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Classics that don't suck

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Zkribbler, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Warlord

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    Synsensa writes:

    I stress that he uses the word "most." The exercise here is to name classics that don't suck. :coffee:

    Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
    Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Much Ado About Nothing
    by William Shakespeare
    1984 by George Orwell
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  2. Takhisis

    Takhisis ΑΛΗΘΩС ΑΝΕСΤΗ

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    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    The Magic Mountain by T. Mann
    The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
    El Aleph by J.L. Borges
    Emilio Salgari's Sandokan books
    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha by M. Cervantes
    Lazarillo de Tormes (anonymous)

    (that's a few I've read)

    Also, phirst reply.
     
  3. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    I see Huckleberry Finn, and add Tom Sawyer.

    Adding en masse anything from HG Wells or Jules Verne.

    How are we defining "classics" here?
     
  4. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    What about the rest of Shakespeare's works? Hamlet, definitely. One of my favorites is Henry V (and no, not just because Kenneth Branagh's movie had some of my favorite actors in it).
     
  5. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Warlord

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    Any work which is generally well regarded, indeed exalted, beginning from civilization's earliest days, stopping just short of contemporary (e.g. no Harry Potter).

    Great Gatsby would fit in that time frame, but it sucks. IMHO, everything by Hemingway sucks, although admittedly his writing caused a tectonic shift in literature for the better.

    Spoiler Off Topic :
    Just watched the Kenneth-Branagh-directed version of Cinderella, a perfect, perfect movie. :love: Most beautiful ballgown ever; most beautiful dance ever. Wowser.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  6. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I really liked The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, but I'm not sure I'd classify it as a classic. It was mandatory reading in school.
     
  7. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    That one gave me nightmares. Literally. There's nothing quite like living during the Cold War, reading a steady diet of dystopian and war-related stuff for school, and hearing the newscasts about various treaties that probably aren't worth the air being breathed while signing them, never mind the paper they're printed on, and recalling that less than ten years before, they were still doing duck-and-cover drills in school (yes, I had those and even at that age I knew that hiding under my desk wasn't going to do any good).

    I remember waking up in the midst of an anxiety attack, and my cat had to bite me to get me to calm down (not hard enough to draw blood; she bit me on the arm just hard enough for me to notice).

    This happened just over 40 years ago, and I still remember it vividly.
     
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  8. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Speaking of nightmares, Dracula is definitely a classic that doesn't suck. Well, depending on what definition of suck you are using, but in this context definitely doesn't suck.
     
  9. Serutan

    Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus

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    Ones I can think of not already mentioned:

    Frankenstein - Mary Shelly
    A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens.
    The Odyssey - Homer.

    And a couple that may be borderline from a time frame standpoint:
    The Stand by Stephen King
    Watership Down by Richard Adams.
     
  10. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Stephen King is (a) not a writer of classics (in my opinion, of course); and (b) too recent.

    I think we need to have a cutoff time, like maybe things written at least 50 years ago?
     
  11. Serutan

    Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus

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    I agree in the general case but in this case I hold a differing opinion. :)

    Yes, a hard number is probably better than 'contemporary' since what constitutes contemporary is I suspect strongly dependent on one's age.
     
  12. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    I assume you're aware that Hemingway didn't write the Great Gatsby ;)

    Let's see.
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is quite good.
    The Iliad is one of my favorite stories. Don't like the Odyssey as much.
    Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

    Others I like have already been mentioned. I may think of some more.
     
  13. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    I'm a sucker for the classics. I don't think any of them suck. If I read one and it seems to sucks, I assume there's something wrong with me, not with the work. That's how much I believe in the status of the classics.

    Thread needs a working definition of suck. Then maybe I'd be able to think of some that I've sampled and concluded they suck, even despite my starting axiom.
     
  14. Serutan

    Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus

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    To me, 'sucks' means "I felt that book was a waste of time".
     
  15. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Warlord

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    :yup: 50 years it is.

    I've edited out my Cold Mountain.

    Definition 2: "I couldn't finish because it was so dreadfully boring."
     
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  16. Ozbenno

    Ozbenno Fly Fly Away Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    I enjoyed The Time Machine by HG Wells as a kid but haven't read it for many years so don't know if it still holds up.
     
  17. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    I think The Time Machine, and Wells in general, holds up better than Verne. Not necessarily in terms of the reader aging, but in terms of the world moving on. Most of Verne's work, while certainly prophetic in its time, suffers by comparison to subsequent realities. A machine carrying its inventor into the post apocalyptic future or a man driven mad by his invisibility inducing serum could be written today just as effectively. In fact, the very effective horror film Hollow Man was a great adaptation of The Invisible Man and it's only twenty years old and no less creepy right now.
     
  18. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Meanwhile, I just had the mind popping realization that if we go with the fifty year limit as a prerequisite for a 'classic,' which seems very reasonable, then Alvin Toffler's Future Shock is very close to eligible, which is just weird.
     
  19. Leifmk

    Leifmk Chieftain

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    You need some Alexandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo. Please, only full unabridged versions, in good translations if (like me) you can't read French. Dumas could write a hell of a good story, and did so at some considerable length!
     
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  20. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I have an unabridged edition of The Count of Monte Cristo (haven't read it yet). It wasn't easy to track down, and the only reason I got it was because I had a request at the second-hand bookstore I used to deal with. Someone offered it to her and she got it for me. Otherwise, I'd have had to make do with the French version on Project Gutenberg.

    The reason I wanted to read it? There's a Count of Monte Cristo computer game. I tried it, loved it, and wanted to read the story it was based on. There are also numerous Three Musketeers computer games. :D

    Fun fact about Count of Monte Cristo: While it's too new to qualify for "classic" under the definition we've adopted for this thread, one of Ben Bova's Grand Tour novels (Mercury) is an homage to the Monte Cristo novel. His character, an engineer named Mance Bracknell, invents a space elevator that was sabotaged so it fell to Earth and killed several million people. Bracknell is betrayed by a friend, sent to prison (exile/imprisonment on a ship traveling between the Moon and asteroid belt on cargo runs), and manages to escape. He remakes his identity as Dante Alexios, a wealthy entrepreneur/engineer on the planet Mercury and has put his revenge plans into action. I spotted the plot's similarity to Dumas' work quickly, and am one of the camp who thinks it was rather clever of Bova to do this. Other readers think it's a cop-out and Bova got lazy. I'd be curious to know how other Bova readers feel about this (calling @hobbsyoyo!).
     

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