Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why Reading Classics: Classics Club October Meme


I think The Classics Club’s prompt for October meme is the basic thinking we ought to reflect when we decide to dedicate our times and efforts to read classics. But before coming to why I read classics, maybe we ought to describe ‘what is classics’ first. I believe the exact description of “classics” itself will vary among us, but I think it’s basically the same. These are what for me classics represent,

"A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say." ~Italo Calvino

A true classic, as I should like to hear it defined, is an author who has enriched the human mind, increased its treasure, and caused it to advance a step; who has discovered some moral and not equivocal truth, or revealed some eternal passion in that heart where all seemed known and discovered; who has expressed his thought, observation, or invention, in no matter what form, only provided it be broad and great, refined and sensible, sane and beautiful in itself; who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style, a style which is found to be also that of the whole world, a style new without neologism, new and old, easily contemporary with all time.” ~Charles Sainte Beuve

For me personally,

Classics are books that hit at the heart of its readers; that their influence continue to resonate long after the book was published or the author passed away. Classics are books that continue to be read for generations, because what is in it is universal, even though times have changed. Classics also contain things that teach values worthy of being role models.

Now we come to this month’s prompt:

Why are you reading the classics?

Looking at ‘what is classics’ stands for me, I read classics because they speak about valuable things in life: humanity, love, friendship… ; because they show us the reality in human life: passion, kindness, hatred, poverty… I read classics because I can learn something from the past that I can use as a compass or barometer for the future; because the authors wrote it in their era but their works resonate until now. Or, I read classics merely because they were beautifully written, and I love them… :)

So, why are you reading classics, then?....

14 comments:

  1. Sadly, not everyone learns from the past. :( Personally, I see classics as a way to experience emotions, ideas and such that I might not likely do so in reality.

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    1. Yeah...many thinks classics are boring because they are 'old'. Well, the setting might be out of date, but not the values. It's history which made us what we are now, isn't it?

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  2. I love the classics! :D

    http://eternal-simplicity.blogspot.com

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  3. I like the first definition; it summarises it all. I love your definition and reasons for reading the classics. The values are eternal, aren't they?

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    1. Exactly! It's something that echoes from generations to generations.

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  4. I am reading to build a list for my daughter. As a home educator, I want her to read all these lovely, timeless books. So much better than the dry, boring school day.

    Have a most wonderful day.

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    1. That's a wonderful idea, Amy! My father used to guide me to choose my readings when I was a child. There are a lot of good values in classics that children could learn from the books.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Joon Ann :)
      How's your 'Beloved' reading? Have you started it? I'm on page 55 right now.

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  6. I've been having a difficult time defining "classic" ever since I joined this club. I finally just decided on a cut-and-dry definition of when it was published. Otherwise, I spend too much time thinking about whether something is appropriate. It's nice that you can enjoy the use of more open definitions!

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    1. When I'm not so sure myself whether a book can be called classic or not, I'd take a look at the classification in Goodreads or classiclit[dot]about[dot]com

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What do you think?