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Classic literature is the great school of motivation: it teaches us how, out of the complex welter of impulses churning within

us, we make the choices that define us and seal our fate. Imagine how we grasp, response to, and make sense of the complex internal mix of feelings an author imbue to his/her characters. A plot-driven piece of literature often relies on the simultaneous interplay of feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and hopes, of conscious and subliminal impulses. Literature is a conversation across the ages, and the epochs, about our experience and our nature, a conversation in which there is a surprising breadth of agreement. Old classics sometimes dont speak to us because times have changed and the old requirements and social conventions no longer apply to the society we live in now. But literature accounts for these anachronisms, showing collectively and in a uniform entity, how the human race has evolved in its values, moral standards, and political aspirations. Literature amounts, in these matters, to the accumulated wisdom of the race, the sum of our reflections on our own existence. In one sense literature might cement our understanding of the world and mend our insufficiency, but it doesnt necessarily resonate with everyone who opens a book. The idea of a classic implies something that has continuance and consistence, and which produces unity and tradition, fashions and transmits itself, and endures. A true classic, as I should like to hear it defined, is an author who has enriched the human mind, increased its treasure, and caused it to advance a step; who has discovered some moral and not equivocal truth, or revealed some eternal passion in that heart where all seemed known and discovered; who has expressed his thought, observation, or invention, in no matter what form, only provided it be broad and great, refined and sensible, sane and beautiful in itself; who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style, a style which is found to be also that of the whole world, a style new without neologism, new and old, easily contemporary with all time.

A classic usually expresses some artistic quality--an expression of life, truth, and beauty. A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic. A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings--partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses. A classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writers and other great works of literature. Of course, this is partly related to the universal appeal of a classic. But, the classic also is informed by the history of ideas and literature--whether unconsciously or specifically worked into the plot of the text.