Как се става класик(а)

Обсъждаме лични художествени текстове и споделяме идеи за разхубавяването им.

Как се става класик(а)

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:45 pm

Спорът е безкрайно стар, натрупаните коментари - безкрайно много... тъй че няма значение откъде точно ще го подхванем.

Аз – от Goodreads:

Kalin wrote:Phillip wrote: "But how much influence a book has should have you looking at genres, history, and the ways books are presented to readers. Too hard, eh?"

Absolutely.

And not exactly measurable either. Who's going to decide if John Dos Passos's work had an actual impact on Stand on Zanzibar? How about a recent case I had: a lovely Pratchettesque debut novel by an author who says she never read Pratchett in her life?

I already made a similar argument a couple thousand comments ago: What we call 'classics' today is mostly a measure of what has had the good fortune of being noticed by people in power: figures of authority, or voices with authority (there's no great difference, down below). Yes, most of these books have literary merits too; but so have thousands of other books which have NOT been noticed or promoted by a recognizable authority--haven't "created a trend", in your words.

So, basically, your list would be a repetition of what textbooks have to tell us. Or am I missing a point?


Очакваме включване от Trip. ;)
User avatar
Кал
Първопроходец
 
Posts: 12506
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Рамо до рамо. Искаш ли?
Has thanked: 9816 times
Has been thanked: 7731 times

Re: Как се става класик(а)

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:37 pm

And now, for the full Monty:

Kalin wrote:What is "best"? Truly?

It will certainly help if such lists are named something more meaningful - "Favorite Books", "Most Loved Books", you name it.

That's how I look at them myself. And that's why I believe it's right for Harry and Edward to top them. Because that's what most readers (_here_; _now_) have loved the most.

Yes, I do grieve inside that not many people have enjoyed _The Neverending Story_, and grown with it, as much as I have. But that's only because there's still that little nazi* inside me. The one who says, "The world must be such and such! And if you disagree -- burn! Burn!"

So it's my own problem ... isn't it?

K)

---
* Not to be confused with the historical Nazis.


Trudi wrote:I think we can all agree that at best "Best" is a subjective term. I also hope we can all agree it should encompass more than how technically proficient the writing. Some emotional value has to be taken into account -- how a book makes us feel for instance -- and what it makes us think about.

I know it's easy to slam those damn Twilight books but the series has obviously resonated with a lot of people (and not just teen girls -- some of the latest stats show the series has sold over 116 million copies worldwide and has been translated into at least 38 languages -- I don't think teen girls are driving all of those sales).

"Best" should include those accessible books that speak to a wide universal audience, rather than just to the few "erudite" "college-educated" readers who staunchly defend "the classics" to their dying breath. Without a doubt, some classics are classics for a reason: they have stood the test of time and continue to speak to each new generation of readers. But some classics have stayed too long at the party if you ask me and no longer speak to anyone.

I think populist lists like this one are great because it does get people talking about what's worth treasuring in a book and are often an interesting window into the timber of the times. These lists are certainly more revealing than the same old boring critics' Top 100 Books that only dare choose the same predictable "classics" over and over again.


Kalin wrote:Barry wrote: "there are so many wonderful books, writers, but if they're aren't for sale, they don't exist. I've read about 50 books out of print, small publishers or hard to find."

About those rarer treasures - I heartily recommend Great Science-Fiction and Fantasy Works:

Have you heard of Satyrday? A. A. Attanasio? R. A. Lafferty?

The list compiler sounds like someone I'd befriend without a moment's hesitation. :)


Kalin wrote:Allison wrote: I'd like to see more people telling each other what book they put in the number one spot on their own list...

I put the books that helped me grow into the human being I am now. Number one is The Neverending Story - because it found me first. Then come David Zindell's Requiem for Homo Sapiens, Peter Beagle's Last Unicorn and Nikolay Tellalov's "Слънце недосегаемо" (Sun Untouchable).

There are many, many beautiful books - but these ones had the greatest impact on my life.


Kalin wrote:Dan wrote: "But i think the classics deserve the top spot since they have gone through the test of times. "

There's no such test, Dan. It's a common misconception spread by the way they teach literature in schools. :)

What we call 'classics' is what certain people before us - who have been influential for one reason or another - have set apart from the rest. Then, the majority of readers have grabbed onto those people's choice, and have in turn passed it down to the next generation - that is, the next majority of more gullible, less deciding-for-themselves readers. And so on.

(And do you believe the majority can ever be clever? Just look at a list like this one. Look at ^all^ ^those^ ^comments^... :DDD)

Each book stands on its own. Each book's place and importance changes as time passes; as we readers change.

So this list is as good as they come. And it's getting better. ;)


Kalin wrote:Bill wrote: "... Now, was that enough "reading" for you, Kalin?"
Is there such a thing as "enough reading" ever, Bill? :)

A few comments below yours, Allison has given you a response that comes very close to my own understanding of the issue. I won't reiterate her thoughts. Let me just reinforce one point in them:

You seem to be relying on "authorities" such as the Pulitzers and Noble Prizes. Do you assume, then, that their judgment - which in fact is based on the opinions of a very small group of people, the members of the respective prize committees - is more representative than the collective judgment of a readers' community several hundred thousands strong?

This is an interesting question, in light of how we assign values to intrinsically subjective phenomena, like works of culture.

P.S. In one of those previous comments you didn't feel like reading :P, I've written about my suggestion to the creator of this list to rename it to Our Favorite Books or something similar. If you had read it, you'd see that you and I actually share quite a lot of common ground.


Bill wrote:Allison wrote: "what rules dictate what makes a film or a book better or more respectable than the others?"

Well, as you noticed yourself, the first instinct of a lot of people, when you tell them about your favorite book or film, is to question your intelligence. We all thrive to be smarter, more clever than we are and anything that gives that impression earns respectability. But if you're really honest, you'll have to admit that the books or films you prefer are simply the ones who give you more pleasure.
So, I think there are two schools and it boils down to those two things, intelligence vs. pleasure. It's not so much a matter of rules to follow. The works (whether books or films) that manage to both elevate your intellect AND give you whatever it is you need to be satisfyingly entertained are very rare, or rather, if they manage to do that, they usually don't do both at the same time (which is why, as you grow older, some books or films you remember fondly seem "kinda dumb" in retrospect whereas what seemed impenetrable before suddenly becomes exceptional once you "get" them).
I think what we see in the comments here is the antagonism between those two "factions" and both have arguments that make sense, so there's no real way to tell who's right and who's wrong.
And then, there are people (I like to think of myself as included in that category) who are conflicted. When I joined this site, I had set myself on a mission to read every Hugo award winning books I haven't read yet (which is about, hum... 95% of them? :p) but I've kept postponing that ever since I heard all the fuss about Hunger Games. (and yes, the fact that the movie comes out next year was an incentive :))


Karl [deleted user] wrote:While I agree that books which match all of one's criteria are rare, and that "good" is wholly relative, I think people self-impose rather a false dichotomoy between "good" (meaning quality) and "good" (meaning fun). I have read and enjoyed total crap (knowing it was crap). For example, in college, a friend and I read most of the E.E. "Doc" Smith books, because they were so awful they were great. Similarly, my wife and I read most of Burroughs' Mars books to each other. Awful writing can be fun. However, one should have some idea that it's awful. Ideally, one should also approach some concept of why one enjoys it.

For me to enjoy a novel now,it needs a compelling plot. There also needs to be a balance between description and action (why I preferred the movie of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to the book), and at least a few characters I actually LIKE (why I prefer Nevada Barr to P.D. James). Then, to put the work over the top into "this is great" (as opposed to "this is fun"), there needs to be an ability to use language, not just to describe, but to evoke - to CREATE a reality rather than just tell about it. Some authors do it - Gaiman, Pratchett, Tolkien, Austin, Dickens (and, for me, Patricia Leslie.) But I will still read books I know are poorly written if some element grabs me enough.


Kalin wrote:To Bill and Karl's comments, I'd like to add another quality that makes a book compelling to me: its ability to move and even change me.

Admittedly, this is easier when you are younger and more impressionable. The more you've read/seen/experienced, the harder it gets. I guess that's one reason why most of our favorites are books we read as children/adolescents.

Here on Goodreads, I've restricted my five-star scores only to those books that have changed me in some perceptible way. (Many others have probably done it too, but I'm not aware of how and to what extent.) They're less than 5 per cent of what I've read. Which also explains why I do so much research these days before I decide to pick up another book. Heck, I can do better than those 5 per cent... :D


... and it goes on...

User avatar
Кал
Първопроходец
 
Posts: 12506
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Рамо до рамо. Искаш ли?
Has thanked: 9816 times
Has been thanked: 7731 times

Re: Как се става класик(а)

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:04 pm

Kalin wrote:Phillip wrote: "Influence is more in what topics are covered, or what treatment and viewpoint given"

My point, then, is: How do we decide that the topics Book X covers, etc., are significant? Or that it provides the most profound/thorough/you-come-up-with-your-own-definition-of-"influential" treatment of them? Or that it was the first, the seminal work?

(That last consideration is devilishly tricky in itself: it requires us to go back and read the authors that our own "most influential" authors have been influenced by, directly or implicitly. And then go back to those authors and their influences. And then ... where do we stop?)

I, for one, can't cope with such a task. I find it staggering. Therefore, it feels unfair (to me) to offer any opinion. Therefore, I cannot vote on such a list in good conscience.

On the other hand, I can vote on this list easily--I only need to assume "best" means "the ones that most influenced ME". :)

And so, here we see what MANY people consider to be the "best" books. That's democratic, to me. :)

P.S. The Stand on Zanzibar example was an easy one. I think Brunner himself said he borrowed some structural tricks from Dos Passos. My second example was the really hard one to judge and draw conclusions from.
User avatar
Кал
Първопроходец
 
Posts: 12506
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Рамо до рамо. Искаш ли?
Has thanked: 9816 times
Has been thanked: 7731 times

Re: Как се става класик(а)

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:52 pm

Trip did appear--here:

Emanuil wrote:I would like to offer a different sort of understanding of what "best" books are and what such lists mean.

What I offer is not complicated: the perception of literary quality/ies has always been a matter not of how you rate books but how you talk about them. And even as rating goes, a numerical list is a poor choice of method; it provides a starting point for a discussion, I guess, but it's rarely a starting point for a good discussion.

So there, my drop of tar. Sorry if I've indirectly offended someone.


... but this is already going on a tangent from the question of 'classics', so I'll leave it off. Might turn into a whole new topic. ;)
User avatar
Кал
Първопроходец
 
Posts: 12506
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Рамо до рамо. Искаш ли?
Has thanked: 9816 times
Has been thanked: 7731 times


Return to Писателска работилница

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CCBot and 0 guests