Revisiting the Canon Wars – by Rachel Donadio

Donadio writes:

“Today it’s generally agreed that the multiculturalists won the canon wars. Reading lists were broadened to include more works by women and minority writers, and most scholars consider that a positive development.”

As I wrote at “Leftward Whoa! the Academy” – the institutions still have a long way to go:

“As I’ve mentioned previously, repeatedly, good strides have been made in other areas, in particular in regard to multicultural issues, in realms sometimes known as “identity politics,” thought and experience. But consider, in how many courses next year and in these past several years have students a chance to read and consider an explicit investigative antiwar novel about the ongoing US invasion and occupation of Iraq, one of the greatest calamities of our time for which our country is responsible? The answer is none, apparently. And precious few if any such novels were written for the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and World War II. And where is the criticism of that lack? Again, this example by itself doesn’t prove anything but is indicative of a general great failing of literature departments and the literary establishment as a whole (i.e., publishers, reviewers, writers and so on), which I’ve written about at length elsewhere.”


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