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Literary Canon: Definition & Authors

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Canon: Dictionary Definitions

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Definition of Canon

Generally scholars, literary critics, teachers and influential and qualified persons whose opinions are revered have a major say on the works that can be included in a literary canon. Interestingly a number of non-fiction works relating to politics, history, economics, philosophy, science, mythology and religion, also find place in a literary canon.

Print Email Save Image Credit: Content What is the American Literary Canon? How do Literary Canons evolve? View the discussion thread. What are the Characteristics of a Good Literary Villain?

Who is Robert Burns? How are some Novels given the Status as Classic Novels? For a very long time the world considered the Greek epics of Homer, the Iliad , and Odyssey , as the most sublime examples of literature. However, we have no idea whether the popular and well-known author was a genuine person. Homer, and the other writers inspired by him, have made their way to the list of the greatest literary brains of the world since antiquity — only by following the literary canons of writing.

William Shakespeare wrote both tragedies and comedies for Elizabethan audiences, throughout the late 16th, and early 17th centuries. For many decades, English writers compared themselves with Shakespeare. Jane Austen is one of those female writers who came to the limelight by breaking all the traditional and conventional shackles. She wrote mild and smiling romantic novels, such as Pride and Prejudice and Emma , setting them in England, and making marriage her subject to be explored.

As she used round characters in her novels, uniquely different from her counterparts, this became her style , and finally a canon against which other female writers would be evaluated. In this way, a literary canon establishes a collection of similar or related literary works. Of course, there are many ways in which literary works can be classified, but the canon seems to apply a certain validity or authority to a work of literature.

When a work is entered into the canon, thus canonized, it gains status as an official inclusion into a group of literary works that are widely studied and respected.

Those who decide whether a work will be canonized include influential literary critics, scholars, teachers, and anyone whose opinions and judgments regarding a literary work are also widely respected. For this reason, there are no rigid qualifications for canonization, and whether a work will be canonized remains a subjective decision.

Literary canons, like the works that comprise them and the judgments of those who create them, are constantly changing. Literature is affected by the experiences and thoughts of writers and readers. Literature, therefore, changes in the context of changing experience and thought. This context is important to the make-up of a literary canon. More often than not, it is those works that are considered contextually relevant that gain entry into the canon.

This means that the literary work is relevant to ongoing trends or movements in thought and art, or address historical or contemporary events, etc. Often, the popularity of a literary work is based not only on the quality, but the relevance of its subject matter to historical, social, and artistic context.

A popular or respected literary work usually deals with what people are most interested in, and this interest weighs in on whether or not the work is canonized. While the text of a literary work does not change over time, the meaning extrapolated from it by readers, and thus the attention paid to a literary work may change. Over time, literary canons will reflect these changes, and works may be added or subtracted from the canon.

To make matters more ambiguous, the popular definition of a literary canon also changes over time. This change, like the changing inclusions of literary canons, can be credited to subjectivity. For example, one popular definition of a canon refers to religious validity, implying that the canonized works are officially recognized by a church, and are considered religiously appropriate.

Within this definition, however, the canon remains a basis for judgment, a standard that must be met for canonization of a literary work to be considered. What you learn in school i.

Difference Between Canon and Apocrypha

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The term “canon” is also confused with a homonym “cannon,” which means “a military weapon.” Difference Between Canon and Apocrypha. Apocrypha is also a literary term, which means “hidden,” or “anonymous literary pieces,” which were considered not to have confirmed to the rules set by the written Bible, in Hebrew or in Latin.

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The literary canon is a collection of works by which others are measured in terms of literary skill and value. Derived from the Greek kanôn ('straight rod'), the term 'canon' has been used to classify works belonging to either a particular tradition (i.e. Biblical) or author (i.e. Shakespearean).

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Sep 07,  · The term "literary canon" refers to a classification of literature. It is a term used widely to refer to a group of literary works that are considered the most important of a . In fiction and literature, the canon is the collection of works considered representative of a period or genre. The collected works of William Shakespeare, for instance, would be part of the canon of western literature, since his writing and writing style has had a significant impact on nearly all.

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A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field: "the durable canon of American short fiction" (William Styron). b. The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic: the entire Shakespeare canon. As the term is ordinarily used, "literary canon" is defined by definition #7 above: "an authoritative list, as of the works of an author." Yet the sense of definition #3 ("standard, criterion") is also strongly implied as the means by which individual works find their way into the literary canon.