William Carlos Williams and the Canon

1397 Words6 Pages
I had envisioned the literary canon to be a fixed list of literature that could only be added to and not taken away from. I was mistaken. As I researched it became clear that the works included in the Western Canon are not fixed; the importance of some pieces wane, while others that may have been ignored are brought to the forefront as time progresses and perspectives evolve. I have a belief that everything is relative and it seems that is true when it comes to the literary canon. As our society transforms, so do our beliefs and values. Therefore the things we, as a people, consider great change and are relative to what we are experiencing at a certain time. I began to question what exactly the criteria are in order for a piece of literature to be included in the canon. The only actual list I found was from Clemson University class notes, and it included some of the same criteria mentioned in our assignment. The list of criterion from the Clemson notes were as follows: “authenticity, universality, significant subject matter, and aesthetic criteria, which includes innovative and complex use of language and form.” (http://virtual.clemson.edu/caah/women/flc436/notescanon.html) I also believe that in order for a work to be considered remarkable it must evoke immense emotion, creating and intense reaction in its reader. While a piece of literature can have perfect form and innovative language and style I do not think it should be considered great if it lacks passion. Poetry may be the hardest form of literature to examine, at least for me. After reading some of our assigned poems this semester I was left completely confused, as to not only the authors purpose, but also the relevance and importance of the poem; None ... ... middle of paper ... ...du/caah/women/flc436/notescanon.html>. "William Carlos Williams." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. . "A Brief Guide to Imagism." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. . Press., Cambridge University, and Christopher J. MacGowan. "On "The Great Figure"" Welcome to English « Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. . Gleason, Jessica. "William Carlos Williams : This Is Just To Say: An Understanding and Analysis of The Imagist Style | Suite101.com." Suite101.com: Online Magazine and Writers' Network. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. williams-this-is-just-to-say-a59432>.
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