What makes a ‘classic’? It’s the kind of term that makes most people assume literary titles considered “classics” are the kind of books that were met with rousing applause from reviews, readers and were evergreen from the time they were published. But here are ten books that weren’t met with appreciation during the authors’ lifetimes and gained significant recognition only later –
- “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville – Initially published in 1851, the novel received mixed reviews and didn’t find much commercial success. However, it is now considered a masterpiece of American literature.
- “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Published in 1925, the novel received mixed reviews and didn’t sell well during Fitzgerald’s lifetime. It gained popularity in the 1950s and has since become a staple of American literature.
- “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë – Published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, the novel initially received mixed reviews and was met with controversy. It gained significant acclaim in later years and is now considered a classic of English literature.
- “Moby-Dick” by Fyodor Dostoevsky – Published in 1864, Dostoevsky’s novel initially faced harsh criticism and failed to achieve commercial success. However, it is now regarded as one of the greatest Russian novels of all time.
- “Dracula” by Bram Stoker – Published in 1897, Stoker’s novel initially received moderate success but wasn’t considered a literary masterpiece. It gained widespread popularity in the 20th century and has become an iconic work in the horror genre.
- “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger – Published in 1951, Salinger’s novel received mixed reviews upon its release. It later gained a cult following and is now regarded as a classic coming-of-age story.
- “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde – Published in 1890, Wilde’s novel faced controversy and criticism for its themes of immorality. It gained appreciation in later years and is now considered one of Wilde’s greatest works.
- “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – Published in 1960, Lee’s novel was initially well-received but didn’t achieve instant commercial success. It gained widespread acclaim and became a beloved classic, addressing themes of racial injustice and morality.
- “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez – Published in 1967, Márquez’s novel initially received mixed reviews and limited sales. However, it went on to become a major success, establishing Márquez as one of the most influential writers of magical realism.
- “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley – Published in 1818, Shelley’s novel was met with mixed reviews and modest success during her lifetime. It gained significant recognition later on and is now regarded as a seminal work of science fiction and Gothic literature.