I’m finally making time to answer The Classics Club’s Monthly Meme! This one sounded really interesting:
What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.
This was a tough question for me to answer for two reasons: 1) the word “classic” means something different to most people (some people consider books older than 100 years classics, while others define classics as books that have had a fundamental impact on culture and literature); and 2) an example of a modern classic came to me so quickly I thought it was too cliche of an answer. But I’m going with it anyway because I sincerely think it will still be regarded as a classic to future generations of readers.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I’m cheating a bit because the first book was published pre-2000, but the last one wasn’t released until 2007 so it can still be considered at 21st century classic.
Why do I think Harry Potter will be labeled a classic in the future?
- It persuaded a revival of reading. I know of people who do not naturally like to read, but they have read and enjoyed Harry Potter and have even desired to read other books afterwards. (Yay for converting people into readers!)
- It has already been taught in schools. Isn’t that one of the requirements for a book to be considered a “canon”? I was always so jealous of my university friends who took lit classes that had Harry Potter on the syllabus.
- Its themes are timeless. Harry Potter has similar themes to The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, two series that are also considered classics.
- It has influenced a number of other writers and their works. Some of these authors include Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and Daniel Handler (A Series of Unfortunate Events). (Which works has J.K. Rowling listed as “probable influences” for Harry Potter? The Illiad, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Emma, and The Sword in the Stone.)
Do you think Harry Potter will be considered a classic in 25-50 years? What other books do you think are or should be considered modern classics?