‘Classics’ are aptly named because they are, in fact, classic

Austen, Bronte, Du Maurier, Wilde, Dickens and Tolstoy

As an avid reader and ambitious writer, I find that I am forever in search of the elusive ‘it’ factor. Perhaps if I can pinpoint this exact factor, then all the hours of hair pulling and nail biting over story plots and development, will be at an end.

What is it that has made authors such as Austen, Bronte, Du Maurier, Wilde, Dickens and Tolstoy, retain their popularity throughout the ages? What specific tool did they use to give their characters everlasting life and appeal?The ‘classics’ are aptly named because they are, in fact, classic. They strike the right tone with the reader allowing us to appreciate the obstacles which they have individually had to overcome in order to present their author persona to the world. If that is indeed the case, were we cursed with being born in the wrong era? Perhaps had we all been daughters of clergymen, raised to be governesses, our outlandish ideas on paper would be more astonishing to the world, more memorable and therefore more inclined to traverse the generations.

As it stands, many of us hail from middle-class backgrounds with thoughts heavily influenced by social media and the silver screen, not to mention the influence which the success of other authors has had on us; ensuring that our ideas stem in some respect from theirs. Have we lost our originality and if so, what can the ‘classics’ teach us?What is the formula to written success?

I plan to assess texts from a variety of eras to determine where we may have lost our way, if at all. Perhaps, it is I, cynical to the last, who is refusing to move forward in terms of literature and is loathe to declare a modern book, a present day classic. The quest begins…

Written By: Dymphna Power

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