Researchers at the University of Liverpool found the prose of Shakespeare and Wordsworth and the like had a beneficial effect on the mind, providing a ‘rocket-boost’ to morale by catching the reader’s attention and triggering moments of self-reflection.

Using scanners, they monitored the brain activity of volunteers as they read pieces of classical English literature both in their original form and in a more duMbed-down, modern translation.

And, according to the Sunday Telegraph, the experiment showed the more ‘challenging’ prose and poetry set off far more electrical activity in the brain than the pedestrian versions.