literary canon definition

Literary canons, like the works that comprise them and the judgments of those who create them, are constantly changing. A literary canon is a classification of literature. T he widely debated term ‘literary canon’ is used to classify a group of literary works that are considered the most important from a certain time or place. 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. Hence, a number of critical circles suggest that the idea of having specific canons for specific genres needs to be abandoned. This secular use of the word is derived from its original meaning as a listing of all authorized books in the Bible. Some apocryphal works are never granted formal acceptance but are influential nevertheless. By studying canonical works of the past, we gain a new appreciation for them from a modern perspective. Used quite often in fan fiction to differentiate between the official storyline in which the fan fiction is based on. Paper type: Essay: Pages: 2 (268 words) Downloads: 41: Views: 149: A literary canon is a classification of literature. Taken from The Plowman’s Tale, these lines exemplify the third definition of canon. Take a 19th century American literature course, for instance. A literary canon is a group or body of related literary works, often sanctioned by an authority. For example, contemporary writers such as Louise Erdrich ("The Round House), Amy Tan ("The Joy Luck Club"), and James Baldwin ("Notes of a Native Son") are representative of entire subgenres of African-American, Asian-American, and Indigenous styles of writing. How to use canon in a sentence. This secular use of the word is derived from its original meaning as a listing of all authorized books in the Bible. Though modern canons of literature have traditionally been set by universities or other official bodies, there is no authoritative body that scholars know today from ancient Egypt that would have designated an Egyptian literary canon. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment. The “canon” is defined by dictionary.com as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.” The very definition […] Shakespeare and Chaucer are part of the canon of Western literature, so you might read their work in an English class. Moreover, only the white and male writers of antiquity have been given membership to this exclusive club. Canon A list of authors or works considered to be central to the identity of a given literary tradition or culture. Countless phrases and terms we use every day, such as “Trojan Horse,” “Sisyphean,” “star-crossed lovers,” and “Dickensian,” came from the Western Literary Canon. How the Canon Changes The process in which a work is canonized is completely subjective. The ‘who‘ is followed by the ‘why‘. c : a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works the canon of great literature. a : an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture. the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art: the neoclassical canon. In fiction and literature, the canon is the collection of works considered representative of a period or genre. One of the definitions is, “the books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church,”. Furthermore, philosophical and political biases also resulted in disputes over literary canons. This approach of looking at, and following a writer’s work for measuring literary excellence and success is, in fact, called a “Shakespearean canon.”. Synonym Discussion of canon. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Cultural Significance and Canon Literature, Biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, What Is a Novel? The United States is home to so many cultures that it is impossible to encapsulate the best work without leaving out important figures. The accepted body of work that comprises the canon of Western literature has evolved and changed over the years, however. When considering the term “literary canon,” one is ultimately considering the whole of the seminal works in the arts that have come to define a genre. The definition of literary canon Greek origins of the word kanon; Classification of works within the literary canon Another name for literary canon Authors included in the literary canon There should be little debate. As she used round characters in her novels, uniquely different from her counterparts, this became her style, and finally a canon against which other female writers would be evaluated. The “canon” is defined by dictionary.com as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.” The very definition […] There have been countless discussions launched about the need to teach the historically accepted literary pieces included in the canon. Definition and Characteristics, Word Choice in English Composition and Literature, Definitions and Discussions of Medieval Rhetoric, M.A., English Literature, California State University - Sacramento, B.A., English, California State University - Sacramento. Literary canons are more like collection of works measured by others on the basis of literary skill and value. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. This video covers what the literary canon is and perspectives about what to include and why. She wrote mild and smiling romantic novels, such as Pride and Prejudice and Emma, setting them in England, and making marriage her subject to be explored. Arguments about which works are worthy of further examination and study are likely to continue as cultural norms and mores shift and evolve. Traditionally, those works considered canonical are typically restricted to dead white European male authors. Another word for official. Just as controversial as the discussions engendered about the canon, so too is the definition. The canon is a tacitly agreed upon collection of literary works that are deemed super important and of the highest quality by all the folks that, well, deem things. An example of an apocryphal text in Christianity would be the Gospel of Mary Magdelene. It is intended for use in an introductory literature course. This is a highly controversial text not widely recognized in the Church — but it is believed to be the words of one of Jesus' closest companions. This, of course, has led to many disputes among literary scholars over the years. Some writers and artists' work is not as well appreciated in their time, and their writing becomes part of the canon many years after their deaths. Chaucer’s canon includes “The Canterbury Tales”, for instance, but it does not include the apocryphal work, “The Plowman’s Tale,” which has been mistakenly attributed to him in the past. Literary Canon Definition. Copyright © 2020 Literary Devices. If so, perhaps there is a need for us to dust off those old books and re-investigate that Black Literary Canon. Generally, the term canon is used in three different meanings. This statement should appear self-evident. But on a May morning on Malvern hills, A marvel befell me of fairy, me thought.”. There is discord, political posturing and perennial arguments about the ‘literary canon‘. Abstract. Canon. 11. a member of a religious community living under common rules and bound by vows. The Western Literary Canon is still essential for required reading in school because of how it has pervaded all aspects of our culture. My theory is that it’s a matter of statistics. The American literary canon, or the books deemed important enough to teach in schools and survive over generations, is a fraught subject. William Shakespeare wrote both tragedies and comedies for Elizabethan audiences, throughout the late 16th, and early 17th centuries. This context is important to the make-up of a literary canon. This is based on some already deduced rules intended to be applied on the future pieces in the same genre. This meaning covers the entire literature generally thought as suitable for aesthetic admiration and academic use. The function of a canon has always raised confusion and complexity. However, canon is a literary rule that is used to evaluate books and writings against certain models, such as plays are evaluated against Oedipus the King by Sophocles, where Oedipus the King is a yardstick which has set canons for plays. There have been countless discussions launched about the need to teach the historically accepted literary pieces included in the canon. "Canon is also defined as "the books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church," and the idea of a literary canon also implies some such official status. Canon A list of authors or works considered to be central to the identity of a given literary tradition or culture. However, we have no idea whether the popular and well-known author was a genuine person. A canon can also be a body of work, like the Shakespeare canon, which includes all of the Bard's plays and poems. canon Canon (one “n”) refers to a collection of rules or texts that are considered to be authoritative. Topics: Novel, Literature, Genre Pages: 1 (267 words) Published: November 25, 2012. - Contact Us - Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions, Definition and Examples of Literary Terms. The works, traditionally considered as following a certain canon, belong to the writers who have long been dead. This sense of the term makes canon opposite to “apocrypha,” which means “written works having anonymous authors.” The Bible was considered a yardstick to evaluate other literary pieces, according to a certain criterion. The literary canon is a collection of works by which others are measured in terms of literary skill and value. Literary Canon Literary Canon Research Papers look at how culture defines literary canon and how it can be found in all genres of literature. 4 a : an accepted principle or rule. This means that the literary work is relevant to ongo… Countless phrases and terms we use every day, such as “Trojan Horse,” “Sisyphean,” “star-crossed lovers,” and “Dickensian,” came from the Western Literary Canon. he American Heritage Dictionary . And the … Many modern critics and teachers argue that women, minorities, and non-Western writers are left out of the literary canon unfairly. 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 aspects of that genre. During Whitman's lifetime, it was not necessarily read within that context. But, of course, there is a great deal of debate. Definition of Canon. 2. countable noun A canon of texts is a list of them that is accepted as genuine or important. The canon is the use of archaic language that Chaucer used in his works but not used in this part. The western canon was revolted in the 80’s by a group of people who claimed women had been excluded from its collection. In other words, it means “a long list of works taken as authentic.” For example, the Bible – both written in Hebrew, and even translated versions. This is especially true of female writers such as Charlotte Bronte ("Jane Eyre"), Jane Austen ("Pride and Prejudice"), Emily Dickinson ("Because I Could Not Stop for Death"), and Virginia Woolf ("A Room of One's Own"). The American literary canon, or the books deemed important enough to teach in schools and survive over generations, is a fraught subject.

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