[lit-ideas] Re: The Western Canon and the Politically Correct

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2012 17:50:37 -0500

Bravo!

John

On Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 4:21 PM, John Wager <jwager@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Lawrence Helm wrote:
>
>>
>> . . . . Therefore,What "right,"donarrow-minded, bigoted,
>> white-Anglo-Saxon male authority figures of the pasthaveto tell us that
>> Shakespeare, Homer, Dante, Milton,Rembrandt, Bach,Beethoven, or anyone else
>> in their "canon"has created"good art"?  We will decide for ourselves
>> whatgood art is.And so they do.
>>
>>  Or they don't.
>
> I submit that one absolutely necessary (but not sufficient) condition for
> judging a work "better" or "worse" than another is a full reading of that
> work, with enough encouragement and support to get the most out of it that
> the student can get.  THEN a person might be able to make a judgment
> between two works.  The problem is that fewer and fewer new teachers have
> read Dante, much less Milton.  Even Shakespeare isn't nearly as common. So
> in picking an author one "likes" one only picks among authors one has read.
>
> I submit that anybody, ANYBODY, who reads Dante or Shakespeare with a
> half-open mind will make a much more informed choice, and will almost
> always chose Dante or Shakespeare over almost any other option.  I agree
> thoroughly, though, that the goal is precisely to "decide for ourselves
> whatgood art is."  This requires thoughtful comparison of texts, not a
> quick pick based on knowledge of only one option.
>
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-- 
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.wordworks.jp/

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