Monday, February 9, 2009

The Western Canon

While reflecting on the article written in The Bachelor, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the columnist. The columnist clearly did not hold high regard for established modern authors, some of which are Nobel Laureates. Instead, the article focuses primarily on the support of elite white, European male authors. Saying that these works are "the greatest works of literature" is a pretty valid point. Indeed Shakespeare was a fantastic playwright, however, who reserves the right to say that Derek Walcott's literature, or any author for that matter, is not a great piece of work that should be taught?

I believe that the Colloquium course being referred to in the article is a fantastic example of what our College exemplifies. Having a course on great works of literature, and focusing primarily on dead white European males is a disservice to the Liberal Arts education. It goes against everything that our College stands for. By reading a diverse crop of literature, we as students are able to learn more about the world through the lens of different races, cultures, and genders. However, the biggest criticism I have with the article, (the same criticism can be applied to the Canons), is who possesses the power to choose the works of literature worth teaching to students, and those which should not be taught?

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