I've been writing discussion type posts all week for Armchair BEA, so I'm just going to delve right in with today's topic:
What Makes a Book a Classic?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
That's just a few of the titles that come to mind when I think "classic". All of those titles were published in the 1800s. Does classic mean old?
Not necessarily, there are a number of titles from the 1900s that we think of as classics.
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
1984 by George Orwell
But we are still looking at books more than 50 years old. Can a book published in the last decade be a classic? A number of people think Harry Potter is a classic. Will Hunger Games or Divergent become a classic? They are both very popular. Does popularity make a book a classic?
I'm not sure if popularity is enough of a reason for a book to be a classic. Look at Twilight and the a fore mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey they were/are huge hits. Twilight inspired many to try writing and they have become successful authors. But I don't think it will be a classic.
Definitely I believe that the writing style and storytelling abilities of the author play a part in a book becoming a classic. But looking at my list of classics there also seems to be a theme to them. The all provide commentary on culture or society; usually there is a character that goes against the rules or at least pushes the boundaries.
What do you think makes a book a classic? Bonus - What books today do you think might become classics?