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Old 04-27-2012, 03:27 PM   #16
John A. A. Logan
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Not a fair statement (nor even a particularly good flame). The classics are such a broad category of novels, that its unreasonable to assume that anyone's tastes are going to include all of them. Alexander Dumas and Herman Melville, The Bronte Sisters and Joseph Conrad are all very different authors and I suspect that one could like one or two of those authors and abhor the others. Yet by labeling their works as classics, there is some expectation that these books should be universally well regarded.

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Broadly speaking though, the classics prove the point that Quality will out, especially over time (all things being equal of course, which they never are!)
Then you're into the murky waters of postmodern relativist inter-subjectivity (Quality only being in the Eye of the Beholder); versus Quiller-Couch or Robert Pirsig's position that Quality is an objectively perceivable phenomenon, in literature as in Life.
Oh, forget it....pass me THE CHEETOS! (Not that I know what a Cheeto is, being Scottish, I am imagining some savoury potato chip snack?)
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:48 PM   #17
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the problem with the classics is not their age, it's that they are not a stupid dumbed down videogame to entertain obese cheetos-eaters wanting more fun for their greasy sweaty money...
It has nothing to do with video games. It has to do with the writing. The story may be good. But it's the writing. It's just not something a lot of people can get into. Shakespeare is like that. The writing is too much of a chore to plow through (for example)
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:03 PM   #18
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But what about modern classics? They are just as much a classic now as the old classics. The problem with classics as a category is that there is no actual definition that fits ever instance of a classic.

What definition of classic would fit for Alexander Dumas, William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Issac Asimov, & Douglas Adams?
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #19
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* snip *
Oh, forget it....pass me THE CHEETOS! (Not that I know what a Cheeto is, being Scottish, I am imagining some savoury potato chip snack?)
Well like potato chips, Cheetos are a snack food. Think artificially flavored, artificially colored, globules of fat and salt that look much like fat orange worms.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:16 PM   #20
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It has nothing to do with video games. It has to do with the writing. The story may be good. But it's the writing. It's just not something a lot of people can get into. Shakespeare is like that. The writing is too much of a chore to plow through (for example)
I am surprised that it took you so long to enter this thread. Yes, Shakespeare an excellent example. The writing is so bad that hundreds of years ago his work was abandoned except among a tiny few arcane academics.

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But what about modern classics? They are just as much a classic now as the old classics. The problem with classics as a category is that there is no actual definition that fits ever instance of a classic.

What definition of classic would fit for Alexander Dumas, William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Issac Asimov, & Douglas Adams?
I can help with that Alexander Dumas & William Shakespeare, and maybe/probably (for LOTR) J.R.R. Tolkien yes.

Issac Asimov & Douglas Adams no, not yet and if ever for selected works.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:42 PM   #21
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Well like potato chips, Cheetos are a snack food. Think artificially flavored, artificially colored, globules of fat and salt that look much like fat orange worms.
My goodness, they look appetizing indeed(!!)
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:45 PM   #22
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I am surprised that it took you so long to enter this thread.
I didn't see it until recently.

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Yes, Shakespeare an excellent example. The writing is so bad that hundreds of years ago his work was abandoned except among a tiny few arcane academics.
It turns out a lot of so-called classics were not well received back when they were written.

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I can help with that Alexander Dumas & William Shakespeare, and maybe/probably (for LOTR) J.R.R. Tolkien yes.

Issac Asimov & Douglas Adams no, not yet and if ever for selected works.
But in order to be a proper definition of classic it has to fit all of the authors mentioned in that one definition or it's just not going to work. It has to be just one definition that takes into account classic as a whole.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:32 AM   #23
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these matters have been discussed a lot before, I don't think we'll settle it this time either. Still:
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It has nothing to do with video games. It has to do with the writing. The story may be good. But it's the writing. It's just not something a lot of people can get into. Shakespeare is like that. The writing is too much of a chore to plow through (for example)
true, but could this be an issue of attitude, of if you like "reverse snobism"? The reaosn I ask is because e.g. both The true history of the Kelly gang and Trainspotting are hard to read, yet big commercial successes (at least this side of the pond).
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #24
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Yes, Shakespeare an excellent example. The writing is so bad that hundreds of years ago his work was abandoned except among a tiny few arcane academics.
Shakespeare's "writing" is to be read aloud and acted upon! He was not a novelist.

OTOH, you can hardly find much better English poetry writing than in his sonnets, which are truthfully top-notch and make much good use of the language as art.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #25
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It has nothing to do with video games. It has to do with the writing. The story may be good. But it's the writing. It's just not something a lot of people can get into. Shakespeare is like that. The writing is too much of a chore to plow through (for example)
Yes, stupid bugger should have written in a more modern style.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:33 PM   #26
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I think the problem with classics is not that they are not good books, but rather because they are a certain subset of all reader's idea of what a good book is. The critics (academic or otherwise) tell us this book is great, therefore we should love it. This of course also extends to literary fiction as opposed to genre fiction (as if literary fiction was not a genre of its own).

The problem is, that this attitude often conflicts with the taste of many readers. I know I use to hate reading. Teachers would assign us stories to read that I hated; the result was that for a long time I equated school reading with reading period. Then in eight grade my teacher assigned us a book report a week. The cool part was we got to pick the book. It took me several tries, but then I found what sort of stories I liked. In the course of a year, I became a reading addict.

So, anyway, not that I would like to see the books go away, but I would like to see the label classics go away. You can read your Dumas, I will read Sabatini, and it is all good .

--
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It's interesting to me that you would use Dumas and Sabatini that way. Dumas is older, but they are almost a tomAto tomahto sort of comparison. But my all-time favorite novel is hands down the Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas had the guts to leave Mercedes an old maid, while Sabatini would have just made Maximilian his secret son and they'd all forgive Mercedes and live happily ever after....
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:39 PM   #27
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So, anyway, not that I would like to see the books go away, but I would like to see the label classics go away. You can read your Dumas, I will read Sabatini, and it is all good .

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That's a great way to say it. Classic is a poor label as it doesn't actually have a proper definition. You can define some, but not all and when you define the ones you could not define, the ones you defined are no longer defined.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:05 AM   #28
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That's a great way to say it. Classic is a poor label as it doesn't actually have a proper definition. You can define some, but not all and when you define the ones you could not define, the ones you defined are no longer defined.
What you are really saying is that a definition of "classic" is not a good definition unless it includes all the books you believe are "classics", and excludes all those you don't consider "classics".

I agree with you in principle, because from now on it means that the expression "greatest football team of all time" means Geelong and only Geelong.

Perhaps we could come to some arrangement where we divide all of the world's adjectives 50/50, so that I get to define half of them, and you the other half.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:47 PM   #29
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What you are really saying is that a definition of "classic" is not a good definition unless it includes all the books you believe are "classics", and excludes all those you don't consider "classics".
Give me a definition of what makes Anna Karenina a classic. Does this definition fit with say Fahrenheit 451 or Lord of the Rings?
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:02 PM   #30
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Give me a definition of what makes Anna Karenina a classic. Does this definition fit with say Fahrenheit 451 or Lord of the Rings?
Great book, lasting value, critical and/or commercial sucess ...
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