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What makes a classic?





Zampano
I'm not really sure why writers seem to write thing that 50 years later become classics and make their graves very famous, but I guess that's just how it is.

Anyway, what do you think qualifies/disqualifies a classic book?
TurtleShell
"Classic" is a very broad term, but I think most literature becomes "classic" if it's
1. well written
2. has some effect on the time and place when it's published
3. is a reflection of something important happening during the time when it is written

I don't think a classic needs to fit all of these qualifications...the most essential part of a classic novel is it needs to have an element of timelessness (otherwise it slips into obscurity...).
evanc88
You're right, it simply needs to be timeless. In my opinion, a classic book is one that transcends time and speaks to generations forever after it is published. It doesn't have to be well known. Mostly, classics are the supreme representatives of their type. There were books like "On the Road" published before and after Kerouac published it, but his is the classic. There were others like "1984" (such as the Russian novel "We") before Orwell made his book a classic. They're just the best and, essentially, perfect representatives of their time.
drag0n
Classic works can always be applied to a modern situation. Classic works often deal with human character, love, war and other topics, those things were always here and are here, and will be here. Those kind of things don't age.
HoboPelican
One title - Moby Dick.

I think it is safe to call this a classic, but I wouldn't call it timeless (the writing style would never get an author published these days and I don't think there is much to recommend itself to current situations.

I am in a bit of a cynical mood right now, but I will go out on a limb and say that "classics" are often books that got forced down future teachers throats and they feel the need to reciprocate. Wink
oleszka
What makes a classic?
i think TIME what helps people to understand if it's good or bad book... if it's bad it will disappear at all... all classic books are endure
rameshbn1
HoboPelican wrote:
One title - Moby Dick...(the writing style would never get an author published these days ...)

...but I will go out on a limb and say that "classics" are often books that got forced down future teachers throats and they feel the need to reciprocate. Wink


I agree to both comments. I've found Moby Dick fasciating, yet a bit tedious at times. I've also had a few so called classics rammed down my throat during my college days.

I think about half of Moby Dick's popularity comes from the romance and implied action in the cover picture. I was a bit disillusioned when I read it for the first time. Of course, I was young then Wink
RoughitforGreen247
While I think that a timeless quality is reliable staple of the "classic" novel, I would not go so far as to say that it is required. A novel can be a classic for a number of other reasons, a significant and common one being a very strict timeness about it. A novel that captures a moment or sentiment in history to be later interpreted from the outside, and not related to, can be in the running for a classic before the first reader picks it up.

Also, a classic can be a book that brings a fresh insight to an old problem, a common insight to a new problem, a new insight to a new problem, or an old insight into an old problem, so long as it is written well. There also must be a sense of vagueness about the overall ideas of the book. A book whose message is transparent rarely impresses everybody. For a book to be considered a classic, it must leave the reader with the sense that the book is far smarter than the reader, without the book necessarily alienating the reader for this reason.

Probably the only thing all classics have in common is that they are written well enough so as to not completely undermine the other, more positive aspects of the novel. Other than that, it is anybodies guess why a particular novel made it to enduring stardom. My thoughts - roughit
slasonic
drag0n wrote:
Classic works can always be applied to a modern situation. Classic works often deal with human character, love, war and other topics, those things were always here and are here, and will be here. Those kind of things don't age.


Expounding on human character, characters which seem the most human make a classic
evanc88
slasonic wrote:
drag0n wrote:
Classic works can always be applied to a modern situation. Classic works often deal with human character, love, war and other topics, those things were always here and are here, and will be here. Those kind of things don't age.


Expounding on human character, characters which seem the most human make a classic


Any character presented honestly by a good writer seems human, and all books really deal with a sort of human condition. It's the only thing, really, that humans all have that relates to everyone. So, I don't know, there's no formula I don't think for a classic, but honest character don't just make one, in my opinion.
chastise
Personally, to me a classic is a book that moves readers of various ages, describes settings and scenes eloquently, and leaves a vivid image of the characters well after you've read the book. But technically there is no correct term of a 'classic' book, it all depends on what society thinks.
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