Is The Term Classic Being Overused?

During a long and thought provoking conversation yesterday, a topic came into play about what the term classic means when referring to novels. The other person stated that they think the term is overused in place of what feels epic. I use it to refer to books that are said to be ones that have to be read in a lifetime, stories that are thought to be timeless.

After the conversation though, I could see the point of the term being overused or maybe misused. Like many words, people have different ideas of what a word means or how to use it. I went ahead and looked up the definition of classic from Merriam-Webster.

Classic (adjective)

– used to say that something has come to be considered one of the best of its kind

– used to say that something is an example of excellence

– used to describe something that has been popular for a long time

– traditional

I think these are pretty accurate definitions of how I use the term classic when referring to literary works. However, I do expect that I personally won’t agree with every novel that is considered ‘classic’. Like anything, it depends on individual preference, opinion, and likes.

Merriam-Webster link, here.

How do you use and define the term classic?

Have a great day! :)

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6 thoughts on “Is The Term Classic Being Overused?

  1. It’s a really interesting one – I sometimes feel a bit sorry for authors who wrote one ‘classic’ and then a whole bunch of ‘also rans’ (there are a lot of them out there too). You’d think that if you read one amazing book by an author it would tempt you to seek out others that they’d written, but so often the ‘classic’ is the one that people read and then delve no further. Going further than the ‘reading list’ is something that can be pretty good for the soul though; like, if I’d not been able to get my hands on ‘Brave New World’ all those years ago, I never would have read ‘Eyeless in Gaza’, which is one of my favourite books.

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    • Very true, I didn’t really think about that! I think for me it depends on how I liked the ‘classic’ book by the author. If I liked it then I’ll seek out other works.

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      • Yes, that’s true for me too – though sometimes I find that the ‘classic’ isn’t always indicative of the quality of the authors other work…

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      • True, I’m sure many readers have found that an author’s other work should be the ‘classic’ or more popular one compared to what ‘society’ believes is the classic or popular one. I just wonder who continued to say which book is classic over the years

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