Jay B. Hubbell (essay date 1972)
SOURCE: “The Major American Writers,” in Who Are the Major American Writers?, Duke University Press, 1972, pp. 271-88.
[In the following excerpt, Hubbell questions the reasoning behind some academic reassessments of the literary canon, as well as the results of a New York Times poll on the subject, noting the absence of American authors among those deemed the most important.]
If it is difficult to get a consensus among critics as to who the great nineteenth-century writers are, it is almost impossible to get them to agree on which of the writers of the present century should be admitted to the canon of the great American writers. The various polls and...
(The entire section is 4158 words.)