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ERIC Number: ED405603
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Reforming the Literary Canon by Teaching It.
Weidauer, Friedemann
This paper addresses what is illusionary about the implication that a more representative canon has anything to do with a more representative student body and university administration and, ultimately, a better representation of marginalized groups in society. It considers the institutional and methodological barriers which hinder such changes and then turns to its main thesis that for any reform of the canon and of the curriculum in literature to be successful students first need to learn about the controversies surrounding the definitions and redefinitions of the canon. The paper argues for bringing the debate within the profession into the classroom, noting that both sides at odds do not consider the change in higher education's structure, wherein the teaching of literature becomes ever more marginalized as colleges turn into pre-professional schools with little room for the liberal arts. It stresses that only by giving students a clear picture of how the canon was used in the past and what is at stake when it is changed can they appreciate the alternatives that their professors want to offer. The paper outlines approaches to canonical texts which highlight the controversies surrounding the canon and which can motivate students to abandon received ways of reading literature--ground for a reformed canon must be prepared by changes in the ways texts are read. The paper's final point is that there are chances missed when new texts are simply substituted for the traditional canon. Contains 19 notes and 15 references. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A