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The Literary Canon

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Jon Boutin

on 19 March 2015

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Transcript of The Literary Canon

Lit. Courses at ECSU
The Literary Canon!!
Literary: concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of what is valued for quality of form

Canon: a general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged. a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.

Literary canon: literature by authors accepted as authority, works included in literary canon is approved by cultural and academic institutions, works included means it has gained a status of authority giving the viewer an idea of what is highly regarded in the literary world.
High School Lit.
Almost any author studied in a course
can be considered Literary Canon because
the facilitator deemed the work worthy
of being studied, showing that they
have some aspect of being important.
ENG 202 - Intro to English studies
ENG 210 - Literature from Western Society to 1400
ENG 212 - American Lit to 1865
ENG 213 - American Lit from 1865
ENG 214 - English Lit to 1798
ENG 215 - English Lit from 1798
ENG 255 - African American Lit
ENG 317 - Renaissance Lit
ENG 318 - Restoration Lit
ENG 320 - Victorian Lit
ENG 322 - Romantic Period
ENG 331 - Early 18th Century Llit
ENG 332 - Modern British & American Poetry
ENG 333 - The Modern Novel
ENG 335 - Shakespeare's Comedies
ENG 336 - Shakespeare's Tragedies
ENG 337 - Chaucer
ENG 342 - Literature Of New England
ENG 356 - Women Writers To 1900
ENG 357 - 20th Century Women Writers

What shall the individual who
still desires to read attempt to read,
this late in history?"
". . . The Canon's true question. . .
(from Harold Bloom's 'Elegy to the Canon')

Is the current Canon
still relevant?
A Different Question. . .
". . . a
reading of
would tell us something about
. . . but probably nothing about
Hamlet itself
- Anonymous Wikipedia Editor
Literary Critics/Theorists

have advocated for more multicultural works to be added to the Canon, to represent a wider range of HUMAN experience as opposed to only that of the
'white male'.
such as:
and others. . .
What are your thoughts? Are there pros to having a "Literary Canon"? Cons?
William Shakespeare
Jane Austen
Bronte Sisters
The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Crucible
by Arthur Miller
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Animal Farm
by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
(some of)
ECSU's Lit. Courses:
By Jon Boutin,
Grayson Jeffries
and Ali Michaud,

Critics like Harold Bloom believe that the only way by which a work of art should be judged is by its
aesthetic value. . .
could pick
to be part of the literary canon,
what would it be
Permits books of the time periods to be immortalized
Literature within the canon tends to carry universal messages and ideas
Helps people figure out what to read
Failure to gain access to gain status on the canon thrusts texts into "limbo" of the unknown.
Students have little time to read beyond the canon reading list.
What is beyond the reading list is labeled "dull" or unimportant
Multicultural exposure is limited
. . . and not their "

. (
'School of Resentment')
Full transcript