Monday, February 9, 2009
Collecting A Western Canon
The article written in The Bachelor regarding the selection of literature for Senior Colloquium is hard not to argue with. He asks in his title: “Where Did All the Great Books Go?” I think it is hard to discern what really the great books of Western culture are. It is easy to say that Shakespeare, Hemingway, Chaucer, Milton, etc. are great writers and have produced some amazing, long lasting works. However, it is harder to say who some of the more modern day classic authors are and who belongs in the Western canon. It is a question of perspective. I think it is important for the great professors and administrators at Wabash to guide us to find these books. I, personally, had never heard of Nabokov or Marukami before reading the article in the Bachelor. I would trust, however, that the professors who assigned and picked the reading list would know what they are talking about. It is their job to help mold and shape us into learned gentleman of culture and class. A couple of my favorite authors are Dr. Seuss and Gary Paulson, both of whom have written their books towards youths. These might not be on the list of great Western authors, but they have been influential in my life. I think that there is no definitive collection of works that could be appropriately titled as the Western Canon. Each person has their favorite authors and authors that they think are important. We must bring our ideas together to make the most complete list. However, there will always still be some disagreements.