Arnold, Matthew. “The Study of Poetry.” In Culture and Anarchy and Other Writings, edited by Stefan Collini. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993. An influential Victorian’s attempt to develop criteria for greatness in poetry by using lines from earlier works as touchstones of excellence.
Berman, Paul, ed. Debating P.C.: The Controversy over Political Correctness on College Campuses. New York: Dell, 1992. Reprints essays by Irving Howe, Edward W. Said, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Katha Pollitt that advance varied positions in the canon controversy.
Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon: The Books and Schools of the Ages. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1994. An ambitious attempt to define and review the canon question and to argue for the centrality of twenty-six authors to what Bloom calls the Aristocratic, Democratic, and Chaotic Ages.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Discussions of literary canon, with particular reference to race, by a prominent African-American scholar.
Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar, eds. The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Tradition in English. New York: Norton, 1985. An influential argument for and demonstration of an alternative English literary canon, consisting exclusively of works written by women.
Hirsch, E. D., Jr. Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. Argues the need for a canon of general knowledge for contemporary Americans and outlines what it might be like.
Leavis, F. R. The Great Tradition. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1954. An opinionated attempt to define the tradition of the English novel.
Von Hallberg, Robert, ed. Canons. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. Essays, reprinted from the scholarly journal Critical Inquiry, that examine the concept and practice of canon formation.