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Related: classic - greatness - list - merit -
Varieties: postmodern canon - geek canon - Western canon
A canon is the result of the process of listmaking Defining the boundaries of the canon is endless. One of the notable attempts is to list the greatest books, movies, cds. Essentially a male thing. In 20th century popular the process can be observed in the film High Fidelity.
Mona Lisa (c. 1506-1507) - Leonardo da Vinci
The expressive synthesis that Leonardo achieved between sitter and landscape has placed this work in the canon of the most popular and most analyzed paintings of all time.
--http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon [Oct 2004]
- A list of books accepted by an ecclesiastic communion as authoritative or divinely inspired. The term was originally Christian, referring to books declared divinely inspired by the canons of Church councils. The term has however come to be extended to other religions as well with compound scriptures, thus one can speak for instance of the Pali canon in Buddhism. See Biblical canon for a discussion of the Jewish and Christian canons.
- The Western canon, the body of literature and art which is considered to define Western civilization by widespread consensus. These were the works with which an educated person was expected to be familiar. Increasingly after ca 1970 the idea that any such canon might exist came under attack and was stigmatized as elitist and academics. Those who defended a canon pointed out that the elite canon was generally available to all and was therefore not elitist, and that the word "academic" was merely negative code for "educated." The particularly American controversy was a skirmish in the wider "culture wars."
In defense of a canon
Inspired by my recent purchase of John Carey's The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992) I have been thinking a lot about the nobrow concept. The nobrow states that all is relative and that notions of merit are personal judgments at best. Still, I think we need a canon in order to be able to teach. A curriculum cannot be chosen at random. We need shared experience and common knowledge. If we are not satisfied with the canon, we need to come up with a new one. To me that means including previously maligned "low" genres as well as including "high culture" with a critical approach such as the one of John Carey and other nobrow theorists. A canon which explores the boundaries, bridges and intersections of culture. To you that may mean something different. Whose canon will it be? [Jun 2006].
See also: culture war - John Carey - canon - education - nobrow
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