The Literary Blog Hop is a fortnightly event held at The Blue Bookcase prompting book bloggers to answer a question.
Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the affect you believe a book’s “status” has on your opinion of it.
I do not think that to know that a book is part of the literary canon has any influence on my reading, my pleasure to read or the way I judge a book. However, I might become aware of a book more easily because it is canonical and be curious about reading it to know why it has been judged so important.
As I have said before, I think the canon is subjective. Who judges? Who decides what should and should not be part of the canon? Why should I trust this judgement? The canon evolves with time; some classics remain, but many books are rediscovered and become part of the canon because standards change.
What is the canon anyway? How can we define it? It is a selection of core books that have been judged as important. However, certain books might have more relevance at certain times than others, which means that the canon should not be fixed. The term means very little I think. Texts are fluid and their relevance and significance will depend on the reader’s own conditions. The canon depends therefore on the choice of a limited amount of readers. It is a rigid term and one that loses significance I believe.
Reading is a matter of taste before anything else. Being part of the canon does not mean I will enjoy the work. I might be curious about it and wonder why the book has been judged as canonical, but that does not mean I will like it. I would be more inclined to follow the recommendations of someone who knows my reading tastes well than to read a book because it is canonical and therefore it must be good.