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Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:01 am
by Gail Allen
We often hear about these books - particularly in school. And I've often wondered... what exactly do people understand by it. What is a classic to them?
Of course there is something with age to many of them, but then, people already said Harry Potter was a classic before the last book was published, so it can't be that alone and I have the strong suspicion that it is a rather subjective thing to determine what a classic is.

What makes a book a classic in your opinion and do you have any examples that you definitely think deserve classic status, and are these books that you feel many people recognize as classics already?

Re: Classics

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:17 am
by Shiloh Adlar
So there have been two categories now that I see, and that are the Classics and the Modern Classics. I would put Harry Potter under Modern Classics but a book like Emma under Classics. Books that fall under Classics fit a certain time period when they were written and they have to be books that are considered timeless, much like I would consider Harry Potter to be for ages to come. People of all ages can enjoy these books and they were either mind blowing reads when they were written or later came into appreciation by literary critics who realized the importance of the literature for that time. As far as Modern Classics, they have the same criteria but it would include books that many of us saw published in our lifetimes. Maybe one day these books will be considered just Classics as well when new generations come along and new stories are being told.

Re: Classics

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:31 pm
by Alexandra Steele
I think part of what makes defining a "classic" so trick to pin down is that in most cases, a classic is something in which readers can still find something of themselves or their society, even if they are several generations removed. To go off Shiloh's example, I love Emma because even though the story is all premised around a social culture that I have (thankfully) never lived in, I can still very much identify with the feeling of thinking that I know exactly what is best, and then being completely and embarrassingly wrong. Similarly, Harry Potter covers a lot of the anxieties that come with transitioning into the stressful non-structure of adulthood, where it's freeing and terrifying not to have anyone who can tell you what you're supposed to do.

Of course, I think there's a lot to be said nowadays for how many more people have input into whether a book deserves recognition as a possible classic. Don't get me wrong, I love Austen, but there are plenty of so-called classics that I could happily have lived without ever reading, but had to because some rich guy a hundred years ago decided it was a jolly good book. Now with review sites like Amazon and Goodreads, there's a lot more to consider, and I think in the future the category of "classic" is going to get a lot more blurred.

Re: Classics

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:27 pm
by Shadow Gaunt
Personally I feel that "classics" are books that enlarge ones point of view or somehow teaches one something. Perhaps it's a book that is written well or is extremely useful to understand the time period. "Classics" are in a sense books that help a person a lot, that give them more wisdom or intelligence.

Alexandra said that
Alexandra Steele wrote:there are plenty of so-called classics that I could happily have lived without ever reading
Yes, but even those books are necessary to understand what was going on in the mind of the author and similar people of the time period. Of course, there are books that should have been considered classics but are not. However, that's a different problem.

In the end, classics are books that people should definitely read, whether it's a great book or completely horrible. Even if something is horrible you should still learn about it, intelligence isn't just knowing the good in the world.