What is a Classic?
There is a discussion post over on the Classics Club blog about the age-old question of “What Makes a Classic?” In the same fashion which I approached every under grad lit paper I ever wrote, I will dodge that question.
Actually, I have given it some thought, but I will admit that my list is probably full of works that many people would not consider classics. Over 50 years old? Sure. Have “stood the test of time”? Well, they’re available to the public, but that’s not really what we’re talking about, right? We’ve entered an age when gems and junk alike are scanned and collected and available for download. The advantage of this is that (all things equal (I’m not saying they are)) the general public can take a peek at some of the marginalized literature of the day. Is The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman a classic? Has her inclusion to the realm of “classic” been limited by her being female? I don’t know. I’ve read a few of her short stories in old periodicals and I want to read more.
I’m also interested in the context of classics. What other literature is around during a period that spawned many “classics”? What other foundational works of a genre that may have been overlooked? Many of the books I’ve picked are lesser-known works by famous authors or lesser-known works of certain genres (mystery and horror). I’m kind of using Classics Club as an excuse to examine the mortar between the classical bricks. I don’t think that’s contrary to the spirit of the Club; if it is, this is a project I’ll probably still undergo alone.
Classics Club Spin #23
I’ve been looking forward to another Spin!
What’s the what? I post a list of 20 books from my Classics Club list. On Sunday the 19th, the Classics Club blog will randomly choose a number from 1–20 and that’s my May club book. So, here’s my list:
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
- The Leavenworth by Case by Anna Katharine Green
- Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy
- Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
- King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
- The Beetle by Richard Marsh
- The Door in the Wall by H. G. Wells
- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
- The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis
- The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume
- Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, and other stories by Oscar Wilde
- The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill
- The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Lady of the Shroud by Bram Stoker
- The Tale of Terror by Edith Birkhead
- The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
- The Dorrington Deed-Box by Arthur Morrison
- The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
- The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
- The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viereck
No particular theme with the list other than books I wouldn’t mind reading.