What are literary classics, and why should we read them? Some of my ideas on that are spelled out in my post “Four Qualities that Make Great Literature Special.” What do some other prominent thinkers, writers, and literature lovers have to say? A quick survey of famous critics and writers suggests that the classics are the books that are not only good to read, but great to reread. We can come to them again and again, and still reap new pleasures and new ideas from the experience.
Nabokov and Calvino: Great Readers are Rereaders
Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita and other highly-praised works, was also a literature professor at Cornell. This statement from his Lectures on Literature is famous: