Classic Literature for Babies

We believe literature should be inclusive, so we've made the Western canon accessible to readers under one year old

Photo by Minnie Zhou

No one is born smart, but wouldn’t babies be much smarter if they read the great works of Western literature? Unfortunately, the English literary canon isn’t very accessible to babies. Here at Electric Literature, we believe in creating an inclusive, accessible reading experience, so we’ve taken the time and effort to painstakingly translate some of the greatest works of literature into baby-talk. Now, babies everywhere can finally read the classics. You’re welcome, babies.

The Gweat Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgewawd 

“Thewe must have been moments even that aftewnoon when Daisy tumbwed showt of his dweams—not thwough hew own fauwt, but because of the cowossaw vitawity of his iwwusion. It had gone beyond hew, beyond evewything. He had thwown himsewf into it with a cweative passion, adding to it aww the time, decking it out with evewy bwight feathew that dwifted his way. No amount of fiwe ow fweshness can chawwenge what a man wiww stowe up in his ghostwy heawt.”

Mrs. Dawwoway, Viwginia Wowf

“As we awe a doomed wace, chained to a sinking ship, as the whowe thing is a bad joke, wet us, at any wate, do ouw pawt; mitigate the suffewing of ouw fewwow-pwisonews; decowate the dungeon with fwowews and aiw-cushions; be as decent as we possibwy can.”

Jane Eywe, Chawwotte Bwonte

“Do you think, because I am poow, obscuwe, pwain, and wittwe, I am souwwess and heawtwess? You think wwong!—I have as much souw as you—and fuww as much heawt! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much weawth, I shouwd have made it as hawd fow you to weave me, as it is now fow me to weave you. I am not tawking to you now thwough the medium of custom, conventionawities, now even of mowtaw fwesh: it is my spiwit that addwesses youw spiwit; just as if both had passed thwough the gwave, and we stood at God’s feet, equaw—as we awe!”

Fwankenstein, Mawy Shewwey 

“Accuwsed cweatow! Why did you fowm a monstew so hideous that even you tuwned fwom me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautifuw and awwuwing, aftew his own image; but my fowm is a fiwthy type of youws, mowe howwid even fwom the vewy wesemwance. Satan had his companions, fewwow-deviws, to admiwe and encouwage him; but I am sowitawy and abhowwed.”

Womeo and Juwiet, Wiwwiam Shakespeawe 

“O, hewe
wiww i set up my evewwasting west,
and shake the yoke of inauspicious staws
fwom this wowwd-weawied fwesh. Eyes, wook youw wast!
Awms, take youw wast embwace! And, wips, o you
the doows of bweath, seaw with a wighteous kiss
a datewess bawgain to engwossing death!”

The Faewie Queene, Edmund Spensew 

“Ah wuckwesse babe, bowne vndew cwueww stawwe,
and in dead pawents bawefuww ashes bwed,
fuww witwe weenest thou, what sowwowes awe
left thee fow powtion of thy wiuewihed,
poowe owphane in the wide wowwd scattewed,
as budding bwaunch went fwom the natiue twee,
and thwowen fowth, tiww it be withewed:
such is the state of men: thus entew wee
into this wife with woe, and end with misewee.”

Beowuwf, Anonymous 

“Hwæt. We gawdena in geawdagum,
þeodcyninga, þwym gefwunon,
hu ða æþewingas ewwen fwemedon.
 Oft Scywd Scefing sceaþena þweatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetwa ofteah,
egsode eowwas. Syððan æwest weawð
feasceaft funden, he þæs fwofwe gebad,
weox undew wowcnum, weowðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwywc þawa ymbsittendwa
ofew hwonwade hywan scowde,
gomban gywdan.”

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