What is a classic? A hundred years of Nepali literature (1900-2000)

Sharada Sharma | January 18, 2013

A literary work that possesses the quality of being eternally significant by building upon historically relevant work in a creatively stylistic manner can be called a classic. A classic is not bound by time or within any particular movement. It can transcend them purely through literary merit. However, there are reasons for caution. If such merit is defined solely as the ability to mimic traditional styles, the creativity and quality that make a classic are ignored. Further, if traditional classical works are the primary basis for judging works of literature, the criteria for judgment will tend to focus on structure and composition and will lead to an overemphasis on literary standards and grammar. This neglects the changing dynamics of language and society.

Classics in the Nepali language

The written tradition of the Nepali language started close to a millennium ago. However, it was only when the 19th-century poet Adikabi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya translated the Ramayana from Sanskrit into Nepali that its written tradition really took off. This epic continues to influence Nepali readers and can be considered the first classic in the Nepali language. In the absence of a literal translation for

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