Are old novels/poems/plays etc. only famous because they are old?

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lightningdoritos
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Not sure if this is in the right place, but I've been thinking about the significance of time on literary texts and how there are less 'old' pieces of literature than there are 'new'.

For example, are Shakespeare's play's regarded as brilliant simply because the plots are really interesting, or is there perhaps something to suggest that his works are only famous because he was the only significant writer at that time?
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DJKL
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(Original post by lightningdoritos)
Not sure if this is in the right place, but I've been thinking about the significance of time on literary texts and how there are less 'old' pieces of literature than there are 'new'.

For example, are Shakespeare's play's regarded as brilliant simply because the plots are really interesting, or is there perhaps something to suggest that his works are only famous because he was the only significant writer at that time?
I would not set a criteria for Shakespeare's plays as brilliant on the basis of their plots, I would more consider them brilliant in their reflection of the eternal human condition.

Also other playwrights are still read and studied, maybe not so much at school, but I studied plays by Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe and John Webster in first year University.
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COYSCOYS
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I would say that old texts are famous because they're timeless, not just because they're old. Books like 1984 and Crime and Punishment are still extremely significant in today's society, mainly because human nature doesn't change too much. Use the Sherlock Holmes tales for example; add a modern twist to an old story and it's incredibly popular. I feel that older books that are still well-known today are known because they're so good, and not just because they were written long ago.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by lightningdoritos)
Not sure if this is in the right place, but I've been thinking about the significance of time on literary texts and how there are less 'old' pieces of literature than there are 'new'.

For example, are Shakespeare's play's regarded as brilliant simply because the plots are really interesting, or is there perhaps something to suggest that his works are only famous because he was the only significant writer at that time?
The company for which Shakespeare wrote would have been staging as many plays as a repertory theatre does today. How many of their texts have survived? How many are performed today?

Even in Shakespeare's canon, probably a third of the plays are rarely performed.

Tell me have you seen:

King John
King Henry VIII
Henry VI Part 1
Henry VI Part II
Henry VI Part III
Troilus and Cressida
Pericles
Coriolanus
Two Noble Kinsmen
Measure for Measure
The Winter's Tale
Cymbeline

I have seen one of them on stage.
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Toaster Leavings
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(Original post by lightningdoritos)
Not sure if this is in the right place, but I've been thinking about the significance of time on literary texts and how there are less 'old' pieces of literature than there are 'new'.

For example, are Shakespeare's play's regarded as brilliant simply because the plots are really interesting, or is there perhaps something to suggest that his works are only famous because he was the only significant writer at that time?
Shakespeare has to be the worst example to choose. The plays wouldn't have been re-imagined and adapted countless times if they were totally unable to interest a modern audience.

Beowulf is pretty rubbish... at least when you compare it to The Iliad or The Odyssey which are both far older. So I'd say Beowulf is only considered good because it's seriously old and obviously gets the deserved kudos of being created in a world without centuries of artists/artistic movements.
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