Studying Literature at university, I've come to something of a realisation. We were studying the classic Greek play Medea by Euripides, and, reading the first scene, I was met with perhaps the most laughably blatant instance of info-dumping and lazy exposition I have ever seen in my life.
For those who aren't familiar with it, Medea's servant walks on stage and goes "Oh, how I wish [insert page of backstory] hadn't happened. Oh how it grieves me that [insert description of Medea's deteriorating sanity and her plans to harm her children]." This in itself is ridiculous, but it gets worse when another servant comes outside and asks wtf she's doing outside, she says something along the lines of "Oh, I was so overcome by concern that I just had to come outside and exclaim my worries to the air." F*cking priceless.
Now, I'm not hating on Euripides; the play has loads of interesting themes and discussion points and yadda yadda. But reading this example of what I would straight-up call bad writing made me realise: many of the novels, plays, etc. that have become canonised over the centuries as 'classics' ... actually suck, and would struggle to be published under modern standards.
Another example: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. Famous story; dude has a secret painting which bears the load of his ageing and sins while he's forever young and beautiful. So it takes the novel 10 chapters to establish the painting and have Dorian realise what's going on, and then there's like a 20 year time-skip, after which characters frequently mention how much of a corrupt dude Dorian now is, but we never actually experience him being corrupt in any tangible way until the climax when he murders his friend. Badly constructed.
And just generally, older stories tend not to have the same level of efficient, focused storytelling that good modern ones do. I'm not saying these texts aren't worth examining or studying (I wouldn't be doing my course if that was the case), but I'm always wary when people hold up these texts as examples of great writing, because more often than not I can point out more deft and poignant storytelling in your standard good Hollywood blockbuster.