Re: RARA-AVIS: The definition of classic

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 04 Nov 2007

I hear what you're saying, Miker, and don't necessarily disagree, but what I was trying to ascertain was what criteria you use to determine that a book has passed the test of time (not what attributes such books may have in common). Apologies for the imprecise question.

For instance, One World Classics has just republished James Hanley's BOY
(literary noir, so on topic, Curt, and I'm snagging a copy cause it sounds superb), first published in 1931. Does that make it a classic? London Books has just republished James Curtis's THE GILT KID (noir again, from 1936) in its 'classics' series. So, again, 70 years on from first publication, surely an indicator of longevity, endurance, whatever you want to call it. But both books have been out of print for many years. So if your criteria for membership of the classics club required a consistency of sales over a number of years, then neither book could be called a classic.

(links to publishers sites for BOY and THE GILT KID)


----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Robison" <> To: <> Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 12:06 AM Subject: RARA-AVIS: The definition of classic

> Allan Guthrie wrote:
> So what's your criteria for passing the test of time?
> ****************
> I think that in order to become a classic a work has
> to present an interesting view on truth, morality, or
> aesthetics.
> My personal preference is for lots of sex and
> violence, gratuitous if at all possible.
> miker

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