Author Topic: What makes a Classic, a classic?  (Read 10722 times)

gryphon340

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What makes a Classic, a classic?
« on: October 27, 2012, 12:27:48 pm »
What a makes classic a classic? Other than a Damm Havard Proffessor saying it is.
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Patti L.

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 12:37:09 pm »
Given the bad initial reviews some "classics" got, I'd say probably got a lot to do with staying power, both as initial best sellers, and as things that continue to steadily sell long after the original buying surge is over.
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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 08:42:45 pm »
A book the has meaning for multiple generations, which goes with staying power I guess.

Patti L.

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BillG

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 03:49:31 am »
Alas, I don't recall where I saw it or even when, but I saw an article about how the publishers/critics/reviewers hailed the Greats of something like 50 years past.
In almost all cases, the mega-hit books and the mega-star authors have disappeared to the point that neither were known to the modern readers.
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Gerd D.

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 08:43:51 am »
Given the bad initial reviews some "classics" got, I'd say probably got a lot to do with staying power, both as initial best sellers, and as things that continue to steadily sell long after the original buying surge is over.

Then same as now, a lot of bestsellers didn't manage to out last their time, but were simply a reflection of current taste, so, yes, staying power is important. I guess a devoted fan base that grows into parents that obnoxiously push those books on their hapless children will help, too. :D
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Cerulean

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 12:14:51 pm »
My initial reaction is that it's something you want to experience (watch, read, etc.) over and over again. Something that continues to speak to heartfelt truths that never grow old.
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Kkat07

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2012, 02:05:58 pm »
My initial reaction is that it's something you want to experience (watch, read, etc.) over and over again. Something that continues to speak to heartfelt truths that never grow old.

You must like classics much better than I do... :)
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Cerulean

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2012, 09:08:51 pm »
My initial reaction is that it's something you want to experience (watch, read, etc.) over and over again. Something that continues to speak to heartfelt truths that never grow old.

You must like classics much better than I do... :)

Not really :) The things that people see as "classics" are not the ones I'd choose to see/read over and over again. Clearly some do, but I'm thinking more along the lines of "Charlie Brown's Christmas" :) The books that are considered classics, I've hardly read. I'm not a fan of pomposity in literature [pronounced lit-tra-chure]  >D
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charmed

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2012, 09:09:58 pm »
My initial reaction is that it's something you want to experience (watch, read, etc.) over and over again. Something that continues to speak to heartfelt truths that never grow old.

You must like classics much better than I do... :)

Not really :) The things that people see as "classics" are not the ones I'd choose to see/read over and over again. Clearly some do, but I'm thinking more along the lines of "Charlie Brown's Christmas" :) The books that are considered classics, I've hardly read. I'm not a fan of pomposity in literature [pronounced lit-tra-chure]  >D

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 04:21:32 am »
Same for me. :D
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Kkat07

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 06:03:32 pm »
My initial reaction is that it's something you want to experience (watch, read, etc.) over and over again. Something that continues to speak to heartfelt truths that never grow old.

You must like classics much better than I do... :)

Not really :) The things that people see as "classics" are not the ones I'd choose to see/read over and over again. Clearly some do, but I'm thinking more along the lines of "Charlie Brown's Christmas" :) The books that are considered classics, I've hardly read. I'm not a fan of pomposity in literature [pronounced lit-tra-chure]  >D

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Ah, okay. In that case, your definition of classic matches mine.
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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 01:55:16 am »
I'd say that what makes a classic is staying power and some kind of universal appeal that transends it's own times, so that if you pick the book up and start reading a century or two after it was published it will still be meaningful to you as a reader and not just a snap shot of the time it was written.


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Gerd D.

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2015, 02:30:41 am »
Reading a book on literature (50 ideas Literature, to be exact) the author in there seemed to suggest that one of the driving forces behind making a book a classic is what I would call "cultural imperialism".

E.g. "Tom Sawyer" is a classic for Americans because they are Americans, for other nations it's more a fact of (at least) cultural occupation by American forces.
(And now I sound suspiciously like a Frenchman 9))
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 10:05:04 am by Gerd D. »
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pondhawk

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2015, 09:37:07 am »
Does this explain why American students are required to read Madame Bovary and Tess of the D'Urbervilles? Someone else decided they're classics?

This is a young country. Off the top of my head, I would estimate that *at minimum* 75% of the classics we were required to read throughout our academic education, from kindergarten on, were European in origin. If that's cultural occupation, we're not very good at it yet.

Now, the lack of Asian and African literature in American classrooms has been a bit of a scandal, but that is starting to change.

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2015, 09:46:51 am »
Classic on one level means best in its class. Looking back through previous posts, I agree with the ones who say the story has staying power compared to its contemporaries, and speaks to the reader even centuries later. I would add that books which can be read on multiple levels are classics to me, whatever anyone else thinks of them. For instance, the Harry Potter series can be read as good vs. evil, coming-of-age, the power of choices, the value of diversity, or just rip-roaring fun.

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Janilee

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2017, 11:23:41 pm »
Interesting! I know that a lot of what I read as a teenager would not survive today's standards. I also know that a great many of the stories I read that are considered classic literature are not being read today because they are "too difficult ".

pondhawk

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2017, 09:12:20 am »
Second that.

I still reread the Dalemark Quartet occasionally, and I discovered DWJ as an adult. It's excellent storytelling.

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2017, 09:42:44 am »
I've read at least 2 of the 4, but I only remember The Spellcoats, and enjoyed it.
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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2018, 05:46:10 pm »
I agree with all of those reasons, plus a few more.

pondhawk

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2018, 05:49:07 am »
Same here. I may bail on one series because the love interest invariably addresses the heroine as Nell, Sugar, like it might as well be one word: Nellsugar. It's gotten to be like fingernails on a blackboard for me.

Patti L.

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2018, 08:48:19 pm »
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Zealith

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2018, 08:57:34 pm »
Really interesting. And I will admit I've only read one of his novels, Stranger in a Strange Land and did not like.

pondhawk

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Re: What makes a Classic, a classic?
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2018, 09:49:29 am »
Some of his novels are better than others, but "evolved on the subject of women" looks very different today than it did in his time. I think Starship Troopers probably holds up the best, and even that one has a male threatening to spank a female for being uppity IIRC.

Patti L.

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