Friday, November 26, 2010

Modern Classics - Literary Blog Hop

I always seem to be a  day late with my Literary Blog Hop (hosted by the lovelies at The Blue Bookcase) posts. Thanksgiving kept me busy all day yesterday, but I'm super excited, as always, to participate. 
Literary Blog Hop
This week question is a big one!
What makes a contemporary novel a classic? 
Discuss a book which you think fits the category of ‘modern classics’ and explain why. 


Classic is a big word. I feel like a lot of Literary Fiction has come out in the past few years, but is being literary enough to make any of them a classic? I mean, it's not like we're gushing over all of Austen's contemporaries on a regular bases. Plus, Dickens and the Bronte's might have been popular, but what about Melville? He was universally panned in his lifetime! In my mind what makes a classic a classic is that it evokes another time, with similar problems and real characters. Now, if follow my definition, it becomes near impossible to see what future generations think will be relevant. I can scream about 'modern classics' as much as I want, but really all I'll be saying with that is 'look, this book was popular, but it was well written and it has a heavy handed message that some people will love, and others will hate, but regardless, everyone will talk about it.' 
Personally, I can't wait to see what's being taught in English classes in 50 years time. I'm sure Austen will stick around with The Odyssey and Twain, but what will be added to the long list of $5 paperbacks and free e-books?

So, that's my very noncommittal answer. I can't wait to hop around and see all of yours! Hope everyone had a filling Thanksgiving and didn't freeze waiting outside of stores for black Friday!

6 comments:

readerbuzz said...

I wish literary fiction was more widely read. I suspect that many read good YA fiction because it is well written yet lacks the dense and unapproachable aspect of a lot of literary fiction.

Here is my post: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/11/literary-blog-hop-contemporary-and.html

parrish lantern said...

Looking through my dictionaries I've found that Classic can also mean of a higher class & ranking & was originally used to differentiate Greek & Roman literature from the romantics (who nowadays have classic status) by using this definition you really can open up the debate

IngridLola said...

I know ... it's so hard to know what will be taught in classes 50 years from now! It's fun to speculate but I think we just need to admit we have NO idea!

Thanks for participating Sarah!

mel u said...

first we have to also have an idea what the world will be like in 50 to 100 years to answer what will emerge as future classics-it is a fun collection and I enjoyed your reflections on the topic

Becky (Page Turners) said...

Its too tough a question to answer very well. i think modern classics come from the mid-20th century at the latest and fill the definition of a classic. More contemporary novels there is no way of knowing how well they will go into the future

bibliophiliac said...

I hope I'll be around in 50 years to find out what's being taught in literature classes...I wonder what life and school will be like then?