We could talk all day about what constitutes a classic book. My list would be different to your list and we could debate the virtues of our choices ‘til we’re blue in the face!
The definition of a classic book is a long and hotly debated topic. All exemplary, all noteworthy, but as we discussed in a recent blog on our sister site LoveReading4Kids when we debated the top 50 classics every child (and adult) should read, there are some tenets that the classics all have in common.
In classic literature, a work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written and it merits lasting recognition, one that deserves re-reading five times, and picking up again five years even 100 years after its publication. They are a treasured experience, they are books which exercise a particular influence when they imprint themselves on our imagination as unforgettable. They don’t elicit indifference, they polarise opinion. In other words, in this interpretation, a recently-published book is not a classic. While the term "modern classic" may apply to books written after World War II, they need longevity to achieve the designation of a simple "classic."
Here at LoveReading we present our list of classic books, all published before 1950.
We start with the collection of stories told by 24 fictional pilgrims in a story-telling competition in the incredible Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, hailing from 1476! With one book from the 1700s, an amazing 29 from the 1800s, we selected the remaining 19 from the 20th century and finish the list in 1950.
It is an incredible list of stunning classics, all of which we adore here at LoveReading. What’s your favourite, how many have you read…and what will you be reading or re-reading next?