Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Literary Challenge

How about this for a literary challenge? Let's say there are roughly 33 weeks in a school year - and, yes, I am embarrassed to type that - then could we (or our students) create a History of English Literature in 33 texts? Or, if we give ourselves three years and one text a week, a History of English Literature in 99 texts? It's the literary equivalent of A History of the World in 100 Objects.

I'm quite looking forward to constructing a History of English Literature ... in Reverse, starting with the 21st Century and working my way backwards. Each text and accompanying comments about interesting literary features must fit onto an A4 sheet of paper.

I'm also going to give the task to some of my students. It will be good for some of the older ones to think about how literary canons are formed. It will raise all sorts of questions: which authors, which genres, which genders, which religious affiliations, which countries, which languages, which dates? 

Any suggestions gratefully received.

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