Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?

Someone thought it worth reading
Someone thought it worth reading

Flavorwire has a post on Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?, asking a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their views. Interestingly, only three authors made the list more than once – James Joyce for both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, Ayn Rand, who is not even vaguely a classic and never has been but is an awful writer and To Kill a Mockingbird, a book, I must confess, I have never read but I have seen the film, which made me think that I probably shall never read the book. I was also glad to see someone mention Updike (though, sadly, no-one mentioned Philip Roth, whom we certainly could do without.) This has been done before. Brigid Brophy and her husband Michael Levey, and Charles Osborne produced a book called Fifty works of English literature we could do without and others have produced similar lists. I could add many more to the list – Hemingway, D H Lawrence and Solzhenitsyn are three obvious candidates and Mailer is now joining the list. I could never read George Meredith but then, I suppose, few people read him anyway. The same could be said for Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress. I am sure that we all have our candidates but, as some of the writers in the Flavorwire article said, we should be thinking more about adding to the canon, not cutting it. Now, for that I do have a list.

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