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literary canon definition

Sometimes within religious traditions, as views evolve or change, some formerly canonical texts become "apocryphal," meaning outside the realm of what's considered representative. Originated from the Greek term “kanon,” canon means “a yard stick,” or “a measuring rod.” Generally, the term canon is used in three different meanings. The works, traditionally considered as following a certain canon, belong to the writers who have long been dead. Topics: Novel, Literature, Genre Pages: 1 (267 words) Published: November 25, 2012. 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. 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 process in which a work is canonized is completely subjective. Literary canons, like the works that comprise them and the judgments of those who create them, are constantly changing. Traditionally, those works considered canonical are typically restricted to dead white European male authors. Because if history does not provide us with the cultural armor to withstand these impending racial attacks, we will be doomed to live the worst of our existence in the future instead of celebrating overcoming our obstacles from the past. 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. The term “literary canon” refers to a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential of a particular time period or place. In fiction and literature, the canon is the collection of works considered representative of a period or genre. A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field: "the durable canon of American short fiction" (William Styron). A literary canon is a group or body of related literary works, often sanctioned by an authority. A literary canon is a classification of literature. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. It is also described as “a basis for judgment; standard; criterion.”. The characteristic that has earned Melville a place in the literary canon, though, is not his stylistic skill, but rather, like Dickinson and Hawthorne, the selection of his subject. Arguments about which works are worthy of further examination and study are likely to continue as cultural norms and mores shift and evolve. b : the authentic works of a writer the Chaucer canon. Women, minorities, and non-Western writers were kept out of this kind of arbitrary practice for a long time – until they won recognition such as the writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Countless phrases and terms we use every day, such as “Trojan Horse,” “Sisyphean,” “star-crossed lovers,” and “Dickensian,” came from the Western Literary Canon. Jane Austen is one of those female writers who came to the limelight by breaking all the traditional and conventional shackles. Derived from the Greek word kan ôn meaning measuring rod or standard, the canon has been compiled by literary critics, scholars and teachers over time in order to assert which works of literature are ‘essential’. In other words, it means “a long list of works taken as authentic.”. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. Originated from the Greek term “kanon,” canon means “a yard stick,” or “a measuring rod.”. Furthermore, philosophical and political biases also resulted in disputes over literary canons. Take a 19th century American literature course, for instance. But on a May morning on Malvern hills, A marvel befell me of fairy, me thought.”. Esther Lombardi, M.A., is a journalist who has covered books and literature for over twenty years. 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 My theory is that it’s a matter of statistics. In religious terms, a canon is a standard of judgment or a text containing those views, such as the Bible or the Koran. Generally, the term canon is used in three different meanings. This video covers what the literary canon is and perspectives about what to include and why. The function of a canon has always raised confusion and complexity. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. How to use canon in a sentence. has eleven separate definitions of the term canon, the most relevant of which is "an authoritative list, as of the works of an author" and "a basis for judgment; standard; criterion. Derived from the Greek word kan ôn meaning measuring rod or standard, the canon has been compiled by literary critics, scholars and teachers over time in order to assert which works of literature are ‘essential’. 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. Literary Canon Definition . he American Heritage Dictionary . There is discord, political posturing and perennial arguments about the ‘literary canon‘. “In a summer season when soft was the sun, I clothed myself in a cloak as I shepherd were, Habit like a hermit’s unholy in works, And went wide in the world  wonders to hear. 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. 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. The words ‘canon’ and ‘classic’ both evoke notions of evaluation and hierarchy. The term “canon” is also confused with a homonym “cannon,” which means “a military weapon.”. 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. a. The third definition of the term indicates the literary writings of a particular author, which are considered by scholars and critics in general to be the genuine creations of that particular author. Used quite often in fan fiction to differentiate between the official storyline in which the fan fiction is based on. The “canon” is defined by dictionary.com as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.” The very definition […] This context is important to the make-up of a literary canon. Many modern critics and teachers argue that women, minorities, and non-Western writers are left out of the literary canon unfairly. What is the difference between cannon and canon? Just as controversial as the discussions engendered about the canon, so too is the definition. This approach of looking at, and following a writer’s work for measuring literary excellence and success is, in fact, called a “Shakespearean canon.”. It is intended for use in an introductory literature course. But, of course, there is a great deal of debate. A literary canon is a classification of literature. First, it is defined as a traditional collection of writings, against which other writings are evaluated. Literature, therefore, changes in the context of changing experience and thought. In fiction and literature, the canon is the collection of works considered representative of a period or genre. There should be little debate. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. However, Shakespeare’s earned appreciation for these works became yardstick by which other writers to judge their places in literature. noun an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. First, it is defined as a traditional collection of writings, against which other writings are evaluated. 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. This secular use of the word is derived from its original meaning as a listing of all authorized books in the Bible. The literary canon is a collection of works by which others are measured in terms of literary skill and value. The characteristic that has earned Melville a place in the literary canon, though, is not his stylistic skill, but rather, like Dickinson and Hawthorne, the selection of his subject. In the history of literature, a number of authors and poets have made such an extraordinary contributions that their literary works are considered yardsticks to have set canons to evaluate other works. Another word for official. For example: For a very long time the world considered the Greek epics of Homer, the Iliad, and Odyssey, as the most sublime examples of literature. The canon is the use of archaic language that Chaucer used in his works but not used in this part. Literary Canon Definition. Literary canons are more like collection of works measured by others on the basis of literary skill and value. The Western Literary Canon is still essential for required reading in school because of how it has pervaded all aspects of our culture. (shelved 32 times as literary-canon) avg rating 4.28 … The American literary canon, or the books deemed important enough to teach in schools and survive over generations, is a fraught subject. For instance, Walt Whitman's epic poem "Song of Myself" is now viewed as a seminal work of gay literature. One of the definitions is, “the books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church,”. 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 body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art: the neoclassical canon. This, of course, has led to many disputes among literary scholars over the years. 2. countable noun A canon of texts is a list of them that is accepted as genuine or important. The American literary canon, or the books deemed important enough to teach in schools and survive over generations, is a fraught subject. However, we have no idea whether the popular and well-known author was a genuine person. As the term is ordinarily used, "literary canon" is defined by definition #7 above: "an authoritative list, as … Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as autobiography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay. The “canon” is defined by dictionary.com as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.” The very definition […] Abstract. 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. This is based on some already deduced rules intended to be applied on the future pieces in the same genre. Secular and literary applications of the term “canon” refer to a constellation of highly valued, high-cultural texts that have traditionally acted as arbiters of literary value, determining the discipline of literary studies as well as influencing the critical and cultural reception of literature.

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