The thing is this is a generalisation, and we both know it don’t we? What we actually mean is “Old Stuff”. In this supersonic digital age, it doesn’t take long before something is considered “classic” in some sense. This is not an academic look at the scholarly definition of classic literature but for a mid-range look at it, I suggest an article in The Independent by John Sutherland you can access by clicking here.
But for the purposes of this blog, I’m almost ashamed to say I’m going to lump the entire lot into what Penguin, Wordsworth Editions, O.U.P, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins and the like (by no means an exhaustive list) have decided are “Classics”. Aaaah, but you clever cookies are already throwing classifications like “Modern Classics” and “Children’s Classics” at me aren’t you? And you’d be right; I tip my hat to you! Like I said, there’s a debate to be had to some extent over what constitutes a classic and other than the fact that we can be sure it’s about longevity and relevance, there are genres, subgenres and literary periods galore we can throw into the mix. Fact is, I LOVE THEM! I Love them and I’m a total sellout to the market forces that be which means when I see a “Classic” label I’m sold.
The point of this lengthy preamble? I will try like the Joneses to keep up with the contemporaries, whether literarily acclaimed or bargain bin trash, but I’ll not be able to hide my love for long. It’ll seep in through the cracks (and likely turn into a fully gushing stream) that might have me babbling for longer than necessary. If in doubt, please see above!
(Also worth a quick glance over this short Guardian article on classic children’s lit)