters called Penny Dreadful airing on Showtime and Netflix.


Bridget Jones’s Diary (Movie)

This romantic comedy starring Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth is unapologetically based off of one of the most well known classic romances - Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In a nod to the original story, Colin Firth’s character is even named Mark Darcy, the true love of the protagonist Bridget Jones. After the success of the first movie and a subsequent sequel, a new movie called Bridget Jones’s Baby was just released last month! If you ever found Pride and Prejudice’s language beautiful but a bit hard to understand, this could be your chance to follow the plot in a more casual style!


The Song of Achilles (Book)

Anyone who knows me knows that I will unashamedly promote The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller to anyone who will listen - and for good reason. Following the tale of Achilles and Patroclus from the Illiad, The Song of Achilles also draws its plot and inspiration from classic authors as far back as Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, and Plato. While this might seem daunting, Miller writes these two heroes in such a gripping way that the reader is effortlessly sucked into their beautiful Greek world with flowing language and breathtaking imagery. Prepare to fall in love, prepare for tears, and expect many, many quotable lines. And if that’s not enough to capture your interest, this book is also LGBT+! (Also, feel free to come cry with me when you finish :) )


BBC’s Sherlock (TV)

While there have been many TV and film adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, perhaps none have been as successful as BBC’s Sherlock. With Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as his loyal sidekick John Watson, Sherlock takes the reader into the mind of one of the most famous detectives of all time. In an incredibly well done production, Sherlock doesn’t only stand out for it’s excellent actors, but also for gripping writing and masterful cinematic displays. The best part about this show is how they’ve managed to incorporate the feel of Doyle’s story into a modern setting with new technology. After all, Sherlock’s genius can’t be limited to only one century!


10 Things I Hate About You (Movie)

At first glance, 10 Things I Hate About You is just another romcom starring Julia Stiles and heartthrob Heath Ledger. After digging a little deeper, however, you might be surprised to find that this story draws its plot from Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew. “The Taming of the Shrew” might not jump out to you from the bookshelf, but by modernizing the plot, 10 Things I Hate About You sneaks some Shakespeare into our daily lives! Not to mention, this movie is charming, witty, and entertaining; in fact, it was so successful that it was picked up as a TV show that ran for twenty episodes. Since this movie is a clear derivative of Shakespeare, you might even be able to convince your English teacher to watch it in class! (Good luck with that :) )



Do you have a favorite adaptation of a classic story? Let us know in the comments!


Thanks to Prodigy for writing this blog and designing the banner :)


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