Custom Search

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - In Literature, What Makes a Classic?

An Opinion On Classics

A classic is a story, a play, a poem, a novel even a piece of choreography that deals in universal truths and experiences, birth, death, love, vengeance and its costs, the thrill of attaining a goal--sometimes closely followed by disillusionment, etc. A classic also becomes known as such, because it communicates these ideas and experiences in a unique and if not unique virtuoso style. Alas, every classic which lasts beyond the era which first knew it becomes subject to the ravages of time and in turn translation, the ultimate English language example being Shakespeare. It's not that the work is no longer a classic, but instead that the work has lost a sense of poignancy for the generation which currently serves as its audience; the history and the experiences which shaped the work have become lost and the work in turn falls from grace. So paradoxically, a classic work may find that it has a shelf life--unless the generation which first received it and those following, make the effort to ensure its continuity and thus the lessons and ideas offered through it for the next.

Listen to this discussion on and let me know what you think.


NPR : In Literature, What Makes a Classic?

*Listen to this story*
Please click on the headline to the story using a RealAudio or WindowsMedia player.
For players or technical support, please visit NPR's Audio Help page.

*Order a text transcript of this story*

No comments:

Great Writing Prompt

WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.