What the Dickens? Britain's reluctant readers can't name Great Expectations author

Some 31 per cent of people don't know that Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations, while one in six clueless over origins of Hamlet

His works are an integral part of our literary canon, but a third of British people were unable to name Charles Dickens as the author of Great Expectations in a new survey.

Thirty-one per cent of adults were clueless as to the authorship of the Victorian classic, while one in six were unable to identify William Shakespeare as the writer of Hamlet.

The Da Vinci Code was the most widely-read contemporary novel among Britons, followed by Harry Potter, Adrian Mole, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

More than a quarter of the 2,000 respondents had not read any of the books on a list of classics comprising: Animal Farm, Great Expectations, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men, Catcher in the Rye, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Much Ado About Nothing.

The report, conducted by Opini um Research, found men read less than women, with 21 per cent admitting to not reading a single book in the last 12 months, compared to 10 per cent of women.

The average Briton was found to read seven books a year, with a quarter of UK adults having read fewer than five books in the last year.

Half of respondents said a lack of time was the biggest hurdle preventing them from reading.

A quarter said they prefer to do things they find more interesting, while 15 per cent would rather watch the film version of a book.

The most popular time to read is before bed, followed by on holiday. Only five per cent said they read a book on their way to work.

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, said: "Unfortunately for many people reading is now a luxury and something which they cannot commit a great deal of time to.

"Over the summer many will have taken the opportunity to relax with a good book and have hopefully reminded themselves how much they enjoy reading.

"What would be great is if everyone decided to pick one classic book to read during the winter months. My favourite classic is Cannery Row by John Steinbeck."

QUIZ: can you name the authors of these classics?

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones