To me, “classic" means precisely the opposite of what my predecessors understood: a work is classical by reason of its resistance to contemporaneity and supposed universality, by reason of its capacity to indicate human particularity and difference in that past epoch. The classic is not what tells me about shared humanity – or, more truthfully put, what lets me recognize myself as already present in the past, what nourishes in me the illusion that everything has been like me and has existed only to prepare the way for me. Instead, the classic is what gives access to radically different forms of human consciousness for any given generation of readers, and thereby expands for them the range of possibilities of what it means to be a human being.
- A classic is able to focus on the contemporary human condition and a unified experience of human consciousness.
- A classical work seeks to resist particularity and temporal difference even as it focuses on a common humanity
- A classic is a work exploring the new, going beyond the universal, the contemporary, and the notion of a unified human consciousness
- A classic is a work that provides access to a universal experience of the human race as opposed to radically different forms of human consciousness