Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 10th - May 16th: In 306 A.D., the Synod of Elvira Declared That Killing With a Magic Spell Is a Sin

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you have a favorite classic? When did you read it? High School or as an adult?

The first question one has to answer is "what is a classic novel". For example, is Catch-22 a classic novel? It has been the subject of frequent academic study which seems to be one of the prime indicators of being a "classic", but it was published in 1961, which seems to recent to qualify for "classic" status. The issue one must confront is whether age is a primary determiner of whether a novel is "classic" or not?. Foundation was published in 1951, well before Catch-22, but outside of science fiction circles, pretty much no one regards Foundation as a classic work of literature.

On the other hand, books like As I Lay Dying and Light in August were published in the 1930s, and very few people would question their "classic" status. The same holds true for The Sun Also Rise and A Farewell to Arms, both published in the 1920s. But is the difference between being a classic or not really just thirty years of age? I don't know.

Alternatively, one could go back to the nineteenth century to look for a "classic" novel, since some people seem to think that anything published in the twentieth century or later is too recent to be a "classic" - perhaps something like The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Christo, which were published in the 1840s, although those books may not be regarded as "classic" literature by some despite their age. What qualifies as "classic" seems to me to be mostly in the eye of the beholder.

So, with that in mind:

If Catch-22 by Joseph Heller qualifies as a classic, then that is my favorite classic. I read it in high school, but not as part of the high school curriculum.

If Catch-22 isn't a "classic", then Light in August by William Faulkner is my favorite classic. I read it in high school as part of the school's curriculum (I believe in Fifth Form English class).

If a classic has to be written before the twentieth century, then The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is my favorite classic. I read it in high school, but once again, not as part of the school curriculum.

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1 comment:

  1. I like your question about what is a classic.
    At primary school we read Alice in Wonderland, I had to learn the very odd poetry, but I did enjoy the story. Later in Secondary school we had to read Animal Farm and An Inspector Calls which I did kicking and screaming; I was a fan of Shakespeare at the time (still am really).
    I don’t read classics any more I’m a contemporary paranormal romance or urban fantasy fan but I did read Dracula a couple of years ago and enjoyed it but remember thinking how different it was from all the films; there was more of a moral message in the book.