Guess the Classic revised

New English word? Translate any word using double click.

I have been going through my older posts. One of my favorite classroom activities in the past was to hand out little excerpts or passages from classic literature and have my participants guess what they were. I chose stories that I knew or at least suspected everyone to ‘somehow’ know.

(Further down you will find a spoiler alert as in this post you find the answers to the excerpts. Do not continue reading on from there if you still want to go through the six classics you find in separate posts under the category ‘Guess the Classic’).

There are narratives, films and literature, that seem to be in something we could call our common subconsciousness. Everyone would agree, e.g., that they know the stories of many fairy tales even if we might not have read them ourselves, and if we have, then most likely not any time recently.

And sure enough, most of the passages were eventually guessed.

When reading the Guess the Classic series, please scroll down and start with No. 1. You find them under the category “Read, Read, Read”, but I have also created an additional category for this series alone as already mentioned above.

The first post, written some years ago, starts with:

Research has shown that the vast majority of words are learned in and from context. So the more you expose yourself to the language, the more your vocabulary will grow. Besides listening, reading is one of the keys to vocabulary growth. So read, read, read – especially things that interest you, that you enjoy, or that are in any way meaningful to you.

This is advice I never tire to repeat!

By going through all posts, I realized that the answers were unfortunately placed. So I extracted them and put them together here, down below.


Classic 6 is from:



Classic (5) is from Edgar Allan Poe‘s The Tell-Tale Heart.

One of my favorite bands ever was, has been and still is (even if I don’t listen much any more) Alan Parson’s Project. Their first album was the musical transformation of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s ballads and stories. Absolutely brilliant. You can listen to them online on YouTube.

The Raven, e.g., is a very intense, atmospheric and quite long ballad about a man mourning his lost love – a woman named Lenore – and who is being haunted by a raven that symbolizes the hopelessness and despair of his situation. You can read the original here; the lyrics of Alan Parson’s version are below. Though much shorter than the original, the lyrics in combination with the music capture the mood and atmosphere of the original brilliantly. Here a video Alan Parsons Project’s 1976 song ‘The Raven’

Classic (4) is from H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds, first published in 1898; the latest (loose) film adaptation produced by Steven Spielberg starring Tom Cruise and Tim Burton.

Most remarkable was the 1938 radio broadcast directed and narrated by Orson Welles. You can download it from or listen to it on Legend has it that listeners who had missed the introductory part of the play mistook it for reality, panicked and fled from their homes, clogging streets and highways in the Northeastern United States and Canada.

Classic (3) was from 1984 by George Orwell, published in 1949.

The novel has enjoyed a recent increase in sales following the discussions around the US government’s surveillance practices.

CNN Money reports that sales have risen by 10,000 %.

Another few lines from a well-known story; its film version(s) probably more widely known than the original novel, which was published in 1898 and broadcast  as a quite dramatic and consequential radio play in 1938.

Classic (1) was the beginning of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1897. The Irish author created the character of the noble vampire in the 19th century and until today it has inspired many works of fiction, the latest (I think) being the Twilight series. My personal favorite film adaptation is Roman Polanski’s by now classic Dance of the Vampires (or: The Fearless Vampire Killers) from 1967, a more humourous uptake of the theme.

If you’re wondering where the answer to Classic (2) is – I didn’t find it necessary 😉

Lyrics to The Raven

The clock struck midnight
And through my sleeping
I heard a tapping at my door
I looked but nothing lay in the darkness
And so I turned inside once more

To my amazement
There stood a raven
Whose shadow hung above my door
Then through the silence
It spoke the one word
That I shall hear for evermore


Thus quoth the raven, nevermore

And still the raven remains in my room
No matter how much I implore
No words can soothe him
No prayer remove him
And I must hear for evermore

Quoth the raven, nevermore
Thus quoth the raven, nevermore

[ These are The Raven Lyrics on ]

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