Reading Reaction Richter

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Response to Richter


“The cannon seems to have space for six romantic poets and no more” (122).

“Donoghue’s move is an appeal to the idea of ‘literary merit’” (127).

“Any list of required reading a culture prescribes for its educated elite has to be tailored to fit the span of a human life” (123).

“Some philosophers still view the cannonical texts as operating outside history” (124).

“Thus the politics of feminism over the past twenty years has sparked a growth of interest in previously neglected female authors. But the cannon has not altered as much as we would expect . . .” (125).

Vocabulary Words

“Canon” (122)   An authoritative list of authors which compose are considered the focus of a literary project of a culture

“Human Nature” (122)   General characteristics and psychological components which make up the human being

“Valued” (125)   Considered to be of importance

“Essentialism” (130) The view that objects or entities have certain necessary components

“Curriculum” (127)   one or more subjects which constitute a course of study


Reading Response to Richter

My initial thought about Richter was that he does an excellent job addressing the conflicting views about what constitutes the canon at a given point in time. The bulk of his paper is devoted to his exploration of concepts and distinctions which have been made by philosophers many of which seem to me to have merit, despite sometimes appealing to conflicting intuitions. Towards the end he shares more of his own view on the matter. More specifically he shares his view on what the “canon” has to do with the curriculum of English students. It’s interesting to me to imagine the discursive process which takes place when faculty discuss the literary which will comprise the curriculum for a course. While there is some literature which will never wane in popularity the fact that certain things which some professors consider important and others do not is quite interesting as it indicates that the canon which each student studies contains literature which was likely removed merely by chance or as the result of a compromise. This points to some worries for philosopher who have sought to define the “canon” as being made up of works which they might argue have “essential” or intrinsic value.

Given this problem I’ll focus on this website not on any established canon but merely works and ideas I come across. My poetry will be built not just on the ideas of the canon of literature but on the experience I glean through building this website.


Works Cited

Richter, David H. Falling into theory: conflicting views on reading literature. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin’s Press, 1994. Print.
Magazis, George A. English dictionary. Anixi Attikis: Efstathiadis Group, 1989. Print.

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