What We Lose if We Lose the Canon

As the Internet becomes a larger and larger part of our everyday lives, many aspiring creators use the platform to launch their artistic careers. For better or for worse, anyone with an Internet connection can post their illustrations, novels, music, or films for others to see. (Here at the Core blog, we always strive to land in that “for better” category.)

Importantly though, this, in conjunction with the pleasure reading of popular fiction, may have changed our perception of the literary canon, says Arthur Krystal of The Chronicle Review in a recent article. He fears a loss of appreciation for its greatness as new artists turn out works that will never have the same resonance as, say, a Shakespearean sonnet or a Homerian epic.

Literature has always been a conversation among writers who borrow, build upon, and deviate from each other’s words. Forgetting this, we forget that aesthetics is not a social invention, that democracy is not an aesthetic category; and that the dismantling of hierarchies is tantamount to an erasure of history.

What do you think about the role of the literary canon in our studies and in our everyday lives? What place do popular fiction authors and independent writers have in our perception of what is “great”?

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