Argument for Sonja Livingston’s Inclusion in the Literary Canon

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The literary canon is those works considered by scholars, critics, and teachers to be the most important to read and study, which collectively constitute the “masterpieces” of literature. (Meyer 2175) In the past there has been much debate on whether non-fiction should be considered for inclusion in the canon, but non-fiction writers being considered part of the canon is not unheard of, and is already a reality – George Orwell, Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemingway- all had a significant body of non-fictional work and are well respected, well established members. Sonja Livingston’s work is part of a genre called creative non-fiction. As stated in his article for The Writer, Lee Gutkind states, “Creative nonfiction-also called "new nonfiction" or "new journalism"-refers to writing about your experiences and lifestyles in a literary way. By "literary," I mean using scenes, dialogue, description, first-person points of view-all the tools available to fiction writers, while consistently attempting to be truthful and factual.” (Gutkind) Non-fiction can be and is ‘literary” and through mastery of that genre, an author is worthy of inclusion in the canon. On the strength of her work; the uniqueness of her voice; Sonja Livingston should be considered for membership in the canon. Ghostbread, Sonja Livingston’s, most well known work is a memoir. It tells of her childhood, her family, and how those relationships shaped her emotional development, especially her relationship with her mother. Douglas Hesse states in an article for English Journal, “Not every memoir is literary, as sensationalized, ghost-written, celebrity tell-all too often testify. Literary memoirs are marked by the craft of writing, the quality of thought and refl... ... middle of paper ... ... turn plain reality into art and idea. Writing creative nonfiction means perceiving what details are worth telling, why they might matter, and how they might connect. (1) Ms. Livingston uses style, theme, and structure to create writings that are profound, simple, true and fanciful all at once and on the strength of those attributes, a case may be made for Sonja Livingston’s inclusion in the literary canon. Works Cited Dowling,,H.F.,Jr. Imaginative Exposition: Teaching "Creative" Non-Fiction Writing. 36 Vol. , 1985. Web. Gutkind, Lee. Creative Nonfiction. 117 Vol. , 2004. Web. Hesse, Douglas. Imagining a Place for Creative Nonfiction. 99 Vol. , 2009. Web. Livingston, Sonja. Ghostbread. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 2010. Print. Meyer, Michael, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. Print.

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