48. Which books do you consider “classics”? (via)
You would not believe how often I’m talking about classics, and usually in a fairly defensive way because it’s just not the in thing to dig classic literature anymore.
Of course, I really hate that classic is treated as a genre when it simply isn’t. So let’s start with definitions, eh? The beginning of wisdom and all that? Apparently the word classic comes from the Latin meaning “belonging to the highest class of citizens.” Now, according to the Wikipedia, classic refers to ancient Greek and Roman literature, and this is not the vernacular sense of the question, obviously. But I like that “highest class” business; I’m going to use that.
“A classic is something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality.”
Lasting worth and timeless quality are my buzzwords here, because the point I want to get across is that, far from being a genre in itself, the idea of a classic work should convey something worthwhile that has stood the test of time. “Worthwhile” may be subjective, and I’ll dwell on that more, but timeless should be obvious — either something has been carried on its own popularity for more than one generation, or it hasn’t. And anything that hasn’t been around long enough to be considered tested, well, obviously isn’t up for classical status. But let’s look at the concept of worthwhile.