1) The Metamorphoses “Ovid” is one of the best classical source of many myths. “The encyclopedic poem is the most comprehensive, creative mythological work that has come down to us from antiquity” (Galinsky). Based on its influence, “European literature and art would be poorer for the loss of the Metamorphoses than for the loss of Homer” (Hadas). Ovid was a major inspiration for Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton…
2) The Metamorphosis “Franz Kafka”- One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.
3) The Golden Ass “Apuleius”-Written towards the end of the second century AD, “The Golden Ass” tells the story of the many adventures of a young man whose fascination with witchcraft leads him to be transformed into a donkey. The bewitched Lucius passes from owner to owner – encountering a desperate gang of robbers and being forced to perform lewd ‘human’ tricks on stage – until the Goddess Isis finally breaks the spell and Lucius is initiated into her cult. Apuleius’ enchanting story has inspired generations of writers such as Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Keats with its dazzling combination of allegory, satire, bawdiness and sheer exuberance, and remains the most continuously and accessibly amusing book to have survived from Classical antiquity. “
4) Orlando: A Biography “Virginia Woolf”- In 1928, way before everyone else was talking about gender-bending and way, way before the terrific movie with Tilda Swinton, Virginia Woolf wrote her comic masterpiece, a fantastic, fanciful love letter disguised as a biography, to Vita Sackville-West. Orlando enters the book as an Elizabethan nobleman and leaves the book three centuries and one change of gender later as a liberated woman of the 1920s. Along the way this most rambunctious of Woolf’s characters engages in sword fights, trades barbs with 18th century wits, has a baby, and drives a car. This is a deliriously written, breathless-making book and a classic both of lesbian literature and the Western canon.
5) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde “Robert Louis Stevenson”- The young Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from repeated nightmares of living a double life, in which by day he worked as a respectable doctor and by night he roamed the back alleys of old-town Edinburgh. In three days of furious writing, he produced a story about his dream existence. His wife found it too gruesome, so he promptly burned the manuscript. In another three days, he wrote it again. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published as a “shilling shocker” in 1886, and became an instant classic. In the first six months, 40,000 copies were sold. Queen Victoria read it. Sermons and editorials were written about it. When Stevenson and his family visited America a year later, they were mobbed by reporters at the dock in New York City. Compulsively readable from its opening pages, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is still one of the best tales ever written about the divided self.
6) The Odyssey “Homer”
7) The Once and Future King “T. H. White”- T.H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.
8) Beauty and the Beast “Traditional”- The story of Beauty and the Beast has been retold for centuries
9) Lamia “John Keats”- The story of the love of Lamia, transformed from serpent to woman, and Lycius. They live, unseen by the world, in her fairy palace. Lycius insists upon marrying her publicly. His old tutor comes to the wedding feast, recognises Lamia’s true nature and denounces her. She disappears and Lycius dies.
10) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland “Lewis Carroll”