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You may also like. Literary Magazine Back Issues. Can a national lit- erary canon, being a material force standing behind representation, become itself sub- ject to representation? I think the answer is affirmative. In this paper I will try to show why. My examples are taken from Slovene poetry from the Enlightenment to Post-Ro- manticism, that is, from a period in which the foundations of the national literary canon were laid.

I have analyzed poetry in which it is evident how the Slovene literary canon was formed as a fundamental structure of the emerging system of verbal art. However, these texts not only represented, but also enhanced the ideals, goals, pro- cesses, conventions, and strategies of canonization. They internalized and at the same time produced cultural memory by means of intertextuality,2 i. These two topoi were in public discourse usually connected with the imagery of flowers, founts of inspirations, laurels, Muses and Pegasus, with the symbolism of rhythms of cultural fecundity and decline sea- sons, movement of the sun, drought and moisture, fresh wind, etc.

Parnassus and Elysium are topoi of mythological origin. Their iconography and poetic semantics have a common denominator: both of them contain imagery of privi- leged, elevated artists and poets. Parnassus is the mountain of Apollo, Muses, holy streams, meadows, laurel, and indirectly Pegasus. It means inspiration, poetic initiation, ordination of a common man into a higher truth, the fact that he was chosen by the gods to speak their language, charm the masses with it, and acquire a position equivalent to kings.

Elysium is located in the under- ground, across from the place of condemned souls, or Tartaros. Comparisons, allusive references, motifs and stories that in literature intertextually refer to the topoi of Parnassus or Elysium are among the best examples of the self-referentiality and autopoesis of a literary system.

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This is a principle that estab- lishes the elements and structures of the system by deriving them from its own history. In doing so, it differentiates the system from its environment; furthermore, it takes care of its guidance and its response to changes in the environment. Narratively full-blown allegories of Parnassus and Elysium or individual poetic allusions to these two topoi attempt not only to represent but also to influence the social relevance and functions of literary discourse.

In order to do that, they employ illocutionary force of poetic messages, especially their appellative rhetoric.

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Poetizing Parnassus and Elysium was involved in larger social projects, initiatives, polemics or conflicts, which were going on from the s to the s. In this con- text it served a variety of functions. At first it was ethnically provincial, then in the second half of the 19th century it became explicitly national.

Both topoi were apt for fictionalizing the processes and acts of canonization and decanonization, for modeling inter-poetic struggles, or the selection of inspired poets from among the crowd of average of writ- ers. Parnassus or Helicon could also represent with felicity the idea of literary canon as such. The topos of Elysium — connoting firmness, tranquillity, finality, exclusion from life, its struggles and denouements — could in po- etry that intertextually referred to it represent already formed canon of authors, their fame and value in national culture.

Literary self-referentiality is normally understood as a fictional, imaginary or figu- rative discourse about the themes concerning verbal art, style, textuality and the val- ues, intentions, norms and conventions engraved in the socio-historical context of po- 3 Dietrich Schwanitz, Systemtheorie und Literatur: ein neues Paradigma Opladen: West- deutscher Verlag, , 7—66; Siegfried J.

Schmidt, Die Selbstorganisation des Sozialsystems Literatur im Guillory, op. Literature about literature is a self-regulatory strategy, typ- ical of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, when several European literatures were finally established as separate, linguistically homogenized and functionally special- ized social systems. It followed the social restructuring from the feudal and postfeudal estate system into functionally differentiated, modern bourgeois societies.

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This process made possible that literary discourse was gradually being perceived by writers, readers, critics, editors, as well as in education as a relatively autonomous unit of social communication, imbued with its own, primarily aesthetic values. Conven- tions were established inducing boundaries between the new aesthetic field and other forms of cultural representation.

With nationalization, vernacular writing was taking over positions of Latin in high culture, leaving step by step the normative framework of the classics and beginning to affiliate its themes and forms with other modern literatures written in vernaculars. The ideology of emerging nationalism made use of literature as a representative form of public dis- course in order to disseminate symbolic ties among a public that was able to read na- tional languages; and adopting a pseudo-religious tone and referring to a biblical tra- dition of the Sacred Word constituted one of the favorite strategies of so-called cul- tural nationalism in literature.

Schmidt, op. The vernacular corpus then proliferated, trying to overcome the linguistic, poetological, and stylistic patronage of the classical canon e. At the beginning of the 18th century the Slovene ethnic territory, di- vided into provinces, which were ruled by Austria, Hungary, and the republic of Ven- ice, lacked greater cultural centers and institutions of its own, as well as Slovene speaking upper classes. The efforts to standardize the language and to use it in public were few as well.

This is why Slovene was still very vulnerable to influences of more powerful neighboring languages Italian, German, Hungarian and was dialectally greatly diversified; Slovene was mostly caught up into a culturally subordinate, bilin- gual or diglossic sociolinguistic situation.

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Powerful Essays words 4 pages. Meyer In the past there has been much debate on whether non-fiction should be considered for inclusion in the canon, but non-fiction writers being considered part of the canon is not unheard of, and is already a reality — George Orwell, Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemingway- all had a significant body of non-fictional work and are well respected, well established members I think literature American or otherwise serves as a means by which one can examine a society's values, ideas, hopes, fears, and dreams through fiction or oral literature.

The Problem of Literary Canon Formation

Those who have had an impact on their society create something that many people will read of or look upon in different ethnicities, ages, social class, etc; However, does It always have to be an author or an writing documentation to exactly fit in the category of American Literature? Greater emphasis needs to be placed on reading at all levels of education, especially at the secondary and college level. Many authors from the text, The Presence of Others, discuss the importance of what has been labeled the canon.

In this essay I will discuss some of their thoughts and feelings regarding the subject, and will propose a variation of how to change the curriculum. In addition to that, I will examine how I feel the intellectual level of the United States' populace needs expanding Free Essays words 2. One of them was clad all in black and had been traveling quickly on their horses; the narrator believes that he must be a canon an alchemist.

The Canon's Yeoman said that they wished to join the company on their journey, for they had heard of their tales.


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The Host asked if the Canon could tell a tale, and the Yeoman answers that the Canon knows tales of mirth and jollity, and is a man whom anybody would be honored to know Powerful Essays words 2. Moreover, the New Testament canon begins with the apostolic writings, because the apostles were given special help by the Holy Spirit to recall and interpret the sayings and teachings of Jesus John ; Expanding the Literary Canon Essay.