Revisiting classics

Classics age like wine does.

I was exposed to several classics during our childhood – illustrated novels, Disney movies and comic books about Indian epics (have the same initials as Amar Chitra Katha).  I did not think much about returning to them at a later point.

When Daniel Pink was in college, his teacher announced “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain as required reading for the class. In that moment, the entire class let out a collective groan. Everybody had already read Huckleberry Finn back in school. The teacher waited for the noise to subside, and replied,

“You have read Huckleberry Finn, but you haven’t read Huckleberry Finn.”

They were no longer the same people who had read it 15 years back. Classics change every time we read them. The works themselves remain the same. They are timeless. But we have changed.

There is an advantage to revisiting classics. Since we already know the plot, a second visit lets us go beneath the surface and uncover their deeper layers. Little wonder that jazz artists use classics or popular songs to dig deeper and improvise.

Classics age like wine because people discover and rediscover them, putting them in newer perspective.

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