A Persian Cafe, Edward Lord Weeks

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Towards a Realistic Cultural Canon

There are various lists of literary works that everyone ought to know. For obvious reasons these lists tend to be written by people who are themselves literary scholars. This is could because it allows them to be more comprehensive and to choose from a wider range of works, but it leads to lists that are utterly unrealistic for anyone who either has little spare time or who wants to be well-informed about other aspects of culture.

To this end, I think that there need to be some more limited lists which cut across different cultural mediums, combined with stretcher lists that allow people to focus solely on what interests them. The point is that I want there to be a basic list where you can consume everything on that list, remember large portions of that, and have this be sufficient to be considered cultured.

My thoughts are that a basic list might include works of literature, music, visual art, some films, and whatever else is considered vital. I'd be aiming to have the combined basic lists clock in at somewhere between 500 and 1000 hours when combined, so that given a modest investment of perhaps five hours per week one can finish the list in five years or so.

No comments:

Post a Comment