Hello Mr. Pinsky,
I'd like to know your thoughts, as general or as specific as they may be, on canonicity. What works or authors do you consider to be an integral part thereof? What do you think of the notion of "sexiness" in relation to the canon's constituents?
My question springs from a desire to know the ways in which we redefine the canon every so often. Also, as a follow-up, what elements of a work of poetry (or fiction for that matter) make that work canon-worthy? Are there such elements?
As to the canon, it is always changing, always different for each person, always suggests some social core. Like culture, or a culture or a nation, it is made out of motion. It is a form of change.
You say that the canon is "always different for each person." How could it be, then, that Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, et al., are so universally agreed upon? Just how personal is the canon when these literary figures are such a large part of our common epistemology?
TODAY IN SLATE
Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola
Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
U.S. Begins Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria
The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy
It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.