1. Rough Draft

    Rough Draft New Member

    Oct 30, 2007
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    Now that's Classic

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rough Draft, Nov 3, 2007.

    So there are those Literary Giants we all hear about or have to read in school. Poe, Hemingway, Dickens, Chaucer. The list can go on and on. But here’s the question of the day, kids.

    How many of them do you actually like? How many of them do you actually find yourself enjoying reading for the sake of reading them?

    For me, I’ll have to admit, many of these authors I can appreciate after I’ve read the whole book, but while reading it, is something of a different story. Dickens is a great example of this. I love Dickens, his books are one of the few of the classic authors that I can really dig into after reading and catch all the little snips and hints and connections that he littered through-out the story. Great Expectations in particular is a book I loved to go back into and tear apart for all these. But my first time reading through it? I thought it was… alright, I guess. Same with his other books, the first time I read it, I’m only so-so about it but if I dive back into it, that’s when I start loving it.

    The opposite of this for me, just an author who I loved to read just for the sheer joy of reading him, was Mark Twain. Great characters, great dialogue and the guy is just fun to read. If you’ve only read Tom Sawyer, then you’ve really just only scratched the surface of what he can do. My personal favorites of his are The Frog of Calaveras County and A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Great stuff, both of them.

    That’s really just two examples, other greats I enjoy are Chaucer (I’ve only read parts of the Canterbury Tales, but any author who can convince English professor’s across the world that fart and sex jokes are High-Brow Literature is fan-****ing-tastic in my view) and of course Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo has had so many different stories basically ripping off of it and it remains the best of the lot to this day.

    So what are some of the Literary Classics that you guys think truly are Classic? And which ones are really just hacks that wouldn’t be able to make it in this day and age?
  2. Banzai

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Mar 31, 2007
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    Reading, UK
    I like Poe. And Orwell (the man is a genius!). And naturally Shakespeare.

    Other than that, I can't say I've done many authors I really enjoyed in English lessons. Sad, really.
  3. Endeavour

    Endeavour New Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    London, UK
    Shakespeare has always given me headaches. I spend more time attempting to decipher the language than actually reading (let alone enjoying) the books. Dictionary galore.
  4. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    whether or not all those writers who turned out 'classics' could 'hack it' in today's world has nothing whatsoever to do with their greatness, any more than whether today's nobel/pulitzer/pen award winners' works would have been considered great in those long-ago times...

    the timelessness of the quality of the writing skills these classic literary works' wordsmiths employed is what makes them great... whether it be the stories they told, the way they told them, the characters they created, or all of the above, their exceptional skill in practicing the art of writing was and is the measure by which they were/are ranked...

    and i read all of them for enjoyment, never for any other reason... fortunately, i was out of school by the time 'catcher in the rye' was made an assigned reading staple, or i woudn't be able to say that!... however, i'd read most of the classics well before any teacher made them a must, having been devouring the iliad and the odyssey at around, along with anything/everything else i could lay my hands on at our public library...
  5. lessa

    lessa New Member

    Oct 24, 2007
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    Fantasy land
    I enjoy Mark Twain for hucklberry finn and tom sawyer.
    dickens I have read the christmas carol.
    but the others I find morbid or just plain unreadable. Maybe it is the language that I have to try and put into everyday language.
    To me a classic is a book you can pick up and re-read whenever. Beatrix potter, lucy maude montgomery. Anne McCaffrey.
    I know light reading but oh so relaxing.
  6. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

    May 14, 2006
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    Peoria, Illinois
    I like Shakespeare and Poe. Most of the other "classic" writers I don't care for at all. It has been my impression that most of the "classic" writers aren't famous or classic (usually/always) because of their actual talent, but rather because they were oftentimes pioneers into the type or style.

    E.E. Cummings is the perfect example. While some may disagree, it is my personal opinion that his "poems" have little, if any, literary value. However (again, in my opinion), because he was -

    1 0f


    lsT 2 rite in



    He = reenoip


    What can I say. I couldn't resist.
  7. TheFedoraPirate

    TheFedoraPirate New Member

    Oct 11, 2007
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    Dostoyevsky, Joseph Heller, and Mark Twain are the only classic authors I can say I thoroughly enjoy reading for pure entertainment.

    'specially Joseph Heller...Catch-22 was frickin hilarious.
  8. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    I enjoy Hemingway's writing. I also like H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

    Shakespeare is marvellous, but the archaic language makes it slow reading, and much of the humor is in references that are mostly impenetrable to a modern audience. He was a incorrigible punster, and was one bawdy bard.
  9. Skipdonahue

    Skipdonahue New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
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    Denver, Colorado
    The problem I have with alot of those classic authors is that they did exactly what they needed to do in thier time, but nowadays, it's just too much. Back then, Dickens could spend four pages describing a koala if he wanted because, back then, nobody had ever seen one. But now, all you need to do is say koala in a book and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about. It wasn't too much description then, but it is now.

    Just my two cents.
  10. SnipSnap

    SnipSnap Active Member

    Feb 10, 2007
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    Clinton, Illinois
    Oh Wow ... I get to show my dorkiness. I adore most classic authors. Dickens, Cervantes, Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus .... Shakespeare, Kyd, Twain, Melville, Joyce, Steinbeck, Tolstoy ...
    Just some of my top favorites.

    However, I hate gushy books like "Adam Bede," "Anna Karanina," and "Dr. Zhivago." Just to name a few of the more popular ones.

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