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Literary Canon: Definition & Authors

Canon: Dictionary Definitions

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Definition of Canon

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Literary Canon Defined

If so, they probably wanted you to gain experience with what they would call literary canon , which is a collection of works by which others are measured in terms of literary skill and value. Over time, its use as a measuring device was adapted to apply to keeping literary works straight, as well.

Through the years, 'canon' has been employed in various ways to classify literature: Biblical canon to attributing them to a specific author i. The primary usage discussed in this lesson, though, refers to the canon as a yardstick for measuring the value and validity of the world's literature. Many members of the American academic community in the 's revolted against this idea of what was then often called the Western canon , which was claimed to be a collection of the world's highest and most influential literature.

They felt that there were many other examples of great literature to be found in the world and that the current collection was not as inclusive as it should be. For instance, some of these protestors' central arguments focused on the underrepresentation of women and minorities among the ranks of authors whose works were considered important enough to be part of the literary canon.

Since the 80's, the literary canon has expanded considerably, now including many female authors and people from all walks of life. Homer -For millennia, the works of Homer - the famous Greek epics, Iliad and Odyssey - have been considered some of the highest forms of literature in the world. The problem is, though, we're not sure that this renowned bard was a real or even a single person! In fact, we're actually pretty certain he wasn't.

Nevertheless, 'Homer' and the many writers he has influenced have been listed among the world's greatest literary minds since antiquity.

William Shakespeare -The plays and poetry of William Shakespeare have long been considered some of the best examples of English literature ever penned. Such high acclaim has of course also earned his works a place in the literary canon. For centuries, English writers have compared themselves and have been compared to the Bard. This sort of looking to an author's work as a measure of literary success and value is precisely what being part of the literary 'canon' is all about.

Get access risk-free for 30 days, just create an account. Jane Austen - From antiquity, literary circles have been overflowing with testosterone.

Of course, this doesn't mean that there haven't been any exemplary female authors, just that they've been historically excluded from the literary elite.

Since the 'canon wars' of the s, many more female writers i. Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou have populated the list, including Jane Austen whose books like Northanger Abbey and Emma have been added to the roll of literary classics. Ray Bradbury - Another of the concerns that students and educators had in the 80's was that the literary canon highly favored European authors. Since then, many more Americans have swelled the ranks of the world's most notable writers. Concerned with the future of literature itself, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit was a shoo-in for inclusion in the literary canon.

Several other Americans - including Twain, Steinbeck, and Hemingway - have also taken their place on the list. Protesters of the 'Western' canon also wanted to broaden the scope of languages and peoples represented in the collection. The literary canon is a collection of works by which others are measured in terms of literary skill and value. Biblical or author i. However, our primary usage of it here refers to the canon as a representation of the world's greatest literature. Since the 's, what was then often referred to as the Western canon has been expanded to include female authors and others from all walks of life.

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Come learn more about this collection of exemplary literature and its controversy while meeting some contributing authors. Try it risk-free for 30 days. An error occurred trying to load this video. Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support. You must create an account to continue watching. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher. What teachers are saying about Study.

Are you still watching? Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds. Add to Add to Add to. Want to watch this again later? The American in Europe: Henry James' Daisy Miller. New Criticism in Literature: I suggest you read "Fahrenheit It seems that many critics seem to jump on a bandwagon of praising the apparently "great" works and their authors, such as Shakespeare and Keats.

Their works are, of course, undoubtedly influential upon today's society, but are they still as relevant as they once were? Are they truly the essential "classics" that they are made out to be? I am not sure. What makes a book so popular it enters the minds of the general public? Is it because the book is actually worthwhile or because the publishers spent the most on advertising how seemingly great books xyz are.

I'm a little surprised that you didn't mention any of the standard "canon" authors - Shakespeare, etc. When I was younger, my school didn't seem to have a very wide definition of what books should be included in the canon of what students should be reading. As I've gotten older, I'm amazed at some of the books that everyone I know read in school, but I never did. I think there's some benefit in having a standard list that most students read - I feel like I missed something by not reading the books everyone else did.

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View slideshow of images above. Watch the Did-You-Know slideshow. Devon Pryor Edited By: Wallace Last Modified Date: This Day in History. Interestingly a number of non-fiction works relating to politics, history, economics, philosophy, science, mythology and religion, also find place in a literary canon. Print Email Save Image Credit: Content What is the American Literary Canon? How do Literary Canons evolve?

View the discussion thread. What are the Characteristics of a Good Literary Villain? Who is Robert Burns? How are some Novels given the Status as Classic Novels? What are the Components of ELD?

Difference Between Canon and Apocrypha

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The term “canon” is also confused with a homonym “cannon,” which means “a military weapon.” Difference Between Canon and Apocrypha. Apocrypha is also a literary term, which means “hidden,” or “anonymous literary pieces,” which were considered not to have confirmed to the rules set by the written Bible, in Hebrew or in Latin.

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The literary canon is a collection of works by which others are measured in terms of literary skill and value. Derived from the Greek kanôn ('straight rod'), the term 'canon' has been used to classify works belonging to either a particular tradition (i.e. Biblical) or author (i.e. Shakespearean).

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Sep 07,  · The term "literary canon" refers to a classification of literature. It is a term used widely to refer to a group of literary works that are considered the most important of a . In fiction and literature, the canon is the collection of works considered representative of a period or genre. The collected works of William Shakespeare, for instance, would be part of the canon of western literature, since his writing and writing style has had a significant impact on nearly all.

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A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field: "the durable canon of American short fiction" (William Styron). b. The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic: the entire Shakespeare canon. 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.