Classics and the Western Canon discussion

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Tea room > Studying the Literary Canon

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message 1: by Whitney (last edited May 04, 2014 04:41PM) (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments I wanted to share this video about Western Literary Canon and what has been left out. Should it be included?

It really makes you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUy1Q...


message 2: by Lily (last edited May 04, 2014 11:49AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Chakara wrote: "I wanted to share this video about Western Literary Canon and what has been left out. Should it be included?

It really makes you think.

https://twitter.com/welcomeOVO/status......"


Is a "not twitter" link available? I get expired or something on this one. But also am uncertain about how to use twitter.


message 3: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4434 comments Looks like a bad link. Unless anyone here is interested in a $55,000 lint roller...


message 4: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments haha ill fix it lol wrong link


message 5: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments fixed


message 6: by Whitney (last edited May 04, 2014 04:43PM) (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Thomas wrote: "Looks like a bad link. Unless anyone here is interested in a $55,000 lint roller..."

I sent it to my friend to show how ridiculous it was the youtube link didn't stick for some reason. its fixed now.


message 7: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Now that I've fixed the link, I'd like to talk about where if at all women and blacks, Native Americans, Latinos fit in the Classics and Western Canon.

Do you feel that they have been left out? If so do you think that they should be included or that they should have their own Canon?

I'm curious to know. Even being a Black women I'm not sure if it should be separate or included.

I'm kind of new have we read a verity or just white male .


message 8: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1723 comments The Western Canon based on quality, universal applicability, and impact of the works, not the group membership of the author. Some groups have not had much opportunity to write works that qualify, and that's a shame. They'll write their share in the future, I'm sure.

The list of works read in this group is available at Classics and the Western Canon > books > read. It includes Cervantes (a Spaniard and so sort of Latino), George Eliot, Mary Shelley, and Martin Luther King.


message 9: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Roger wrote: "The Western Canon based on quality, universal applicability, and impact of the works, not the group membership of the author. Some groups have not had much opportunity to write works that qualify,..."

I think its an opinion to say that groups that are not non white and male have not written works that are quality, universally applicable or that have made an impact. and yep 4 people ... that's great and all but I'm sure their COULD be more.

I think a better word in my opinion is not universal applicability but universal acceptance.


message 10: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Thanks for your answer though Roger I think some people just didn't even waste their time. I enjoy hearing how people think and discussing I really liked this instructors view.


message 11: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments I'd like to be schooled a little bit myself on the Latino greats and Natives as well. Even on some classics by Alice Walker and Toni MorrisonMaya Angelou. Even some that I haven't heard of before.


message 12: by Cass (new)

Cass | 533 comments I would also like to very politely point out that America is only a minor part of the geographical and the time period that the term "western canon" encompasses.

Black (African American) and Latino are a minor subset of society from where I stand (in a small town in Australia).

I have a different viewpoint. I tend to find that American groups tend to be over-represented on literary lists.

BUT I am generalizing and giving an unsubstantiated opinion. Still when I was compiling (and ongoing process) my top-100 must read books - Literary classics- I struggled constantly with mediocre American works being placed alongside true greats. (Not that all American works were mediocre, just that some of the mediocre ones seem to get to come along for the ride by virtue of being American).


message 13: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Cass wrote: "I would also like to very politely point out that America is only a minor part of the geographical and the time period that the term "western canon" encompasses.

Black (African American) and Lati..."


I agree and understand what your saying here Cass. I don't think your at all wrong. It is hard to get a good list of must read classics I also struggle with this. I'm so glad that my school offers World Literature every term and I am not forced to once again sit through British and American Literature classes.

I think part of the reason the list is so narrow has to do with who it is that classifies a work of literature as part of the Classics or Western Canon. If you had to look at the list you'd prob see males that are very similar from race,religion and maybe even political view.


message 14: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Cass wrote: "Still when I was compiling (and ongoing process) my top-100 must read books - Literary classics-..."

I don't know from what lists you were compiling, Cass, but I would expect Brits don't come off too badly -- and I understand that is NOT Down-under. If you are talking fiction, America didn't really enter the classics until the likes of Hawthorne and Melville. Now, a few contributions to political thought did come out of the U.S. revolutionary thought and nation creation.


message 15: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "Cass wrote: "Still when I was compiling (and ongoing process) my top-100 must read books - Literary classics-..."

I don't know from what lists you were compiling, Cass, but I would expect Brits do..."


From my understanding it was that she researched for classics and compiled her own list.


message 16: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Chakara wrote: "From my understanding it was that she researched for classics and compiled her own list..."

I understand that possibility, Chakara. I'm probably really asking Cass for some sense of the sources she used for her research. (One frequently used as a baseline by members on this board is a set of xx volumes published by Britannica a number of years ago. But I doubt that was Cass's starting point from her description so far.)


message 17: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "Chakara wrote: "From my understanding it was that she researched for classics and compiled her own list..."

I understand that possibility, Chakara. I'm probably really asking Cass for some sense ..."


Yes, I understand what your asking. Hm, I guess we wont know until Cass answers but I'd prob start from recommendations, maybe reviews from my peers. I might look up a couple of compiled lists or some reading lists from Universities. Take a little from here a little from there. Possibly trying to get a more "well rounded" list of the classics.


message 18: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments http://www.angelfire.com/art/megathin...

Here is a list we recently discussed (the list, not its books per se), along with several others in this thread (See approx Msg 535-554, includes some linkages for lists of Eastern literature, too):

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 19: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "http://www.angelfire.com/art/megathin...

Here is a list we recently discussed (the list, not its books per se), along with several others in this thread (See approx Ms..."


are you recommended a list for her to check out? or are you saying that this list is well rounded and she should use it instead of her own? or neither?

I hope you don't think I'm being argumentative I'd really like to know.


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Chakara wrote: "I think its an opinion to say that groups that are not non white and male have not written works that are quality, universally applicable or that have made an impact"

Certainly many people who are not white males have written books very much worth reading, and in fact we have read a few here as Roger pointed out.

But many of those books have not yet entered the Western Canon not because they aren't of great value, but because they aren't within the tradition of the "Great Conversation" which Adler and others talk so strongly about. That doesn't make them of any less literary value, but we are focusing here primarily on a set of works which spring from the roots primarily of the Greek and Roman classical tradition. Like an ancient oak tree, the branches which spring from those roots spread very widely, but to one extent or another they can trace their heritage back to those roots.

There are other trees as grand and as magnificent as that old oak tree, but they are not the oak tree, and they spring from different roots and have developed in very different patterns of growth.


message 21: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments and classics? there have been add ons . what makes some books additions to the list of classics while others are not.


message 22: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Chakara wrote: "It is hard to get a good list of must read classics"

Each person has to develop their own "must read" list, but there are some places I can suggest to start.

I really like Clifton Fadiman's book The Lifetime Reading Plan. I prefer the original edition, which is still available from second hand book sources (such as Alibris or Abebooks) rather than the New Lifetime Reading Plan edited and modified by John Major. It is not only a list of recommended books but has a brief description/discussion of each.

Charles van Doren's The Joy of Reading is somewhat similar, and has many of the same books. Anything that appears on both is certainly well worth your time.

The reading lists of college programs that focus on a Great Books curriculum can also be helpful. For example, you can go to this link
http://www.sjc.edu/academics/undergra...
and click on each year on the right to work through a basically chronological list of those works that St. John's considers essential to a liberal arts curriculum.

This link
https://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/sit...
will take you to the Basic Program Curriculum of the University of Chicago.
It's less comprehensive than the St. John's curriculum, but covers many of the basics.

Here
http://www.college.columbia.edu/core/...
is the syllabus for the one year Literature Humanities reading list for Columbia University.

Harold Bloom's book "The Western Canon" has perhaps a more polemical tone than one may want, but it has some good lists.

Then there is the list of books in the Harvard Classics series and the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series. You can find lists of the works in these sets, along with some other lists, at this link:
http://www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/g...

If this wealth of lists leaves you more confused than enlightened, I suggest you go back to either Fadiman or Van Doren, read their comments, and just start reading from their recommendations. You can't go wrong trying anything they recommend, with the caveat that if any book doesn't speak to your condition at the time, drop it and move on. Not every book speaks to every person at every point in their lives, and you do, I believe, more harm than good trying to force yourself to read a book that isn't right for you at the moment.

And, of course, you can't go wrong reading along with this group!

Good luck.


message 23: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Thanks for the lists I'll have to take a closer look at them.


message 24: by Cass (new)

Cass | 533 comments Sorry, I did responsd earlier but the phone ate it. I am not sure about the confusion I said very clearly that I was generalising and offering an unsubstantiated opinion.

As mentioned above, a major "to-read" list is something we probably have all compiled at some time, and in doing so we have waded through all manner of resources... I did and have.

My opinion after compiling my own was that the US authors seemed to be over-represented given how relatively young the country is. I am not substantiating, I am just saying my take-home feeling was very often that a good list was written and then padded out with a few extra books from the US (not surprising as many of the lists were written recently and the US is the dominant culture).

I hope I managed to say that without sounding argumentative. The original question was about Latino and Black writers being unrepresented (I did not enter the discussion about female writers which is a somewhat different matter) and I was observing simply (not meaning to kick up such a big dust storm) that my unsubstantiated gut-feeling is that the US is actually over-represented. I am not a troll, if my opinion is blatantly wrong or stupid and the conversation passes my comments over I read the rest of the conversation and learn from it.

Also, apologies for not having a substantiated opinion, I am well-educated enough to be able to do research, but I find these conversations very isolating when an idea or feeling is not able to be voiced without demands for detailed research to support it. I don't mean that conversations should only exist in that sense, just that I find it okay to read both opinions and research and to contrast them.

Sorry for the lengthy response. Somehow I feel like I have been perceived as argumentative... I like a good discussion, and enjoy discussing both sides and trying to understand all viewpoints. But I am not aggressive and if my comments have seemed that way it is a lax on my own part... I have forgotten that I am a relative newcomer and my personality is still to be sussed out.

and +1, the lists are great. I bought "Joy of Reading" last week.


message 25: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Chakara wrote: "are you recommended a list for her to check out? or are you saying that this list is well rounded and she should use it instead of her own? or neither?

I hope you don't think I'm being argumentative I'd really like to know...."


YOU said @17 what you'd probably do, at least, I presumed you were speaking for yourself. On hindsight, maybe you were hypothesizing for Cass? I was just suggesting a place where some of what I thought you were seeking might already have been discussed. Then Eman summarized/expanded @24 here, although there may still be a tidbit or two where I suggested, if interested. (E.g., Wendel on Eastern classics.) Certainly I would never suggest any of these as a substitute for anyone's own choices -- just some of the more valuable sources to consider of which I am aware. And, I personally also at least scan a variety of other "100 Best..." lists from time to time, for curiosity, to assess my own interests, to...whatever.


message 26: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Cass wrote: "Sorry, I did responsd earlier but the phone ate it. I am not sure about the confusion I said very clearly that I was generalising and offering an unsubstantiated opinion.

As mentioned above, a ma..."


Cass you didn't stare up a big dust storm. Please don't take offense I really appreciate your input. :) and I think I'm even newer than you.


message 27: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "Chakara wrote: "are you recommended a list for her to check out? or are you saying that this list is well rounded and she should use it instead of her own? or neither?

I hope you don't think I'm b..."


Yes, I was guessing as to what Cass may have been saying when she was talking about her list. I myself tend to use goodreads , reviews and university reading lists as starting points.


message 28: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "Chakara wrote: "are you recommended a list for her to check out? or are you saying that this list is well rounded and she should use it instead of her own? or neither?

I hope you don't think I'm b..."


I feel that I have some how offended you this was not my intention. Happens often I have questions about everything and it seems to repel a lot of people. I would apologize but I am not sure for what so Ill just say it wasn't my intention to offend.


message 29: by Lily (last edited May 06, 2014 10:12AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Chakara wrote: "I feel that I have some how offended you this was not my intention...."

You haven't offended me. It just got a little awkward when you spoke for another person and didn't make that absolutely clear, Chakara. Most of the posters here, including Cass, are quite articulate at speaking for themselves, so I assumed you were speaking for you.


message 30: by Whitney (last edited May 06, 2014 10:20AM) (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "Chakara wrote: "I feel that I have some how offended you this was not my intention...."

You haven't offended me. It just got a little awkward when you spoke for another person and didn't make tha..."


I am more than sure that cass can speak for herself I just offered a guess as I thought you were asking for elaboration of the created list. I can not speak for anyone but myself . Maybe if I clearly said this is what I think she is trying to say there wouldn't have been as much confusion. thanks for your contributions to this thread.


message 31: by Andreea (new)

Andreea (andyyy) Chakara wrote: "Now that I've fixed the link, I'd like to talk about where if at all women and blacks, Native Americans, Latinos fit in the Classics and Western Canon.

Do you feel that they have been left out? If so do you think that they should be included or that they should have their own Canon?"


I don't really know a lot about books by people of colour, but I think there are some similarities between them and LGBT literatures. I think there is a sense, within minority groups, of a shared experienced of literature which comes from a shared history and shared day to day experiences. Sometimes LGBT readers and non-LGBT readers find the same book meaningful and stylistically accomplished, but a lot of the time we read books in different ways and judge them by different standards. For example, LGBT people might find books which have a very large number of characters, but fail to feature at least one person who is LGBT very unrealistic (and thus not very good from a stylistic point of view) - although someone who isn't LGBT might not notice it at all.

I think this is the most important thing to consider when talking about who is and isn't included in the Canon. We have to think carefully about how we measure value, 'quality', meaningfulness etc and why other people might measure it in a different way.


message 32: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Cass, way back in this conversation (@12) when I asked where you might be encountering too many mediocre American works relative to others available (from other parts of the world), I wasn't doubting you. I was just curious, especially since we were discussing on the Western Canon Classics board, where, while one may dislike any number of choices, it becomes interesting to label any of them "mediocre." I also follow 21st Century lit on its board, recently looking at both long lists and short lists for many of the major prizes. For me, it is presently a learning process, especially for those awards in other languages than English. Just as you find American authors over-represented, I still find any number of countries under-represented -- from simple lack of awareness to lack of translations. Now, what is "quality" is still another level of discernment. Insofar as advertising is concerned, I would say that the U.S. is increasingly promoting minority voices -- but that statement is totally subjective. I know nothing about the marketing data. [g]


message 33: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Andreea wrote: "Chakara wrote: "Now that I've fixed the link, I'd like to talk about where if at all women and blacks, Native Americans, Latinos fit in the Classics and Western Canon.

Do you feel that they have ..."


This is true and a great way to think of things. Thank you so much for answering my question and giving me another way to think of things.

When I say Blacks or Latinos I don't mean their color but their culture and without thinking it didn't even cross my mind that LGBT would also be included in this list. I don't think it crossed the instructors mind either.

Great way of thinking.

Do you think that if more people could think outside the box and read more of these cultures that are within the western culture (and the world) would the over all list change or would there be a new list created.

Thank you ! :)


message 34: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Lily wrote: "Cass, way back in this conversation (@12) when I asked where you might be encountering too many mediocre American works relative to others available (from other parts of the world), I wasn't doubti..."

"I still find any number of countries under-represented -- from simple lack of awareness to lack of translations."


I would agree. Do you think that if their was more representation and awareness that the list of Classics would grow? or would we always think of The Classics as Greek and Roman and their "successors" British, English,American.

IMO at some point Americans had to have a large enough representation to be accepted in the classics genre.

I'd also include the French and Italians as Successors. Hopefully I am using the correct word by saying Successors.

If anyone knows a better term don't hesitate to bring it to my attention.


message 35: by Cass (new)

Cass | 533 comments That is an interesting concept of its own. I had always thought that each individual book fought for its own right to be included as a classic.

Ie. Regardless of the country, culture, or even age of the country. If a book was good it would gain reputation and make the 'lists'.

To think that other facts are at play is interesting. I suppose it makes sense. I mean I would never consider "huckleberry Finn" to be a great book, yet it is lists in the "joy of reading". The writing isn't great, the storyline is not great. It has nothing really special except that it is (almost) universally loved by a large group. It touches on themes that are of value to that culture. This (I presume) is what catapults it to classic status.

I always thought a great book needed great writing, but it seems the value of the book is also judge by it's culturally importance.

To tie this back to the conversation, are you (is the conversation heading towards) saying that the culture (eg Latino) needs to have enough good books and translations to ensure that a critical mass is achieved outside the culture. That 'other' people are reading the books and understanding the culture and paving the way for classic books to be recognised?


message 36: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments I think that's kind of true.


message 37: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments If we had a panel of academic scholars ,professors, writers etc. from different CULTURES (not races it doesn't really have much to do with race at all because I along with many others would consider myself apart of a culture with in the western society) different genders, different sexual orientations come together and compile a list of books the think are classics and stand the test of time something that has the qualities then it would be more well rounded.


message 38: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Patrice wrote: "I think the list is determined not only by the quality of the work but the influence it has had on other authors and the culture in general. I tend to think that it's best to start at the beginnin..."

I think there are defiantly women and other races that have had influence but are not considered apart of the classics or western canon. But the thing is who is deciding the over all list. We would all say that 1984 is a classic even if we had not ourselves read the book. Why?


message 39: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments I think I've made up my opinion finally. I'd say that although there are books by these other cultures LGBT,BLACK,JEWISH,LATINO etc( as cultures not as races there is more to being black or latino than just your color). because they are cultures with in themselves they will probably always need their own category. They just wont be accepted so like our cultures have been doing for decades they will continue to make their own categories and make their own ways with a few every few decades breaking through the barrier.


message 40: by Cass (new)

Cass | 533 comments But the moment you mention "Jewish" and "Latino" and "Black" cultures, you are mentioning three major US cultures. I think I understand that you are using them to represent the minority cultures world-wide, but I also think it is worth observing that you are talking about minorities that are dominant in the US, but not the world.

E.g. Indonesian literature, or Vietnamese literature would have much more cultural influence in my life (Australia) than any of the dominant minorities in the US. What about all the other major-minor cultures (it is a tough thing to define a culture over a country, as we hit sub-cultures and sub-sub-cultures).


message 41: by Cass (new)

Cass | 533 comments Patrice wrote: "I don't really care if an author is black or white, man or woman. What influence have they had?."

For me this is the crux. I don't care about the author, but about the influence of the book... and this may make me retrospectively interested in the author.


message 42: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Cass wrote: "But the moment you mention "Jewish" and "Latino" and "Black" cultures, you are mentioning three major US cultures. I think I understand that you are using them to represent the minority cultures wo..."

Well minorities arn't really the minority in my opinion but thats for another discussion. I think it stands for all cultures with in the western culture thats why I put etc.

Also Blacks are in a lot of other places other than America I wont get into that whole identity crisis that black americans face because although literature may be a part of it thats a sensitive discussion that not all will understand or be comfortable with discussing.

I think it becomes easier and more comfortable to group every one together.

Why are they minor? Because their not white americans? I think theres more of the "minors" than there are white americans.


message 43: by Cass (last edited May 06, 2014 07:15PM) (new)

Cass | 533 comments Chakara wrote: "I think there are defiantly women and other races that have had influence but are not considered apart of the classics or western canon. But the thing is who is deciding the over all list. We would all say that 1984 is a classic even if we had not ourselves read the book. Why? "

This is the question we all have to answer when we write our own lists (assuming here that we are a group of people that all have a list in some form, and have done some form of research to compile it).

I have only read 20-30 books on my top 100 list (also my top-100 list has long since passed the 100 mark), so how did I go about choosing the others? Sometimes I read one from my list and am horrified to think that I was influence to include it.

It is about levels of trust I imagine. When the New York Times posts a top-100 list I am going to expect it to be skewed toward modern American books. When the university of Cambridge publishes a list I am going to expect it to be skewed toward university level tomes. When some popular goodreads personality writes a list I expect it to be full of YA vampire fiction (at least currently).

My job is to read each list, or recommendation and do a gut-check (for lack of a better term). Do I think this list is in line with my view of the classics. E.g. When Everyman (@22) gives us a list of list, I bookmark them to look through... because I know he is well-read and I doubt he will present lists skewed towards popular culture (be it vampires or modern American literature). At the end of the day... if lots of sources that I trust say that "1984" is a classic... then it will get added to my list.

GOSH. I would love to have a Plato style discussion of the term "classics" and see where it leads us.


message 44: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments One of my questions was if we thought that these groups "minorities" if you will... should or will be included in the classics and western canon or if they should have their own.

My own answer/ opinion is that they can't be included because they don't have enough "majority" backing and there for must be categorized on their own example: Latino Literature, African American Literature, LGBT literature.
With some authors gaining enough "majority" popularity every decade or so to crossover.

I understand that it may not matter to the reader , it certainly doesn't matter to me I read across cultures but I seek these books out as all of us are doing thats why we are here on goodreads in the first place.


message 45: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Cass wrote: "Chakara wrote: "I think there are defiantly women and other races that have had influence but are not considered apart of the classics or western canon. But the thing is who is deciding the over al..."

"At the end of the day... if lots of sources that I trust say that "1984" is a classic... then it will get added to my list."

I think this is the start of how the classics list was started. the "trusted sources" of the time say a book is great and if they say it it must be so then it kind of does a slinky effect until it becomes fact that 1984 is a classic.

I just don't think that the other groups have that "trusted source" backing them .

I like probably many of us here spread the word when I come across a great book no matter the author that wrote it but I wouldn't say I am a source with enough backing to create a slinky effect.


message 46: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Patrice wrote: "Chakara wrote: "Cass wrote: "But the moment you mention "Jewish" and "Latino" and "Black" cultures, you are mentioning three major US cultures. I think I understand that you are using them to repre..."

lol. I'm sorry but just because people in africa ( and by the way every one with my skin tone isnt from africa) didn't speak your language or have your alphabet doesn't mean they couldn't read their own language and form of writing.

Because they did not speak or read your language (at first) means that they are illiterate but you do not speak or read their language so would that make you illiterate? I don't think so.

Also this is all I have to say on the matter because I am here to TRY to understand and to read the canon and classics that we have to expand my knowing and understand. NOT to play a race card. Or talk about the bias of course if you have a group of all the same sex and race they will pick similar favorites.

Do you remember that many of the books we now consider classics are by women that at their time of publishing had to write under the names of men?

I will not act like I'm not offended by you statements because I am. I am shaking . If I thought that all of the members of the group felt as you did I would probably not come back honestly.


message 47: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Cass wrote: "Chakara wrote: "I think there are defiantly women and other races that have had influence but are not considered apart of the classics or western canon. But the thing is who is deciding the over al..."

I don't think I'd be up for a discussion about the term classics it would prob just turn into another discussion about race honestly.

Thank you so much Cass I really appreciate you discussing this with me and the other group members willing to discuss.


message 48: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Cass wrote: " I mean I would never consider "huckleberry Finn" to be a great book, yet it is lists in the "joy of reading". The writing isn't great, the storyline is not great. It has nothing really special except that it is (almost) universally loved by a large group. It touches on themes that are of value to that culture. "

For me, it touches on many themes that are universal. The longing for community, for connection. The illusion of freedom. The conflict between truth and caring. The conflict between conscience and obedience to law. To mention just a few. It is rich in thematic content, in human conflict and drama.


message 49: by Whitney (last edited May 06, 2014 09:03PM) (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Also I'd like to point out Patrice that I never said that we should discard anything I simply asked for opinion on if these groups should be added or have a category of their own.

I would disagree that most of the world is Illiterate. I can't read french but I can read English. Could I learn to read and write in french possibly good enough to write a book sure maybe it will be classic material but would it be accepted by the french is another story completely.

I was born in America but this is not my country the society plays nice because it has to. My culture ( black americans) are not accepted by the Africans either. So where exactly do we fit? in literature as well as in life?

I didn't think my questions would take this turn but it seems one can not be separated from the other. I don't know if you even understand what I'm trying to say. Maybe this discussion should be closed because I don't wish to offend anyone .

Edited to correct your name.


message 50: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 74 comments Well my grandparents can read as well as my great grandmother and she's 102 years old. Her mother could also. Interesting facts.


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