Friday, October 15, 2010

Canon Babbling

I intend to use this space to comment on reading and the variety of questions that spark from works both canonical and noncanonical.  I am now teaching a seminar based on these kinds of questions, and I hope to use the conversations in that course to begin a (perhaps long-term) exploration of canonical issues.  I also intend to try to have fun playing the categories and the range of reading that I do. 

In a book titled The American Adam R. W. B. Lewis takes the position that canons and culture form not from artifacts but out of the on-going conversation between writers or among their works or about their books and ideas.  He writes, "The debate, indeed, may be said to be the culture, at least on its loftiest levels; for a culture achieves identity not so much through the ascendancy of one particular set of convictions as through the emergence of its peculiar and distinctive dialogue."  I hope to start a conversation.  Or at least to keep up one end of it.

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