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One problem with determining what is/isn't a "classic" (which, as many know, is hardly a debate that has first popped up on this forum) is, I believe, to some extent a semantic one, since the word "classic" denotes some passage of time. We all can recognize, however, that many great authors still are writing great works today -- it's just that the jury (i.e. "time") is still out.
As someone who enjoys both traditional "classics" & contemporary "really-good-stuff-that-probably-will-be-'classic'-someday-after-I-am-gone" (but I don't want to wait that long), I choose based on exceptional writing quality, originality, and themes that are "universal" (yet another debatable concept) and that seem either to speak to a time or to defy it.
I am guessing that some people planning to participate in the challenge would like a little more guidance (not, perhaps, having the same knowledge base as those of us who majored in/teach literature) while others want to make their selections & be left alone...& since this challenge is voluntary & is supposed to be for fun personal growth, my suggestion is that we allow for just that: if you'd like feedback on whether something "qualifies" for the challenge, ask someone whose definition of a classic you agree with; otherwise, enjoy your reading!
Last Edited on: 11/8/10 11:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
A book is considered a classic when it has endured. Something written fairly recently may seem worthy, but also may fade from view.
My goal was to have draft three up by this time, but it has been a hectic day (and I'm not through yet). So hopefully I'll have it tomorrow.
Anyway, I think we can all agree that the point is to READ. We're aiming to read books that have endured. Once we agree on a draft, we can compile lists, as I've said before.
And I don't think it's real important if all of us sanction each list! The point is to read. . .