July 7, 2012

14 Characteristics of a Classic

I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy vacationing (saw a bear yesterday!) and finishing up Paradise Lost. An interesting article on Brain Pickings excerpts Why Read the Classics? by Italo Calvino. Calvino offers 14 characteristics of a classic book, most of which I agree with, some of which seem redundant to me.  Here are a few of my favorites.
5. A classic is a book which even when we read it for the first time gives the sense of rereading something we have read before.
8. A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off.
 14. A classic is a work which persists as a background noise even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway.
What do you think of the list?  Was "pulviscular" a new word to you like it was for me?

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