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:
- Write a post dealing with the above question(s).
- Link back to this post.
- 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.