If you haven't checked it out already, click on over to Tony Tost's blog. A very interesting, provocative conversation happening. Process and product, canons, cult of the author, art that aspires for the eternal . . .
So far, 26 comments. Movin on up to Silliman scale responses.
I am still thinking through a lot of issues raised in the comments. I am really dwelling on the concept of quality and canonization.
Is quality a condition of context? Are some contexts more "eternal" than others? (for example Hamlet)
In which of those three is quality most likely to be located?
It seems to me the assertion that certain literary texts change the English language forever needs further inquiry.
Hip hop changed/changes the English language, right? But hip hop is a fad whereas Hamlet is eternal?
I am also not sure I understand why an artifact that lasts for all time requires quality? It seems very few artifacts that last beyond their initial reception are quality cream (a lot of sour rancid cream disguised as fresh cream).
Sure, I want order. I want to narrow down the overwhelming amount of poetry. I want a community. We need some common texts in order to have a conversation. But this is all real time. Now. Canon indicates a reaching for eternity (the word, the good book). What's the matter with living and writing now. Dying later.
Sure look up works as historical artifacts. hang em on the musuem. Maybe even consider how they impacted a given culture. But to say there's something there that requires canonizing?
These reactions of mine are shaky. I am not set on these positions of canonization. Maybe secretly, deep down, I do want canonization. I am not free of ego!
Canonization \Can`on*i*za"tion\, n. [F. canonisation.]
1. (R. C. Ch.) The final process or decree (following
beatifacation) by which the name of a deceased person is
placed in the catalogue (canon) of saints and commended to
perpetual veneration and invocation.
Canonization of saints was not known to the
Christian church titl toward the middle of the tenth
2. The state of being canonized or sainted.
Anyway, check out the conversation:
>Get Down on IT