View the work of students to get a sense of how others approach the challenge of developing a canon.
- Note the diversity of their reading lists, in terms of genre, author, and date of publication.
- Note that that both students have already one or more works from this course before embarking on the study. Keep in mind that this study encourages you to revisit readings for a second or third time using the strategies taught.
Further Reflection: Challenge
Read this definition of the literary canon with your mentor. It attempts to give a more expansive and complex definition of canon, ending with the question quoted below. Try to answer the question along with your mentor, and record your response in your Reader's Journal.
As the term is ordinarily used, "literary canon" is defined by definition #7 above: "an authoritative list, as of the works of an author." Yet the sense of definition #3 ("standard, criterion") is also strongly implied as the means by which individual works find their way into the literary canon. How do the other definitions of canon resonate with the concept of an authoritative list of authors who are taught in literature courses? In what sense have authors been canonized saints or priests in Western culture, or to what extent may we think of the literary canon in the sense of #8, "a composition . . . in which the same melody is repeated by one or more voices, overlapping in time in the same or a related key"?
—Kathryn B. Stockton
It's time to analyze why the canon at times comes under scrutiny, if not attack. A number of works you've seen listed are often pulled from libraries, schools, and other institutions. Head to the next page to explore the book banning debate.