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A doorway!

I have found a meme that seems to be a doorway to truly awesome blogs, for which I am extremely thankful. It is this:

Literary Blog Hop

Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the effect you believe a book’s “status” has on your opinion of it.

I’m definitely predisposed to like them, and I’ll tell you why, meme. It’s because every century churns out an almost infinite amount of crap literature, and then a tiny bit of good. Undoubtedly, some of the good stuff gets left out of the canon, and some of the bad stuff inexplicably worms its way in, but overall if something is canon I tend to assume it’s there because it’s timeless (er, to a certain degree) and has a piece of human truth in it. This has led to me reading the amazingness that is Middlemarch, and the death knell that is Romola (really, George Eliot? really?). It led to Ethan Frome, which made me sob at 2 in the morning for the fates of its characters, and Summer, which just flat-out sucks.

As I discussed in a previous post on contemporary lit, my reliance on canon lit crippled me to a certain extent for some years, as I did not trust any novels that did not have a 100-year-old stamp of approval. Fortunately, that has changed, but I do look with much more suspicion upon modern works than I do upon, say, anything written by Thackeray. No, that’s actually not true. I distrust anything by Thackeray that isn’t Vanity Fair. So let’s say anything written by Dickens, trite as that may be.

Hurrah for canon!


  1. I agree with you...except for the part about Middlemarch, because (horrors!) I haven't read it. YET.

  2. @chambanachik I had a professor yell at me to read Middlemarch (well, 'politely suggest to') and I loved Dorothea Brooke sooooo much. She might be my favorite heroine ever. Mebbe.

  3. You are funny and I'm honored to be a new follower. Tell me: are you contralto, alto, mezzo or soprano?

  4. @As the Crowe Flies and Reads Hurray! And I'm following you! Resulting in us going in an endless circle.

    Soprano, unfortunately. unfortunately.

  5. Yes, but what about those works that are left out? Why are they left out? Who makes the canon?
    I'm not saying that I don't trust works from the canon, but I don't always trust the criteria that have been picked to choose those books.
    Furthermore, like with everything, there is also a matter of taste.

  6. Your blog cracks me up! I'm definitely a new follower. I'm glad you found our Hop! :)

    -Ingrid from The Blue Bookcase

  7. @IngridLola You do complit?? That was my major! I did 19th c. British/French lit and it was awesome and it's the best field to be in. Of ever, if you will.

  8. My path was slightly different as I read a lot these classics without realising they had status. But I think all that status can do is act as a guide, signposting a way.

  9. Great post and welcome to the hop. There's a lot of truth to this. I was reading Pride and Prejudice with my teenage daughter- a girl who reads constantly. We were about 2/3 through it and she said, "Mom, old books really are better." I pointed out in my wise old mom way that not all old books are better, only the ones that have stood the test of time and she rolled her eyes at me because she knew that, but there is a reason the classics are classics. We might not like them all, but they are good books.

  10. @Julie That took me a minute, but yes...yes.

    I'll edit it, but no more critiquing my new friends from you, madam. :P Also, bring your scarf and scotch tape today.

  11. Of course, I agree with you. The canon is a great place to start when looking for books that are probably not suck-tastic. I do think, however, that the canon deserves re-examination by readers on a constant basis. Because sometimes, the literary critics and academics that developed the canon over time were smoking something crackalicious.

  12. I share your suspicion of modern literature. The literary canon should not be a crutch, but it remains a source of works that transcend time and culture to provide us with wisdom.


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