As someone who studied literature a lot in school I’ve come across my fair share of classics, from Shakespeare to the Brontes to Kafka. And while I have had varying degrees of enjoyment (one day I will try to read Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend again…), the “Classics” categorization has always intrigued me. Over the years, these are the works that have been selected to represent “good” literature; they’ve stood the test of time and now are widely studied and, in most cases, admired. But how was this decided? Who decides what’s considered a classic?
I feel like I always pose impossible-to-answer questions in my Monday Musings posts but I’m always so fascinated by the responses that I just had to ask this one and see what you guys think! I think there are many reasons why a work can be considered classic – perhaps it’s an artifact of a past time, where ladies amused dinner guests around the pianoforte and parents discussed dowries and matchmaking; maybe it’s because its themes are still relatable and relevant in the present day; or, it could be that the stories are so ingrained in our culture that it’s been passed along from generation to generation, making it a “classic.” What do you think?
In the same train of thought, I always wonder which modern day books will be regarded as classics in 50 years or even 100 years. Will the prize winners become the classics that are studied in high schools and universities? Or are we not giving enough attention to a forward-thinking book that will later be revered?
What do you think? Why are some books considered classics and others not? Which books do you think will be considered classic in 100 years?