The New Classics

What can be considered a new classic? Writers like John Green and Stephan King boast quite a large fan base (and literary output), but will they go down in history? Does fame equate to immortalization in literature? After all, many writers were unbeknownst while they lived, but others (such as Shakespeare) received wide fame amid their careers. Whose work can be considered literary? Are they losing ground in the shadow of these modern, famed "genre writers"?

  • Genre shouldn't matter re: enduring quality of a piece of literature. It's a little risible to suggest the likes of Shakespeare might be losing ground in the shadow of John Green! Fame doesn't equate to immortality in history, but obscurity tends to mean you're not even in the mix for future consideration. One of the biggest problems nowadays is the general disconnect with "things past", losing touch with history i.e. self-censoring art and literature and creative content based on its date of creation. It not only makes it harder to source new classics but means - for most - the canon of older classics is shrinking. Contemporary fame matters but originality and lineage and breadth of vision should matter more. Also there's a growing parochialism, especially in the Anglosphere - facilitated in part by the net and social media bringing together 'communities' in large enough numbers so they satisfy the 'interaction' instinct most of us possess. If people don't feel the need to step outside their echo chambers, their horizons narrow and their creative output follows suit, eventually becoming mere placebo. All this is a path of least resistance and any book worthy of "new classic" should either transcend this reductionism by scope or scale; or burst the bubble of whatever tribal boundaries might seem to appropriate or contain it. John Green is a sweet guy with a nice turn of phrase but none of his novels yet will be "classics" except maybe for future social historians; and not for the literary merit of the books themselves. Stephen King is different. He's a Balzac type: quantity over quality to such an extent the sheer quantity actually becomes a quality. – magisterludi 6 years ago
  • Terry Eagleton (literary critic) wrote in his book 'Literary Theory: An Introduction' that if something is deemed to be 'literature' it is done so because the text is highly valued by society, and those value judgements are made based upon societal ideologies and historical context. I think the same could apply here - what do we value in a classic text? That is at the crux of this. – Samantha Leersen 4 years ago
  • the original and well known authors or artists such as Shakespear, Mozart etc, will likely never be replaced. However many consider people like Charles Bukowski and his poetry as 'classic' and exquisite. A more modern example could be someone such as Billie Eilish. she is known her her originialy and voice. ultimately, its the people who negate societal expectations within their generations that tend to become more well-known. – annaegan 4 years ago
  • i think that fame has a little to do with being immortalized but its more about the effect it has on people if some people thought it just was a good book they would have read it and never read it again but if you were emotionally effected by a book in a good way they would want to read it again – katawaMan 4 years ago

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