What exactly is a classic?

I went to a posh girls’ school at which a classic was the sort of thing one might study at Oxford: Aeschylus, Homer, Lucretius, Plato.

In the WattPad Classics club, I’ve seen books such as Gone With the Wind cited as classic.

Can a fairly-recent, popular work of dubious literary merit be a classic?

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My term of classic is if books are old and that’s public domain or published in old years that are under 2000’s. Isn’t Gone with the wind public domain this year?

If I remember correctly, a classic is a book that can stand the test of time.

If it’s recent, it can’t be a classic. It needs to stand the test of time first.

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The ability of a classic book to be reinterpreted, to seemingly be renewed in the interests of generations of readers succeeding its creation, is a theme that is seen in the writings of literary critics including Michael Dirda, Ezra Pound, and Sainte-Beuve.


True. On my mental list of classics is Cold Mountain Poems by Han Shan (c. 9th century). Not only have his poems endured, but they invite re-reading and reward prolonged examination. The same is true of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Not only do they have honoured places on my shelves, but I’ve got more than one translation.

I tried to read Gone With the Wind, but couldn’t get through it.

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A classic work is usually defined as either a work 100 years or older that has survived the test of time in readership, set a literary trend, or/and is exemplar of its period. It is also commonly tagged to other work in many informal manners as an adjective,verb or adverb to denote praise for several purposes, usually substituting for “laudable” or “outstanding”., As in, “Sarah’s retort to Don was just classic, laughed Vicky.”

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I agree with those who say the test of time (several decades, at least). I also think a work that inspired other works of art or became/reflected the culture in ways that people still hold onto. “Gone with the Wind” is a classic, even though it may not be great literature. But its cultural relevance was massive on its own, and there are many works that followed which can be tied back to it.

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I feel like to be a classic it needs to withstand the test of time, as others have said, and have steady popularity throughout the years. Plus, some like Frankenstein are classics because of how groundbreaking it was. It was horror written by a woman in a time when women did not write anything other than poetry or romance/realistic fiction.

Gone with the Wind is one of my favorites, on a side note. It’s only a few pages longer than The Lord of the Rings, but I feel that it’s not as “easy” to get through. You got to really be dedicated to it to get through it. I had to read it twice before I finally got through it. I loved it, but it takes a lot to get through it.