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Topic: Which modern author do you think will be considered classic?

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Subject: Which modern author do you think will be considered classic?
Date Posted: 7/29/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
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After reading an interesting discussion on another forum, I can't help but ask myself this question. Being a huge lover of classic lit and an even bigger skeptic of contemporary lit, I often wonder which of our contemporary authors will be grouped with the likes of Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Victor Hugo, or dare I say, William Shakespeare ? Broad list, I know, but they're all considered "classic".

So, which modern authors do you think deserve to be placed in the "classic" category?

Date Posted: 7/30/2009 3:10 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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You mean like a new author from the last few years? One that will still be popular years from now? I already consider Rebecca, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and My Name Is ASher Lev (see you just finished that one andit's a fave of mine!)to be classics even though they're not 100 yrs old..but Ihaven't read enough serious fiction to be familiar with the newer authors but I do remember The Color Purple and Redeeming Love to have had an impact on me.

Date Posted: 7/30/2009 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
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I agree - Chiam Potok was one of the first authors that came to mind. Have you read The Chosen? Or anything else by him?

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 7/30/2009 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
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Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I hope.

 

Maybe Barbara Kingsolver or Anne Tyler.

Date Posted: 7/30/2009 1:48 PM ET
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I think Marquez is pretty much there already. :)

Ohran Pamuk, I hope.  Zadie Smith, maybe.  Angela Carter, if there is a god.  Nick Hornby, for kicks.  Robertson Davies, for Deptford.  Susanna Clarke for Jonathan Strange.  Peter Carey, for his early novels.  J.K Rowling, for kids will read those books forever the way they do with Narnia.  Mary Gaitskill, for a revival and rediscovery 80 years after her death.  Alice Munroe, for the stories.  Kelly Link, for me.  Margaret Atwood, for The Handmaid's Tale and a future in which it is no longer necessary.

And I really, really believe Maus by Art Spiegelman is one of the most perfect pieces of art of the past 50 years.

 

 

Date Posted: 7/30/2009 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Khaled Hosseini, I hope.
 

Also T.C. Boyle, Thomas Pynchon, Jose Saramago



Last Edited on: 9/15/09 12:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/30/2009 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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Sarah, I've read the 2 Asher Lev books(loved both and they're still my favorites of his), Davida's Harp, and I think The Chosen(is that the one where he gets hit in the eye with the baseball?) I want to read The Book of Lights one of these days. Asher Leve was a college required reading that I loved even though I didn't understand most of the significance at the time.

I think the Harry Potter books will be classics as someone mentioned.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 7/31/2009 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
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I agree that J K Rowlings will be considered a classic, as well as Brain Jacques for his Redwall series.  I agree that Sussana Clarke for Jonathan Strange was a big hit (and a great book) when it came out, but you never hear about her or the book any more. 

How about Diane Setterfield for The Thriteenth Tale?

Date Posted: 7/31/2009 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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J.K. Rowling will rate some sort of asterisk for making more money writing books for adolescents than anyone else in history, but her place as a "classic " author will besomewhere between Margaret Mitchell and Horatio Alger.

I liked where she started. The series unfolded like a classic hero as defined by Joseph Campbell. (The Hero ALWAYS pays a high price, usually his life. The Hero's coming is predicted. He will be tempted by a female. His quest is to do something vital for his tribe.) But  the last part always seemed so relatively trivial, and then Rowling backed off in the lst book from doing any significant harm either the Hero of any of those closest to him, catering to her unexpected fame, no doubt. Then she further trivialized things with her retrospective "revealing" that poor Dumbledore was queer.

Date Posted: 8/2/2009 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2005
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I agree with Vanessa  about Khaled Hosseini.    While I don't normally read his genre of writing, I couldn't put  " A Thousand Splendid Suns" down.  He kept me captivated through the entire book.

I would also add to the list   Dan Brown.   His books have a way of being both controversial and thought provoking.......especially, The Da Vinci Code.

Date Posted: 8/2/2009 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
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I love (LOVE) a Thousand Splendid Suns. I thought the Kite Runner was pretty good, but Splendid Suns was so much better. I hope he comes out with another novel in the near future.

Not sure how I feel about Dan Brown. I liked Angels and Demons, but not a big fan of his others. Especially Deception Point - that book was terrible.

I do agree, though, that JK Rowlings will be in the "classic" category someday. I know Harry Potter is considered lame by many, but I have to admit that they are pretty good books.

Date Posted: 8/3/2009 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/12/2009
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By "modern author" I assume you mean still alive and recently published. If you want to take a more broad view then this list will be significantly longer. Here are some that are likely/possible to be considered classic (off the top of my head):
Philip Roth
Thomas Pynchon
Cormac McCarthy
Michael Chabon
Ursula K. Le Guin
Margaret Atwood
A. S. Byatt
Kazuo Ishiguro
Haruki Murakami
Jose Saramago
Umberto Eco
Primo Levi
Tom Stoppard
Milan Kundera
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Carlos Fuentes
Mario Vargas Llosa
Nadine Gordimer
V. S. Naipaul
Martin Amis
J. M. Coetzee
Salman Rushdie
Don DeLillo
E. L. Doctorow
Toni Morrison
John Barth

Date Posted: 8/4/2009 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2009
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harper lee

to kill a mocking bird

Date Posted: 8/4/2009 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
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i agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY!

Date Posted: 8/4/2009 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2005
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Sarah.......I went to Hosseini's website and even tho he doesn't mention working on a new novel, he did say in one of his newsletters that pre-production has started on turning "A Thousand Splendid Suns" into  movie.  I didn't know that he was also a doctor  (internist).  Kewl.

Date Posted: 8/4/2009 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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I wonder how many of those posting this thread have ever heard of 80% of those on Audrey's list. I wonder how many have read more than 5 books by all of them together. Thanks, Audrey, for just about the only post that seems to have any concept of what, say, a  person on the Nobel Prize Committee would regard as "Classic."

And I don't like her works, cannot stand her style, but Doris Lessing is a sure bet.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:52 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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I wonder how many of those posting this thread have ever heard of 80% of those on Audrey's list. I wonder how many have read more than 5 books by all of them together. Thanks, Audrey, for just about the only post that seems to have any concept of what, say, a  person on the Nobel Prize Committee would regard as "Classic."

That's awfully rude, isn't it?  The question the OP posed was what books we thought might become classics and, interestingly, only Hemingway out of the authors Sarah listed was a Nobel Laureate.  The criteria adopted by the Nobel committee is a strange and wondrous thing, and if you plan on reading lots of Harry Martinson, or to kick off a Knut Hamsun revival (which I don't recomend, as he was a terrible fascist), I think you will likely miss many, many interesting writers that you would likely enjoy.

 

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
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Rude? Maybe. Pretentious? Definitely. First of all, the member with the infamous list is named Andrey, not Audrey. Secondly, I am not some Jodi Picoult-reading fool who fell off the turnip truck and landed in a pile of harlequin novels. I have a degree in literature, in addition to a Master's degree, and I'm an English teacher. I consider myself pretty well-read, and though I'm not on the Nobel Prize Committee (are you?), I think I have some inkling (though it may be small) as to what makes a book "classic".
Nobel laureate or not, the authors I listed exemplify timeless writing. My initial question was to find out, opinion only, of course, which modern authors will also be considered “timeless”.  There’s no need to put others down in regards to what people have or haven’t read. Especially when we don’t know each other at all.
Date Posted: 8/6/2009 10:41 AM ET
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ok so are you saying that if I read harlequins that I fell off the turnip truck? ;-)  that's ok..I know most of my reading is 'fluff' but my main purpose in reading is to relax and every so often read something less fluffy! (I'm not a Jodi Picoult reading fool at least..hmm.. at least not yet LOL!)

I do have trouble knowing w hat's a classic but I do know when I've read something a bit 'deeper'.

ETA" is For Whom the Bell Tolls sad? I might be getting it mixed up with something else..I caught the end of a classics movie a couple of times(yep just my luck) that had a sad ending with people dying.



Last Edited on: 8/6/09 10:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/6/2009 11:46 AM ET
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rude = uncouth/discourteous

     Well, if on this forum it is uncouth to label mediocre authors as such, I am guilty as charged.

pretentious = demanding or claiming a position of distinction or merit....

     I made no claims about myself. If readers wish to stretch my implying that I have read a lot of classic books I am again guilty as charged. So anyone who says/claims to have read many books is pretentious. Maybe on this forum; elsewhere, I don't think so.

I was certainly unaware of the delicate sensibilities of the ladies on this forum. The ladies on the Current Affairs forum would be, I am sure, amused. They don't quite do the dozens with each other, but they get close.

Regarding "classic" writers, in view of the demonstrated criteria as evidenced by suggestions made to this point, I need to add several oldies; H Rider Haggard, and the original writer of "romance novels," in fact, the original writer of novels, Samuel Richardson. And also several 20 century authors who certainly should receive serious consideration: Grace Metalious and my old favorite, Mickey Spillane (read all of his).

Peace, ladies.  Please notice I have never even slightly alluded to others as having falling off a potato wagon.

Date Posted: 8/6/2009 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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I was certainly unaware of the delicate sensibilities of the ladies on this forum.

Okay, now I'm adding patronizing. 

I wonder how many of those posting this thread have ever heard of 80% of those on Audrey's (sic) list. I wonder how many have read more than 5 books by all of them together.

The above = Potato Wagon. 

It wasn't your opinions of various books and authors that I found rude, it was your intimations that the posters were poorly read and poorly informed.

Date Posted: 8/7/2009 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2005
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Thanks, Audrey, for just about the only post that seems to have any concept of what, say, a  person on the Nobel Prize Committee would regard as "Classic."

Below is the definition of a classic that I found on the website  www.about.com    under the Classic Literature topic.

The definition of a "classic" can be a hotly debated topic. Depending on what you read, or the experience of the person you question on the topic, you may receive a wide range of answers. So, what is a "classic"--in the context of books and literature?

  • A classic usually expresses some artistic quality--an expression of life, truth, and beauty.
  • A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic.
  • A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings--partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses.
  • A classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writers and other great works of literature. Of course, this is partly related to the universal appeal of a classic. But, the classic also is informed by the history of ideas and literature--whether unconsciously or specifically worked into the plot of the text.
      So, now we have some background as to how a classic is defined. But, what about the book you are reading? Is it a classic?   
Date Posted: 8/7/2009 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/25/2005
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Now...if the Nobel Prize committee uses the above  guideline or something similar to make their judgements, then I would say that the large majority of the authors everyone has listed are eligible for this category.

The original question was:  "Which modern author do you THINK will become classic.   The answer wasn't meant to be based on fact or what some prize committee may or may not  think......it's just an opinion.  Nobody is wrong with their choices.  It's very condescending of  you,  John, to assume that the majority of us have never heard of most of Andrey's list, much less read 5 of them.   Which by the way, I have....on both accounts.  95% of the books that I own (and have read or currently reading)  are so called  "classics" from Hemingway to Faulkner to Cather to Woolf to Steinbeck to Shakespeare and so on.   But....to be considered a well read person, you also need to be a bit of  "a Jodi Picoult reading fool who fell off the turnip truck and landed in a pile of Harlequin novels  (borrowing Sarah's phrase).  A little bit of fluff can be quite good for the humor and soul.

"Peace, ladies.  Please notice I have never even slightly alluded to others as having falling off a potato wagon."     Ahhh....but it's your assuming manner that makes one think you did. 



Last Edited on: 8/7/09 4:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/7/2009 7:51 PM ET
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That is 'tater wagon Carol, in the hills where I was raised up. Could have, and got knocked on the noggin. And I remain amused and bemused at the delicate sensibilities of the ladies on this forum. And about the book I am reading now, a potential classic, surely. And I would regard it very condescending as well as patronizing if you 'uns look down on WEB Griffin.

The good news is I am outa here for a spell, at the very least. You ladies don't need me to distract you from more important topics. Not nearly enough time for any of us to read all the books we need to.

Date Posted: 8/7/2009 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I like the part of the definition about the experience of the person you're questioning...and hoping for some more ideas! (I've been looking up some of the ones mentioned for when I need some less fluffy reading!) and nope I'm not offended ..I like tater wagons and turnip trucks - at least turnips are purple..though wagons are funner than trucks I think...

come on what's some more good 'uns you think might be a classic someday!! I read mostly fluff so I'm outta ideas I think. I think my tastes for non-fluffy are pretty much the 'modern classics' some recommended a while back - Rebecca, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn..and of course I liked the Asher Lev books by Potok. his other stuff I've read was good but those 2 I really really liked a lot!

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