What is your favorite “classic” literary period and why?
Considering that I have only been studying literature for two years, I am not familiar with literary periods; therefore, I had to research it. The Literature Network has this excellent Literary Periods and Movements graphic on its site.
It was helpful to know where authors fit in before I determined which movements contained authors I have so far enjoyed. I was able to consider those periods as some of my most-liked; but probably I have not read enough to understand my absolute most favorite time period. Basically, I cannot answer the question fully.
For now, as a (young) student of literature, I see that my preferred authors tend to fall in these periods:
(Spanish) Renaissance, with Cervantes;
Romantic, with Austen, Melville, and Hawthorne;
Realism, with Twain, Tolstoy, and Orwell (though he has been called anti-realist);
Transcendental, with Thoreau and Emerson;
Existentialism, with Camus and Dostoyevsky;
Naturalism, with Wharton and Crane;
and Victorian, with Brontë and Dickens.
Some of my other favorite authors fell in the area of Modernism - of which I have struggled to find any great works, so far; however, I do like early Modern authors, such as, Fitzgerald, and I do enjoy Hemingway in a very strange way. (He frustrates me, but I tolerate his writing for his stories and their truths.) It is still no wonder that later modern writers and I do not get along at all.
After looking over the broad view of periods, my heart tends to lean toward the periods and movements from 1820 to the early 1900's, covering Realism, Transcendental, Victorian, early Existentialism, through Naturalism. The only reasons I can think of why I am attracted to these periods is because I prefer reality and truth in its most natural state, with a greater focus on characters and people and nature.
That is the best I can do, as far as narrowing it down. But maybe in a few more years, I will know better what my favorite literary period is.