Why you will never Read Classics
Classic: A book that people praise but do not read. –Mark Twain
Readers, non-readers, and average readers have all heard the word classics. We know that in the realm of literature there exists a group of books which have to suffer the adjective classic. They’ll be able to tell you why those books are great, what they talk about, and why they were, and are, significant. They can have discussions about the depth of it and can also criticise it. They know the characters and the turns their lives are going to take.
But let’s admit, majority of the readers will be speaking from an un-informed place where they have not read the books they oh, so fondly talk about. Trust me when I say this, it’s a guilty pleasure for most readers. But why? That is the important question to ask.
There are legit reasons as to why the percentage of people who read classics has decreased in the past decades. And most of them have to do with the way both literature and lifestyle changed over the years.
Classics, if you view them now, are linguistically dense. Most of the literature that is considered classic today was written before or in the 20th century. The language that was prevalent then was Middle English and early modern English and more or less the same variations of other not-so-global languages today. These periods of languages were full of not only complicated vocabulary but also complex grammatical structures and density.
To the readers today, who are adapted to the Modern English (where anything and everything is acceptable, sigh!), reading these classics calls for immense patience and understanding of an unfamiliar writing format. And most of us are not willing to do that. It is an art to be able to read and comprehend looong sentences and not everyone knows this art.
Another thing that changed over the course of time is the universality of the issues that needed to be addressed. Different societies have developed in different directions and the meaning of universal human concerns has completely changed. Yes, there are still issues that affect all of us equally, such as the environment, but issues such as equal pay or child marriage are very peculiar to societies now.
Given the way the life quality, and thus the thinking quality, of population have changed, it’s hard to get them to read about something that doesn’t affect them. Yes, there are selfish readers in the world.
We are raising a society of humans which are made to believe that they have a sense of entitlement. The idea of individuality and having one’s own voice has been sold in such horrendous ways that patience has ceased to exist. I see this thing from point A. I am pretty okay with seeing it from point A. Because I have a voice and I matter, point A is right is the new mind-set that’s settling in.
A classic’s most intriguing feature is that it can open doors to new perspectives—make you look at the same thing from three, four, five different angles. But for the readers today, where is the patience? Where is the will? Where’s the open mind?
No one’s writing classics anymore
It’s not only on the part of the reader that classics are being abandoned; authors have stopped working hard as well. The writing style has taken a 180° turn. Who needs narrative when you can address your audience in second person? The spoken language features made their way in the written language and stayed. So, there is no need for narratives anymore. There is no need to build characters that have depth—who in spite of having everything are haunted by their worst mistakes or who in spite of having nothing have mastered the art to live. Who needs depth when you have alcohol and sex and when everything else fails, adultery?