RARA-AVIS: The definition of classics

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 03 Nov 2007

Allan Guthrie wrote:

On the other hand, some classics endure despite the writing, whilst neglected masterpieces litter the literary landscape hoping that some day a publisher will rediscover them before they do, indeed, turn to dust.

******************** This bears on a good point which I have not mentioned, but might as well bring it up now. I have defined er... classics as being writing which has endured. I have not said that the writing was necessarily good. Thus there are good classics and bad. So although quality is often a major factor in a piece going the distance, it isn't a requirement. This adds mystery to the search for the elements which make a work a classic.

I'd like to bring this back to the question of whether some of Spillane's work will become classics. Mario said that it is impossible to predict what will become classic, and I have already stated my disagreement with that. I think that one of the reasons it's not easy is because the glass you need to look through to see writing that will become classic is fogged over with fashion. Right now successful violence in a novel is totally faux pas. Very frowned upon by enlightened citizenry. And yet the classics are filled with it. Homer's two epics are filled with glorious violence. So is Gilgamesh and Beowulf, The Green Knight, the Bible, and just an absolute buttload more. Bottom line is that those who reject Spillane's chance of making it to the classics need to make sure that their opinion is not clouded by fashion.


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