Modern Classics - are there such a thing?
26 November 2010
A question has been posed - how do you define a modern classic? Answering that question is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
A classic is a classic because it has stood the test of time and something modern (in my view) is something that I can recognise and identify with.
So how can they combine?
In my view, they can if you go back a little further in time to, say, the mid 20th century. Although I wasn't personally around back then, it is still a world that is modern in the sense discussed above - and a book written during that period has had a few decades to prove that it can withstand the test of time and therefore be considered a classic.
Examples that come to mind are Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck or The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (which I recently finished reading).
Anything much later than that period and I don't think that it has had it's chance to prove itself - at most, it might be considered a potential modern classic.
I know that it a very literal and rather structured way of looking at it, but I am a lawyer and I just can't help myself.
Posted by Rebecca Chapman