In its classic sense, the term classic book
means a book written in ancient Greece or ancient Rome (see classics
). The word classic
can be applied to literature
and other art that is a model of its form. Classics are works that have been widely seen or read, and often imitated, but never surpassed. True classics, however old they may be, never grow stale.
Some authors who have written classics are William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Miguel Cervantes, Niccolo Machiavelli, Lao Zi (Lao Tzu), and Confucius.
Classics in this sense make up what some call a canon of world literature.
The question of what belongs in the canon of Western literature and art is a matter of much dispute.
Most "classics" are at least 95 years old, and most authors of classics have been dead for at least 70 years, but sometimes we press the word into use to praise newly-created works.
Most classic books are in the public domain due to their age (except those few books for which a government has granted a perpetual copyright), and are freely available online from Project Gutenberg at http://promo.net/pg