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The Classical Canon And The Contemporary Canon

915 words - 4 pages

Technically, for a novel to be accepted into the canon, it must be over 100 years old. This means that the novel has outlived its generation and context and is still as relevant and meaningful as it was when it was first published. The novels in the canon are so much more than just a good story. They have deeper layers which say something about human nature and there are different ways they can be interpreted. Most of the novels in the canon are representations of their context. They can be seen as a part of history and become important to our culture as they reflect the changes in our society. For a novel to be deemed to have literary value it must be unique and different. It must be ...view middle of the document...

Modern readers can still understand and identify with Emma. The novel is a representation of its context and shows how social status determines who you marry. Another reason that it is attractive to readers is that it is a love story. Emma marries a man who matches her intelligence and has a good influence on her. All of these things add to the literary value of the novel and they fit in with many of the aspects of a canonical text.A contemporary classic that illustrates these same features of a canonical text is The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Many people believe that this novel should be in the classical canon and perhaps the only reason it is not, is because it has not been 100 years since it was published and therefore does not fit into the strict definition. However, because of its high literary merit, in the mean time it is in the emerging canon or the contemporary canon. This is similar to the classical canon, but these novels are modern and some people believe that these are the novels that will, when it is time, be accepted into the classical canon.The Catcher in the Rye has as much literary value and worth as any text in the canon. The novel is a representation of its context as is Emma. The novel outlines the goals and values of the young generations in the 1950s. For example when the novel was written, the use of the word 'lousy' by a...

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