Classic Remarks is a meme that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation. The schedule for the year is posted below, so feel free to get a head start. We look forward to seeing your responses!
Schedule for 2020
May 1 What is a classic you loved when you were younger, but feel differently about now?
May 8 What classic did you love when you were younger—and you still love now?
May 15 Which of the Brontë sisters’ work is your favorite? Why?
May 22 Which YA books would you like to see become classics and why?
May 29 Why do you think some individuals believe in the Shakespeare authorship “controversy” even though the scholarly consensus is that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare?
June 5 What classic did you read in school and end up loving?
June 12 What are some lesser-known works by a classic author you think people should read?
June 19 Charlotte’s Web took the number one spot on the School Library Journal’s 2012 list of Top 100 chapter books. Why do you think this book continues to appeal to readers?
June 26 What advice would you give to someone hesitant to read classics?
July 3 Do you prefer Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys? Why?
July 10 Tell us about a classic picture book you love for the illustrations.
July 17 During her life, Frances Hodgson Burnett received more acclaim for Little Lord Fauntleroy than for The Secret Garden. Today the reverse is true. What do you think prompted the change?
July 24 What is your favorite musical based on a classic novel?
July 31 Who is your favorite character in The Lord of the Rings?
August 7 What classic do you read—and love—because it was recommended to you?
August 14 What classic work should get a film/TV adaptation?
August 21 Tell us about your favorite Roald Dahl novel.
August 28 Recommend a diverse classic.
September 4 Do you think readers should sympathize with Paolo and Francesca in Dante’s Inferno?
September 11 How do you interpret the ending of Lois Lowry’s The Giver?
September 18 What is a contemporary book you think might become a classic? Or should become a classic?
September 25 What classic changed your life?
October 2 Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie has been criticized for its depiction of Native Americans as “primitive.” Should students continue to read this book in school?
October 9 Should the Narnia books be read in chronological order or in publication order?
October 16 Tell us about a classic you find humorous.
October 23 Do you have a favorite time period for classic literature?
October 30 Recommend a spooky classic.
November 6 How do you interpret Dante’s Ulysses? Is he a heroic figure or something else?
November 13 Tell us about a few of your favorite classic authors.
November 20 Why do you read classics? (Or why don’t you?)
November 27 Which Narnia book is your favorite and why?
December 4 Recommend a holiday classic.
December 11 Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen has been challenged for its depiction of the boy protagonist as nude. What is your response?
December 18 Tell us about your favorite science fiction classic.
December 25 Does Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree depict selfless love or an abusive relationship?
SCHEDULE FOR 2017
April 21 Hotspur rather than Prince Hal used to receive more critical attention in Henry IV, Part 1. What do think created the change in reception and is it warranted?
May 5 Do you identify at all with Holden Caulfield?
May 12 Is the ending of Call of the Wild positive?
May 19 Recommend a diverse classic.
May 26 Do you think Aeneas was right to leave Dido?
SCHEDULE FOR 2016
Sept. 2: Recommend a diverse classic. Or you can argue that a diverse book should be a classic or should be included in the canon. (Or you can argue that the book should be a classic, but that you don’t want to see it in the canon.)
Nov. 4: Middlemarch has received criticism for the fate of its heroine Dorothea Brooke as some believe she does not live up to feminist ideals as she remains limited in her influence and matched to an inferior partner. Do you think such criticism is warranted?
Nov. 25: Daisy Buchanan from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby says she wishes her daughter will be a “beautiful little fool.” Is Daisy herself nothing but a fool or is she trapped by her society?
Dec. 9: Nahum Tate is infamous for his 1681 adaptation of King Lear with a happy ending. Why do you think some adaptations of works are praised and others dismissed? Can we separate the merit of an adaptation from the merit of the work it is based on?