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2010 May 24

In talking with some friends at trivia last week, I started to think about the concept of literature as a kind of “canon.”  The term is bandied about with some frequency in my job (we publish literature anthologies for college students) and basically, it’s this notion that there’s a standard set of authors and works that everyone SHOULD read. Since I wasn’t an English major in college (weird, right?), I do feel like there are several gaping holes in my personal literature “canon.” They include: Hemingway, Chaucer, Tolstoy, Margaret Atwood, Moby Dick, David Foster Wallace, John Updike, Gertrude Stein, Tennesee Williams, Zora Neale Hurston, and Adrienne Rich.

Do you have holes in your reading background? Skeletons in your literary closet, so to speak?

Speaking of closets, I feel like there are holes in my actual closet as well–you know those pieces that every woman MUST HAVE? Chances are, I don’t have it. Classic trench? Don’t have one. Crisp white button-down? Nope. An evening clutch? A nice, high-quality belt? Nude pumps? The list goes on. What are your closet essentials? Are you missing any key items?

Leave your thoughts in the comments (literary or sartorial)–I’d love to hear them!

4 Responses Post a comment
  1. May 25, 2010

    I have a lot of holes. Mostly Brit Lit, because I was allowed to skip it in high school and never made up for it in college. I read one Jane Austen novel and did not love it.

    I’ve also missed out on Faulkner, Vonnegut, some others I can’t think of right now. Oh. And Tolstoy. And James Joyce. Although I’m pretty scared of those two.

  2. May 25, 2010

    I was an English major and am still missing some of “THE GREATS” from the canon. Never read Atwood or Hurston. I never read any Jane Austen or Wuthering Heights, and I disliked Jane Eyre, which I feel labels me an outcast as most women I know adore Austen and the Brontes. Only just read some Tolstoy late last year, and loved it (Russians never let me down). Actually am pretty well caught up on the canon (at least until like 1955), but I admit that I am not a fan of many of the THE GREATS. Don’t like Hemingway, Joyce is a mess, Faulkner can suck it. These are just my opinions. There are also some authors I only got to dabble in during my studies, like Emerson and Thoreau and Whitman, who I want to read more of. I am more sorely lacking in the classics/philosophy canon as opposed to the literary canon. I’ve barely read any philosophers, and I think I should get caught up in that area.

    In my closet, I am missing, currently, a LBD (mine finally bit the dust when the zipper and seam went kaput, but it served me for 4 years and cost SEVEN DOLLARS at TJ Maxx), a belt (I think I’ve worn a belt TWICE in my life), black pumps, white button-downs (cannot find one that fits both my bosoms AND my waist), and a pants suit, but thankfully I’ve managed to avoid needing one. I do thankfully have a closet full of both beautiful and functional coats, and I have more handbags than I can shake a stick at. I would like to get more fitted, beautiful sweaters. I would like to find a pair of shorts that don’t make me look stumpy. I also want a DVF wrap dress, because her prints are amazing. My someday-I-will-own-you item is a pair of Christian Louboutins.

    Maybe we should go on a big-ass shopping trip! :) And start a book club, wherein we wear our new fashions.

  3. Joe permalink
    May 25, 2010

    My closet is missing a zip-up sweater that can be worn with brown shoes.

    I feel like I’m on pace with the canon. Due in large part to skipping most contemporary fiction that’s written in English. No, I could not come up with something more pretentious to say.

  4. June 1, 2010

    Hi, just discovered your blog and very much enjoying reading it!

    I read a lot but I have huge gaps of American authors – I remember a friend from the US looking quite horrified when I said I’d never read any Mark Twain. In fact, the question she responded with was, “Do you – do you not read books, then?”

    And I’m missing a pair of flat, brown leather boots – because whenver I get a pair I wear them in the British rain, and then have no boots left at all.


    Bella x

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