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September 29, 2005

Establishing a canon

"by the critics of drama it [Oedipus Rex] has often been favoured as one of those few but select works of art that creates a canon rather than finds a place in it."

When I read this idea towards the beginning I found it very interesting because a good portion of my lit class in high school we would talk about the Western Canon and what works belong to it. We wrote a lot of papers and did a lot of readings that debate this very issue. But I never before had thought of any work that "creates a canon" but I do think this description fits Oedipus Rex.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at September 29, 2005 12:18 AM


Hey this may sound stupid but what is a western canon?

Posted by: Denamarie at September 29, 2005 11:13 AM

Haha I was going to ask the same thing. I have never heard of it before. Is that what Rix is referring to when he says "cannon"? Because I didn't know what he was talking about. I read it over and over trying to get what he was trying to say.

Posted by: Chera Pupi at September 29, 2005 12:16 PM

Lol, sorry guys, I should have attempted to describe it; the trouble is that it is hard to explain. It is kind of like a list of books/authors that people "should" read/study because they are of some literary value or in the case of authors they helped develop literature in some way. Aristotle and Sophocles I’m sure are considered to be “on the list” by literary critics. The "list" changes and academics and literary critics are very often trying to convince others whether a book does or does not belong in the canon, which basically means "is this book universal enough and does it have enough literary merit to be something people should read now, as well as in 200 years?"

I'm not sure how helpful or accurate that is, but I hope it was at least a little bit. Maybe Prof. Jerz can help explain it better...?

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at September 29, 2005 1:27 PM

Actually, Lorin, I saw Denamarie's comment and resisted the urge to jump in because I wanted to see how you handled it. You did just fine.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 29, 2005 6:25 PM

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