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Literary Value and the Canon

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr Ross Wilson (University of Cambridge) explores the concept of aesthetic and literary judgment, and its role in the formation of the canon. We begin with an overview of the aesthetic judgment, considering Immanuel Kant’s theses of aesthetic judgment. In the second module, we look at the potential problems with this delineation of aesthetic judgment, especially with the difficulty of performing ‘disinterested’ analysis. In the third, we think about the concept of literary value, examining what is meant by the term literature and whether literary criticism can be limited only to aesthetic judgment. In the fourth module, we consider the literary ‘classic,’ considering authors of antiquity and different perspectives on the place of these authors within a wider body of literature. In the fifth module, we investigate the canon and its critiques, starting with the creation of a Biblical canon, and ending with Toni Morrison’s questions on the expansion of the literary canon today. Finally, in the sixth module, we look at contemporary perspectives on the canon, including Bernadine Evaristo and John Guillory’s ideas.

About the Lecturer

Ross Wilson was born in Salford and brought up in north Manchester, where he attended Philips High School and Bury College. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and University College London before completing his doctorate at Cambridge in 2004. He held a Research Fellowship at Emmanuel (2004-7) and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the Faculty of English, Cambridge (2007-9) before being appointed to a lectureship in Literature in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2009. He returned to Cambridge in 2013 as Lecturer in Criticism in the Faculty of English and took up a fellowship at Trinity College. He is editor of Romantic Circles Reviews & Receptions and very occasionally tweets @RossWilso . In 2015-16 he is the Crausaz Wordsworth Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities.