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Thread: Contemporary books will become Literature Classics in the very far future!

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    Contemporary books will become Literature Classics in the very far future!

    There are many many classics in the world of literature as we all know. But if we travel back to those days and look, I don't think all the books written in those times have instantly turned into classics that they are today and those writers had definitely not seen anything in themselves like how we see them today. Those books took their time and as the world moved ahead into the new chapters in its own history, such as the World Wars, fights for independence, other crusades and a lot lot more. The books that were written around those times have become ever living works because they all taught the new generations about how the Mankind was in those days.

    So, the books that are being written today will surely join the ranks of those that we see as classics today. Not right away but surely in the coming century, when we will all become ancestors to the generations yet to come in our families. This is very encouraging aspect for all of us, and especially to those who dream and desire to write classic novels in our lives. We can only write by putting our complete hearts and minds into those works and they becoming classics is not for our eyes to see, but only for our souls to feel from the above!

    All the best to all of us who wish to create them!

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    Don't be so sure that contemporary fiction will be looked at in the "very far future". Recently, the best fiction has been ignored, while the popular fiction has lost readership within a rather short time. Very little from the early 20th century is read widely any more, and one important characteristic of literature that has become "classic" is that it never lost popularity. The only significant piece of "classic" literature that was taken from obscurity into fame was "Beowulf". The way things look now The Lord of the Rings is the only 20th century fiction that has a really good shot at becoming a classic.
    Last edited by PeterL; 11-30-2013 at 05:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    Don't be so sure that contemporary fiction will be looked at in the "very far future". Recently, the best fiction has been ignored, while the popular fiction has lost readership within a rather short time. Very little from the early 20th century is read widely any more, and one important characteristic of literature that has become "classic" is that it never lost popularity. The only significant piece of "classic" literature that was taken from obscurity into fame was "Beowulf". The way things look now [i]The Lord of the Rings[i/i] is the only 20th century fiction that has a really good shot at becoming a classic.
    Not true at all. I can think of over a dozen examples off my head. There have been many "rediscovered" artists over the years, whether it be from recovering through Archaeology (such as the Dunhuang manuscripts in half a dozen languages) or from readers finding them (Zora Neale Hustron, Meliville, Christopher Smart, etc.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    [i]The Lord of the Rings[i/i] is the only 20th century fiction that has a really good shot at becoming a classic.
    First things first, Harry Potter series will definitely join (or should I say already joined?) the ranks of Classic fantasy, next to only the Lord of the Rings. Something becomes a classic not just because it has a good century-independent story or resulted in box office blockbusters, but because of what it did to the people of its generation and many that follow. In that case, Harry Potter series has achieved something so very precious. It inspired children, which are many new generations in themselves, to dream and have passion in life and most importantly, it taught them various ethics of life in the best way possible, through a gripping story. Now, that's something the future generations will surely need.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    Don't be so sure that contemporary fiction will be looked at in the "very far future". Recently, the best fiction has been ignored, while the popular fiction has lost readership within a rather short time.Very little from the early 20th century is read widely any more
    Sorry, but those words sounded very pessimistic to me. Do you mean to say that our generation has produced nothing worth reading for the coming centuries?? Are we so incapable?? Looking at what you opined, I would say your words are implying that the wisdom of the people of 20th century in the matters of literature is dwindling with time. So, do you mean all the previous Mankind's knowledge through infinite literary works has failed to teach us anything that can illumine our efforts in taking it to the next level??

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    Very little from the early 20th century is read widely any more
    You are right about we not reading the contemporary works but only that of previous centuries'. Yes, but by this we can say that the next centuries (22, 23 etc...) also will not read their generation's books but explore that of their predecessors', of which is 20th century. So, our present books will surely have a good chance at becoming classics in the coming centuries.
    Last edited by krishna_lit; 11-17-2013 at 07:21 AM.

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    I doubt that Harry Potter will be thought of as a classic 100 years from now. Look at bestsellers from the 1900s:

    http://www.kruegerbooks.com/books/be...lers/1900.html

    Certain names crop up year after year, but have you heard of them? (OK, you've heard of Winston Churchill - but that's a different Winston Churchill!)

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    That is an interesting link to a list of best sellers in the USA at the turn of the 20th century. I read The Crisis when I was about ten and was unaware at that time that it was a different Churchill from the politician. Indeed the book was so heavily ideological that it seemed quite possible that it had been penned by the politician between devising ploys to make the rich richer, the world safer and British military history more bloody. Wister is of course still regarded as a writer of a classic western and if I remember rightly The Virginian was turned into a TV series. Ellen Glasgow is a classic writer and I'm sure her time for "re-discovery" will come. Wharton is a well known writer still. Burnett is recognised as a classic children's author. People, apparently, are still reading the historical novels of Mary Johnston. Most of the rest of these authors I have never heard of but becoming regarded as a classic author is something like the icing on the cake to writers who in their day were more than happy to be successful and make a living. Everyone has heard of The Trail of The Lonesome Pine even if they haven't read it - Blue Ridge Mountains of Virgin-ee-a etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    I doubt that Harry Potter will be thought of as a classic 100 years from now. Look at bestsellers from the 1900s:

    http://www.kruegerbooks.com/books/be...lers/1900.html

    Certain names crop up year after year, but have you heard of them? (OK, you've heard of Winston Churchill - but that's a different Winston Churchill!)
    I doubt that comparison will be valid with a future list. Those books didn't have film and merchandising to support them, which will no doubt promote the possibility of the Harry Potter books and TLOTR becoming long term classics by the mere virtue of exposure.

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    Kruger is a biased list - an american list. Forgive me if i got my history wrong, but go back a few decades, didnt abraham lincoln pirate-copied a dictionary, and john wayne wannabes were still shooting red indians.

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    That post....../facepalm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    I doubt that Harry Potter will be thought of as a classic 100 years from now. Look at bestsellers from the 1900s:

    http://www.kruegerbooks.com/books/be...lers/1900.html

    Certain names crop up year after year, but have you heard of them? (OK, you've heard of Winston Churchill - but that's a different Winston Churchill!)
    At least two of the bestsellers on that list have become classics - The House of Mirth and The Hound of The Baskervilles, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a classic of sorts. So, if one or two contemporary bestsellers are going to make it, my money is on Harry Potter, because a large number of people love and re-read these books, they have a wide range of readers, and they're children's books, which seem to have a better survival rate than their adult counterparts. Look at Enid Blyton and Winnie-The-Pooh, for instance.
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    The demise of the literary classic, whether it happens or not, will be due to the substantial changes in literature marketing. The amount of resources and energy needed to preserve and carry on a work of literature has decreased gradually starting from the Renaissance until the 20th century, until now all you need to do is make a digital copy of a text for it to be cheaply disseminated and preserved for as long as modern technology survives. The idea of a "classic" was in part perpetuated by publishing houses that needed a few sure texts that would always sell. Part of the selection process was the enduring quality of a number of those works. The pressure on anyone to actually do the work of weeding out classics deserving of preservation is pretty much gone, since anyone with the interest can now find any surviving piece of obscure popular fiction from the Victorian era if they actually wanted to. I suspect the move will be towards greater emphasis on genre canons, and literary subcultures where people congregate around movements and shifting reader trends. The stalwart classics will survive but their central position will be displaced further.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 11-30-2013 at 07:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
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    At least two of the bestsellers on that list have become classics
    But that's only 2 out of 100. Look at the lists from 2000-2110, I bet the fan base for each of the authors will suggest that they will last. But given 1900-1910 result it looks like only 1 in 50 will!

    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    ... children's books, which seem to have a better survival rate than their adult counterparts. Look at Enid Blyton and Winnie-The-Pooh, for instance.
    I'm not sure this "better survival rate" argument holds water. For instance:

    http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/rea...ens-books-8-11

    I think this shows that "popularity in the time they were written" is a very bad indicator for "classic" status. I'd be tempted to trust serious critics more, one would hope they would have a better knowledge base for comparing modern works to works of classic status. They tend to give Rowling a thumbs down.

    Wharton and Conan Doyle were appreciated by the critics at the time they were written (Conan Doyle might always have been thought a bit lightweight, but a character like Sherlock couldn't be ignored! Potter is very lack lustre compared to Mr Holmes.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    I doubt that comparison will be valid with a future list. Those books didn't have film and merchandising to support them, which will no doubt promote the possibility of the Harry Potter books and TLOTR becoming long term classics by the mere virtue of exposure.
    Will the films survive? I though they were pretty dire. I guess kids might disagree. But aren't there better kids films that are more likely to survive once the dust settles? Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins,...

    Do many kids read Mary Poppins or the Wizard of Oz? Just because the film survives, it doesn't mean the book will survive.

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    I think Harry Potter will survive into the future because of how many kids and even adults have read and loved it. They will likely in-turn suggest their kids read it and so on and so forth. That and the sheer quantity of Harry Potter books around. Go to any thrift shop with a book section, any Value Village, any Goodwill, etc, and you will see at least 1 Harry Potter book.

    I've seen all the movies and thought they were ho-hum. I won't judge the quality of the reading experience off that because many of Stephen King's novels have been butchered with film/tv adaptations.

    As for whether the books will be considered great because of the quality of their writing and story alone, that remains to be seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krishna_lit View Post
    First things first, Harry Potter series will definitely join (or should I say already joined?) the ranks of Classic fantasy, next to only the Lord of the Rings. Something becomes a classic not just because it has a good century-independent story or resulted in box office blockbusters, but because of what it did to the people of its generation and many that follow. In that case, Harry Potter series has achieved something so very precious. It inspired children, which are many new generations in themselves, to dream and have passion in life and most importantly, it taught them various ethics of life in the best way possible, through a gripping story. Now, that's something the future generations will surely need.
    Pretty much


    Sorry, but those words sounded very pessimistic to me. Do you mean to say that our generation has produced nothing worth reading for the coming centuries?? Are we so incapable?? Looking at what you opined, I would say your words are implying that the wisdom of the people of 20th century in the matters of literature is dwindling with time. So, do you mean all the previous Mankind's knowledge through infinite literary works has failed to teach us anything that can illumine our efforts in taking it to the next level??
    The 20th century introduced atomic weapons. What more does it need to d to be remembered?

    There may be something that will later become noted, but it is very difficult to see classic status at a short distance. So why don't you write something truly great so that the 21st century will have a great classic?

    You are right about we not reading the contemporary works but only that of previous centuries'. Yes, but by this we can say that the next centuries (22, 23 etc...) also will not read their generation's books but explore that of their predecessors', of which is 20th century. So, our present books will surely have a good chance at becoming classics in the coming centuries.
    Let's take a trip into the future and see what will be regarded as great.

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