Saturday, September 25, 2010

I found this article by Lindsay Johns on Arts & Letters Daily on the importance of the canon for black people (and, by extension, I presume for other minority groups). I'm a sucker for discussions on the canon, and for the canon itself.

Here's an excerpt I found particularly apt:

"Naturally, if someone has me in shackles, is holding a gun to my head and denying me my basic human rights because of the colour of my skin, I would choose to firstly devote my intellectual energies to addressing that injustice. But it is undeniable that man’s inhumanity to man is only one part of the human condition.

The dead white men never had to face the evils of slavery or the physical and emotional oppression of racism. Thus their minds were freer to range over the great philosophical questions, metaphysical quandaries and cosmological dilemmas. In short, they have been allowed to address man in relation to the macrocosm, as opposed to just the microcosm."

It's just how I feel about the topic of "women's writing" and the feminist response to the canon. Johns may not call the limited and focused responses to the canon by previously excluded or marginalized parties the "school of resentment" as Harold Bloom does, but I have no doubt that both Johns and Bloom are allies with a great cause.

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