What is the role of fiction in a world in which the US President claims that a recording of one his speeches is “fake news”?

It appears that we are now approaching a world in which the boundaries between fact and fiction are vanishing fast.

And yet even so, we tend to expect our students to be able to tell the difference between the truth and the make believe. We don’t, for example, expect them to treat Wilkie Collins’ “The Moonstone” as a true account of history.

Nor would we want them to believe that Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” was exactly what life was like in the late 19th century.  And yet it is and it isn’t.  It is close enough to a portrayal of London at the time to be related to the truth, but it is not the truth itself.

And in many ways this is the value of the classic novel.  It isn’t true in the sense that “most people have two legs” is true, or that “kangaroos are native to Australia” is true.  But it is not so far from the truth as we might feel the notion that “the earth is flat” is not true.

Reading classic literature (which has its own unique take on the past, present or future) is, in fact, one of the most effective ways in which we can help our students to overcome the contemporary difficulty that much of the world has in terms of truth and lies.

And this is why we have Wordsworth Editions – reprints of the classics from as little as £1.88 each (with no delivery charge and no minimum order) covering authors from Robert Louis Stephenson to F Scott Fitzgerald.  From Dickens to Mary Shelley.

If you would like to see our list, grouped into collections, please take a look at this page from our website.

And we also have our offer of a free book just in case you have not come across Wordsworth Editions before.  To receive a free sample of one of our classics without any obligation please do email education@wordsworth-editions.com with your name and the school address, and we’ll put it in the post to you with our compliments.

And that offer really is the absolute truth.  I promise.