“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” – Italo Calvino
Monday my post was about classic book titles that had been changed by the editor or publisher. Writing that blog lead me to wonder if those books would have become classics with their original titles.
Defining when novels becomes classics, by Liz Foley, Vintage Classics Editorial Director at the Man Booker Prize site, states, “It’s usually accepted that to be considered a classic a book has to achieve a level of critical and popular success that endures for many years. However, even this is a tricky standard to be rigid about – Moby-Dick, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Frankenstein are just a few of the works we happily refer to as classics today which were poorly reviewed when they were first published. It’s also true that the length of time a book has to wait to achieve classic status seems to vary: many people would consider Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee or Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie to be classics even though both of these were published relatively recently.”
According to Literary Analysis: what makes a book a classic, “For a book to become a classic, it must have a timeless theme, one that all people of all eras are able to relate to. Classics also may have an element of novelty; they are the first time a certain writing technique has been experimented with or the first time an author has discussed an important theme.”
“A classic usually expresses some artistic quality—an expression of life, truth, and beauty,” according to A Classic - Defining the Term by Ester Lombardi at About.com.
After reading the above articles, I believe books like War and Peace and The Great Gatsby would have become classics regardless of their title. What do you think? In your opinion, what makes a book a classic?
Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to join me for a discussion and book signing at Barnes and Noble, 4010 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Fl., on April 11th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.
Tags: Calvino, classics, War and Peace, The Great Gatsby, Moby-Dick,