(from The ABC of Writing, Faber & Faber, London, 1992. pp.19-20)
A group of texts which none of us wants to read from begining to end. The traditional canon was painstakingly constructed to honour the substantial works of great white males which had stood the test of time and demonstrated their transcendent value to the most stringent of white male critics.
In time, of course, the clubable consensus was exploded and the canon opened up to new wavesw of contemporary, feminist, multi-cultural and insurgent texts. Unfortunately each new wave admitted meant heaving out somebody's old favourite, until the canon began to lose any semblance of logic or consistency.
As a result, critical opinion divided into three schools: Reactionaries, who loudly called for the old canon to be reinstated; Radicals, who felt that the canon should become a maelstrom of manouevre and contention; and Sceptics, who believed the time had come for the canon to be discharged.
Labels: writing craft