Classic Books and Time Travel ~ BitterSweetLife

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Classic Books and Time Travel

How Does a Book Survive the "Test of Time?"

Several days ago, the classic question was raised,
What Makes a "Great" Book? Several ingredients were proposed, among them the admirable "It stands the test of time" quality. This was very convincing and hard to disagree with. However, back on his own blog, overlyconscious was reading the comments and posing some questions of his own. Specifically: "If the classics stand the test of time, then what and how does time test?"

After my initial puzzlement, I decided it wasn't a bad question.

After all, "the test of time" is a somewhat ambiguous phrase. Exactly what type of test is time dishing out, anyway? Is it a one-time event or an on-going phenomenon?
Once a book has stood the test of time, can it later flunk out? What kind of book tends to survive? What qualities have that time-defying element?

I was thinking it would be good fun if a few of you tackled these question - not necessarily at any great length - but simply in order to clarify the phrase, "the test of time." I'm going to do so myself and I'm hoping for company. So, your challenge, if you choose to accept it:

How does a book stand the test of time? What bookish qualities tend to endure?

We could make this a semi-formal event:

  1. Write a post dealing with the above question(s).
  2. Link back to this post.
  3. Post a comment under this post with a link to yours.

Any takers? Feel free to comment even if you're not writing a post on the topic.

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Ariel said...

A Call-out
I'm hoping that Sherry will participate, although her bookish blog is defying my attempts to leave a comment at the moment.

Ariel said...

Here's my humble contibution (also above): Today's Timeless Books

Ariel said...

Argh. I hate to dominate my own comments, but Meridian's time-test post deserves a read; some interesting commentary ensues.

Sherry said...

Can't post a comment? I'm sorry; the spammers seem to be able to do so with impunity. I'm thinking about your question and will get back to you.

Andrew Simone said...

My post is done and the link is here:

Sorry, I would post it as a link but my code knowledge is terrible.

Raminagrobis said...

Hi, Ariel.

You can read my ill-considered response to the question you raised , should you so desire.

Dig your blog, by the way!

Raminagrobis said...

Oh, sorry, messed up the link.

René López Villamar said...

Hi there. It seems like your linkback has something wrong because none of the post following your ideas are linked back, and I google blogsearch aleready show two. Anyway, I want to thank you for proposing this event and let you know it has foun a (small) echo in the spanish blogosphere.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the heads up, Rene. I was wondering about the linkback function myself. Now, if only I could read Spanish!

John B. said...

The moment may have passed, but in case anyone is interested, you may find my response to this question


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife