When Does A Book Become A Classic?

Also who determines this?


When it has “by Eve Golden” on the cover.

laughed my butt off. Good one Eve!

Endurance (to age well) and critical acclaim, I suppose.

When the book is in print and out of copyright.

When you’re forced to read it in a high school English class, in my experience.

I’m not supposed to say, but actually it is me. This is true for many things. Generally when you hear some say “Who’s to say…” I’m usually the one to say. Please don’t tell people though, 'cause then they’ll try to sway my decisions.

According to Mark Twain, a classic is something that everybody wants to have read, but nobody wants to actually read.

Can’t we start a list of neo-classics? If it is suggested that we are not “them” … we have to be “them” to “them” … right?

My Vote for Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Moved to CS.

General Questions Moderator

When does a book become a classic? A couple of years or whenever the author has a new book coming out. Certainly, I’ve seen Donna Tartt’s Secret History and Dave Eggars A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius described as classics (cite for the latter, or google). You can find anything described as an “instant classic”, a “cult classic” or even a “new classic” these days (“a new classic” from Borders). Of course all this is meaningless advertising, puffery and hype, but I’d say the same thing about the classic reputation of many books published far longer ago. Ick.

Classics of pretentiousness, maybe! Holy crap. Tartt’s at least was a decent suspense novel, but she thought she was writing Middlemarch or something. And Eggers is a mondo-talented writer, but that book is so self-conscious it’s ridiculous.

When it has been revered by three generations. Who says? Everybody who counts.

Obviously, this definition is not strictly adhered to. Not in the last 100 years or so, anyway.

Eggers is a pretentious self-indulgent hack, trying (and failing quite marvelously) to come off as hip and *with it[/I.