4 a : an accepted principle or rule. The ‘who‘ is followed by the ‘why‘. For example: For a very long time the world considered the Greek epics of Homer, the Iliad, and Odyssey, as the most sublime examples of literature. Over time, some works become less pertinent in the canon as they're replaced by more modern counterparts. The canon is the use of archaic language that Chaucer used in his works but not used in this part. the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art: the neoclassical canon. Generally, the term canon is used in three different meanings. She wrote mild and smiling romantic novels, such as Pride and Prejudice and Emma, setting them in England, and making marriage her subject to be explored. Their literary works obtain in themselves the position of literary canon which the successive writers use as touchstone to compare their creations with. The accepted body of work that comprises the canon of Western literature has evolved and changed over the years, however. Countless phrases and terms we use every day, such as “Trojan Horse,” “Sisyphean,” “star-crossed lovers,” and “Dickensian,” came from the Western Literary Canon. The function of a canon has always raised confusion and complexity. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. This, of course, has led to many disputes among literary scholars over the years. If so, perhaps there is a need for us to dust off those old books and re-investigate that Black Literary Canon. Expansion of the literary canon in the 20th century. The works, traditionally considered as following a certain canon, belong to the writers who have long been dead. Literary Canon Definition . As the term is ordinarily used, "literary canon" is defined by definition #7 above: "an authoritative list, as … 11. a member of a religious community living under common rules and bound by vows. The characteristic that has earned Melville a place in the literary canon, though, is not his stylistic skill, but rather, like Dickinson and Hawthorne, the selection of his subject. This context is important to the make-up of a literary canon. Derived from the Greek word kan ôn meaning measuring rod or standard, the canon has been compiled by literary critics, scholars and teachers over time in order to assert which works of literature are ‘essential’. However, canon is a literary rule that is used to evaluate books and writings against certain models, such as plays are evaluated against Oedipus the King by Sophocles, where Oedipus the King is a yardstick which has set canons for plays. Derived from the Greek word kan ôn meaning measuring rod or standard, the canon has been compiled by literary critics, scholars and teachers over time in order to assert which works of literature are ‘essential’. By studying canonical works of the past, we gain a new appreciation for them from a modern perspective. Used quite often in fan fiction to differentiate between the official storyline in which the fan fiction is based on. Some writers and artists' work is not as well appreciated in their time, and their writing becomes part of the canon many years after their deaths. The definition of literary canon Greek origins of the word kanon; Classification of works within the literary canon Another name for literary canon Authors included in the literary canon the body of ecclesiastical law. This secular use of the word is derived from its original meaning as a listing of all authorized books in the Bible. Take a 19th century American literature course, for instance. As she used round characters in her novels, uniquely different from her counterparts, this became her style, and finally a canon against which other female writers would be evaluated. noun an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope. This secular use of the word is derived from its original meaning as a listing of all authorized books in the Bible. Canon definition is - a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council. Topics: Novel, Literature, Genre Pages: 1 (267 words) Published: November 25, 2012. It describes those books, which have dubious authorship or the authority, or where the accuracy of the writers is questionable. Hence, a number of critical circles suggest that the idea of having specific canons for specific genres needs to be abandoned. When considering the term “literary canon,” one is ultimately considering the whole of the seminal works in the arts that have come to define a genre. The words ‘canon’ and ‘classic’ both evoke notions of evaluation and hierarchy. In other words, it means “a long list of works taken as authentic.”. The western canon was revolted in the 80’s by a group of people who claimed women had been excluded from its collection. This meaning covers the entire literature generally thought as suitable for aesthetic admiration and academic use. Literature is affected by the experiences and thoughts of writers and readers. Jane Austen is one of those female writers who came to the limelight by breaking all the traditional and conventional shackles. The canon is a tacitly agreed upon collection of literary works that are deemed super important and of the highest quality by all the folks that, well, deem things. Taken from The Plowman’s Tale, these lines exemplify the third definition of canon. More often than not, it is those works that are considered contextually relevant that gain entry into the canon. This approach of looking at, and following a writer’s work for measuring literary excellence and success is, in fact, called a “Shakespearean canon.”. A literary canon is a classification of literature. However, we have no idea whether the popular and well-known author was a genuine person. This video covers what the literary canon is and perspectives about what to include and why. What is the difference between cannon and canon? However, Shakespeare’s earned appreciation for these works became yardstick by which other writers to judge their places in literature. Esther Lombardi, M.A., is a journalist who has covered books and literature for over twenty years. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. A literary canon is a classification of literature. The Western Literary Canon is still essential for required reading in school because of how it has pervaded all aspects of our culture. One of the definitions is, “the books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church,”. Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as autobiography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay. The American literary canon, or the books deemed important enough to teach in schools and survive over generations, is a fraught subject. Many teachers and schools rely on the canon to teach students about literature, so it's crucial that it includes works that are representative of society, providing a snapshot of a given point in time. T he widely debated term ‘literary canon’ is used to classify a group of literary works that are considered the most important from a certain time or place. In other words, it means “a long list of works taken as authentic.” For example, the Bible – both written in Hebrew, and even translated versions. During Whitman's lifetime, it was not necessarily read within that context. “In a summer season when soft was the sun, I clothed myself in a cloak as I shepherd were, Habit like a hermit’s unholy in works, And went wide in the world  wonders to hear. This is a highly controversial text not widely recognized in the Church — but it is believed to be the words of one of Jesus' closest companions. How the Canon Changes a : an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture. It is intended for use in an introductory literature course. 2. countable noun A canon of texts is a list of them that is accepted as genuine or important. Arguments about which works are worthy of further examination and study are likely to continue as cultural norms and mores shift and evolve. This statement should appear self-evident. Literary canons are more like collection of works measured by others on the basis of literary skill and value. Definition and Characteristics, Word Choice in English Composition and Literature, Definitions and Discussions of Medieval Rhetoric, M.A., English Literature, California State University - Sacramento, B.A., English, California State University - Sacramento. Though modern canons of literature have traditionally been set by universities or other official bodies, there is no authoritative body that scholars know today from ancient Egypt that would have designated an Egyptian literary canon. A literary canon is a group or body of related literary works, often sanctioned by an authority. Definition: Any Shmoop scholar worth his or her salt knows all about the western literary canon. Literary canons, like the works that comprise them and the judgments of those who create them, are constantly changing. Literary Canon: The most relevant definition of canon is “an authoritative list, as of the works of an author”. Secondly, students of literature use it to refer to the writings included in anthologies, or textbooks under certain genres, and thus are evaluated according to the genre under which they are placed. Just as controversial as the discussions engendered about the canon, so too is the definition. Literary Canon Definition. It is also described as “a basis for judgment; standard; criterion.”. An example of an apocryphal text in Christianity would be the Gospel of Mary Magdelene. Paper type: Essay: Pages: 2 (268 words) Downloads: 41: Views: 149: A literary canon is a classification of literature. William Shakespeare wrote both tragedies and comedies for Elizabethan audiences, throughout the late 16th, and early 17th centuries. In fiction and literature, the canon is the collection of works considered representative of a period or genre. Yet the sense of definition #3 ("standard, criterion") is also strongly implied as the means by which individual works find their way into the literary canon. Women, minorities, and non-Western writers were kept out of this kind of arbitrary practice for a long time – until they won recognition such as the writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Originated from the Greek term “kanon,” canon means “a yard stick,” or “a measuring rod.” Generally, the term canon is used in three different meanings. The term “literary canon” refers to a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential of a particular time period or place. The collected works of William Shakespeare, for instance, would be part of the canon of western literature, since his writing and writing style has had a significant impact on nearly all aspects of that genre. And the … Many modern critics and teachers argue that women, minorities, and non-Western writers are left out of the literary canon unfairly. Synonym Discussion of canon. The collected works of William Shakespeare, for instance, would be part of the canon of western literature, since his writing and writing style has had a significant impact on nearly all aspects of that genre. Some apocryphal works are never granted formal acceptance but are influential nevertheless. The process in which a work is canonized is completely subjective. A canon can also be a body of work, like the Shakespeare canon, which includes all of the Bard's plays and poems. People of color have become more prominent parts of the canon as a past emphasis on Eurocentrism has waned. canon Canon (one “n”) refers to a collection of rules or texts that are considered to be authoritative. A literary canon is a classification of literature. A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field: "the durable canon of American short fiction" (William Styron). But on a May morning on Malvern hills, A marvel befell me of fairy, me thought.”. To Kill a Mockingbird (Paperback) Harper Lee. The United States is home to so many cultures that it is impossible to encapsulate the best work without leaving out important figures. b : the authentic works of a writer the Chaucer canon. In the twentieth century there was a general reassessment of the literary canon, including women's writing, post-colonial literatures, gay and lesbian literature, writing by people of colour, working people's writing, and the cultural productions of historically marginalized groups. Just as controversial as the discussions engendered about the canon, so too is the definition. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. Copyright © 2020 Literary Devices. All Rights Reserved. The “canon” is defined by dictionary.com as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.” The very definition […] The term “canon” is also confused with a homonym “cannon,” which means “a military weapon.”. For instance, Walt Whitman's epic poem "Song of Myself" is now viewed as a seminal work of gay literature. Canon A list of authors or works considered to be central to the identity of a given literary tradition or culture. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. As the term is ordinarily used, "literary canon" is defined by definition #7 above: "an authoritative list, as of the works of an author." This battle of the books sparks ire about who decides upon the formation of the canon. Literary Canon Literary Canon Research Papers look at how culture defines literary canon and how it can be found in all genres of literature. Apocrypha is also a literary term, which means “hidden,” or “anonymous literary pieces,” which were considered not to have confirmed to the rules set by the written Bible, in Hebrew or in Latin. For example, contemporary writers such as Louise Erdrich ("The Round House), Amy Tan ("The Joy Luck Club"), and James Baldwin ("Notes of a Native Son") are representative of entire subgenres of African-American, Asian-American, and Indigenous styles of writing. My theory is that it’s a matter of statistics. Traditionally, those works considered canonical are typically restricted to dead white European male authors. (shelved 32 times as literary-canon) avg rating 4.28 … First, it is defined as a traditional collection of writings, against which other writings are evaluated. For example, the Bible – both written in Hebrew, and even translated … This sense of the term makes canon opposite to “apocrypha,” which means “written works having anonymous authors.” The Bible was considered a yardstick to evaluate other literary pieces, according to a certain criterion. Canon A list of authors or works considered to be central to the identity of a given literary tradition or culture. Canon. - Contact Us - Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions, Definition and Examples of Literary Terms. Secular and literary applications of the term “canon” refer to a constellation of highly valued, high-cultural texts that have traditionally acted as arbiters of literary value, determining the discipline of literary studies as well as influencing the critical and cultural reception of literature. For instance, the works of Shakespeare and Chaucer are still considered significant. This means that the literary work is relevant to ongo… There is discord, political posturing and perennial arguments about the ‘literary canon‘. a. he American Heritage Dictionary . "Canon is also defined as "the books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church," and the idea of a literary canon also implies some such official status. For centuries, it was populated primarily by white men and was not representative of Western culture as a whole. Another word for official. has eleven separate definitions of the term canon, the most relevant of which is "an authoritative list, as of the works of an author" and "a basis for judgment; standard; criterion. In the history of literature, a number of authors and poets have made such an extraordinary contributions that their literary works are considered yardsticks to have set canons to evaluate other works. Furthermore, philosophical and political biases also resulted in disputes over literary canons. Definition of Canon. Because if history does not provide us with the cultural armor to withstand these impending racial attacks, we will be doomed to live the worst of our existence in the future instead of celebrating overcoming our obstacles from the past. Literature, therefore, changes in the context of changing experience and thought. It is compromised of literary works that share similar or related characteristics and are considered to be the most important of a specific time frame or place. T he widely debated term ‘literary canon’ is used to classify a group of literary works that are considered the most important from a certain time or place.
2020 literary canon definition