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The Classic

The Classic

Literary Images of Permanence and Change

Frank Kermode

ISBN 9780674133983

Publication date: 09/01/1983

Frank Kermode attempts to determine the criteria for classical literature through an analysis of the social and intellectual importance of great works of the past.


  • The subtitle…modestly describes the tensions that generate the remarkable energy of this highly original study. The old conception of classic, Kermode argues, is tied to Virgilian attitudes of empire and eternity; the modern use of the term embraces change, plurality and secularization. The Classic brilliantly mediates between the two views of literature and culture… This closely argued and clearly articulated essay…rests on formidable learning.

    —George Core, New Republic


  • Sir (John) Frank Kermode was Julian Clarence Levi Professor of English Literature, Emeritus, at Columbia University and a Fellow of King’s College, University of Cambridge. He was instrumental in the 1979 founding of the London Review of Books and was knighted in 1991 for his service to literature.

Book Details

  • 142 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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