The Western Canon – what’s your take?

Earlier this week I came “out” as not having taken a Literature course since High School. Whether that’s ironic or not depends on what you think of someone with a freshly minted MA in English not having taken a lit class in the better part of 20 years …

Despite that, I did spend that time that I wasn’t in school doing a pretty significant self-study of the Western Canon – I didn’t read it all … it’s a lifetime pursuit … and I intentionally omitted Victorian Literature and American literature from the same era.


The internet wasn’t what it is today when I started it – I actually got the hardcover version of Howard Bloom’s book from the Library & used it to select my reading (I see there’s a new text called All Things Shining that might serve as a shortcut to the Bloom text)


But now that we’ve got our ever present albatross (monkey? demon?) Wikipedia, the contents of the Western Canon are a lot easier to list than they once were:

For purposes of discussion – let’s use the Harvard Classics  (copied wholesale from the Wiki page) – what would you add? what would you remove?

Contents[edit source | editbeta]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction[edit source | editbeta]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction was selected by Charles W. Eliot, LLD (1834-1926), with notes and introductions by William Allan Neilson. It also features an index to Criticisms and Interpretations.