Mishima Revisited

Spring Snow reviewed

The author of the post asks at the end how you feel about "balancing the canon,"  and suggest a canon without at least five Japanese authors on it is a pale and weedy thing.

I disagree. A canon should not have quotas--people should not be included by nationality, but by worthiness of book.  Should the canon feature works from Asian authors?  Undoubtedly.  But then it would be world Canon, not a western Canon.  Do I think a world canon has a place in education--yes, in college.  But one of the things I find wrong with education now is that lack of a basis in any foundational literature makes access of other literatures more difficult.  That is a way of saying that the Western Canon has proven a worthwhile pedagogical device for precisely the literary intelligence it inculcates.  My acquaintance with it has made accessible to me literature from a diverse group of peoples and cultures. 

So, should the Western Canon be balanced?  Perhaps we need to give more serious and lengthy thought to the proper inclusion of female authors.

Should there be a similar structure that alerts people to works of quality from all the world?  Undoubtedly.  And still, there should be no quota.  If nothing of worth comes out of Myannamar (and I'm not saying that the statement is true) then Myannamar authors should not be inducted into the canon simply to balance it out.

The roster of worthy works should continue to be examined, pruned, cultivated, and commented on for the benefit of all.

So, while I disagree, perhaps with the question, I think I agree in large part with the intent.  It is good to broaden one's reading by including works unfamiliar to one.

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