What Makes a Classic?

What Makes a Classic?

What Makes a Classic?

Posted on 07/27/2015 Evan Swensen

Our Guest Blog was written by Jim Misko
Sometime during my career as an author I want one of my novels to be declared a “classic” by someone with authority. I want to walk into the Loussac Library in Anchorage and overhear a librarian saying to a patron, “You should read Misko’s novel, As All My Fathers Were. It is a classic and deserves to be read for a hundred years.”

I’ve expressed that desire to other authors and of course, the definition of a classic came up. John P. Hagen, being brighter than the average bear, sent me an article, which is too long to replicate here but within it was this short definition. I yearn for one of my novels to meet this criteria.

What makes a classic? By Richard J. Smith
“First, the work must focus on matters of great importance, identifying fundamental human problems and providing some sort of guidance for dealing with them. Second, it must address these fundamental issues in ‘beautiful, moving, and memorable ways,’ with ‘stimulating and inviting images.’ Third, it must be complex, nuanced, comprehensive, and profound, requiring careful and repeated study in order to yield its deepest secrets and greatest wisdom. One might add that precisely because of these characteristics, a classic has great staying power across both time and space.”

What would you say to that?

Keep reading good friends, and thanks J.P. for your insightful message about a classic.

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