Chuck Klosterman wants to know: how does a book or artist become accepted as self-evidently awesome? So many of the books we consider to be classics were poorly received when they first came out, with their authors never knowing if their work mattered. In his new book But What if We’re Wrong?, Klosterman talks to some of today’s greatest creative thinkers about the intersection between art and popular opinion. From George Saunders and Jonathan Lethem to Ryan Adams, Richard Linklater and Neil deGrasse Tyson—all of them think maybe, possibly, we are wrong about what will stand the test of time.
We’ve assembled a list of fourteen works that were criminally undervalued then, but are now legendary classics. See if any surprise you.