Revising the Literary Canon Criticism: Minority And Third-World Literature And The Canon - Essay

Patrick Williams (essay date 1989)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Difficult Subjects: Black British Women's Poetry,” in Literary Theory and Poetry: Extending the Canon, edited by David Murray, B. T. Batsford Ltd., 1989, pp. 108-26.

[In the following essay, Williams discusses approaches to the work of Black women poets in Britain and the possibility of including them in the British literary canon.]

How many people today live in a language that is not their own? Or no longer, or not yet, even know their own and know poorly the major language that they are forced to serve? This is the problem of immigrants, and especially of their children, the problem of minorities, the problem of a minor literature, but...

(The entire section is 7477 words.)

Georg M. Gugelberger (essay date Summer 1991)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Decolonizing the Canon: Considerations of Third World Literature,” in New Literary History, Vol. 22, No. 3, Summer, 1991, pp. 505-24.

[In the following essay, Gugelberger seeks to identify some common traits of “Third World Literature” and comments that, rather than being integrated into the traditional literary canon, it should be read for the insight it can provide into canonical texts.]

One of our basic political tasks lies precisely in the ceaseless effort to remind the American public of the radical difference of other national situations.

Fredric Jameson1


(The entire section is 8172 words.)

Gay Wilentz (essay date 1992)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “English Is a Foreign Anguish: Caribbean Writers and the Disruption of the Colonial Canon,” in Decolonizing Tradition: New Views of Twentieth-Century “British” Literary Canons, University of Illinois Press, 1992, pp. 261-78.

[In the following essay, Wilentz examines the writings of Caribbean authors who write in English in relation to the British canon.]

You taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse.

Caliban, The Tempest

The issue of canon revision and reconstruction goes well beyond the selection of texts, for as Cary Nelson states in “Against English: Theory and the Limits of...

(The entire section is 7270 words.)