A report on Western canon

Dante, Homer and Virgil in Raphael's Parnassus fresco (1511), key figures in the Western canon
Detail of Sappho from Raphael's Parnassus (1510–11), shown alongside other poets. In her left hand, she holds a scroll with her name written on it.
Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier) (1910), oil on canvas, 100.3 × 73.6 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York
William Shakespeare
The Great Books of the Western World in 60 volumes
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at Balzac Memorial
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka in 2015.
García Márquez signing a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude in Havana, Cuba
Plato. Luni marble, Roman copy of the portrait made by Silanion ca. 370 BC for the Academia in Athens
Frontispiece of Hobbes's Leviathan
The first volume of Marx's Das Kapital, 1867
Johann Sebastian Bach
Musicians of the late Renaissance/early Baroque era (Gerard van Honthorst, The Concert, 1623)
The Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museums), an Antonine copy of a late Hellenistic sculpture that ultimately derives from Praxiteles.
Blue and Green Music (1921), Georgia O'Keeffe, oil on canvas
A montage of composers, all of whom have notable pieces in the canon of classical music. From left to right:
Top row: Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven
second row: Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi
third row: Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák
bottom row: Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian

Body of high culture literature, music, philosophy, and works of art that is highly valued in the West: works that have achieved the status of classics.

- Western canon
Dante, Homer and Virgil in Raphael's Parnassus fresco (1511), key figures in the Western canon

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Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, an example of a "classic book"

Classic book

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Book accepted as being exemplary or particularly noteworthy.

Book accepted as being exemplary or particularly noteworthy.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, an example of a "classic book"
Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

These books can be published as a collection (such as Great Books of the Western World, Modern Library, or Penguin Classics) or presented as a list, such as Harold Bloom's list of books that constitute the Western canon.

The Great Books (second edition)

Great Books of the Western World

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Series of books originally published in the United States in 1952, by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., to present the great books in a 54-volume set.

Series of books originally published in the United States in 1952, by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., to present the great books in a 54-volume set.

The Great Books (second edition)

The purposes they had in mind were for filling the gaps in their liberal education (notably including Hutchins' own self-confessed gaps) and to render the reader as an intellectually-rounded man or woman familiar with the Great Books of the Western canon and knowledgeable of the Great Ideas visited in the "Great Conversation" over the course of three millennia.

Bloom in 1986

Harold Bloom

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American literary critic and the Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University.

American literary critic and the Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University.

Bloom in 1986
A lion-faced deity associated with Gnosticism. Bloom frequently referred to Gnosticism when speaking about general and personal religious matters.
Photo portrait from the dust jacket of Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism (1982)
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
In The Western Canon, Bloom claimed that Samuel Johnson was "unmatched by any critic in any nation before or after him."

Bloom was a defender of the traditional Western canon at a time when literary departments were focusing on what he derided as the "school of resentment" (multiculturalists, feminists, Marxists, and others).

Cover of the first edition

The Western Canon

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Cover of the first edition
Cover of the first edition

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages is a 1994 book about western literature by the critic Harold Bloom, in which the author defends the concept of the Western canon by discussing 26 mostly English language writers whom he sees as central to the canon.

Volumes 1-10 of The Harvard Classics (Southwark edition)

Harvard Classics

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50-volume series of classic works of world literature, important speeches, and historical documents compiled and edited by Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot.

50-volume series of classic works of world literature, important speeches, and historical documents compiled and edited by Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot.

Volumes 1-10 of The Harvard Classics (Southwark edition)
Example advertisement for The Harvard Classics showing mail-in coupon, p.2, Collier's, November 19, 1910
Eliot's letter describing the selection process in a letter to the editor, p.7, Collier's, July 24, 1909
Testimony from Robert J. Collier and John F. Oltroggege, NY Supreme Court, Oct 21, 1910 (Appelate Division-First Department), in Collier V Jones, ps. 39, 45, 60
advertisement in 1910 of the Renaissance edition of The Harvard Classics, Collier's, December 3, 1910
advertisement in 1918 of the (new) Cambridge edition of The Harvard Classics, Collier's, November 30, 1918 (printed in slight variations for many years in both hardboard and fabrikoid bindings)

The Everyman's Library is a series of reprints of classic literature, primarily from the Western canon.

In La Réforme intellectuelle et morale (1871), the Orientalist Ernest Renan advocated imperial stewardship for civilising the non–Western peoples of the world.

Postcolonial literature

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Literature by people from formerly colonized countries.

Literature by people from formerly colonized countries.

In La Réforme intellectuelle et morale (1871), the Orientalist Ernest Renan advocated imperial stewardship for civilising the non–Western peoples of the world.
Witi Ihimaera, from New Zealand, the first published Māori novelist
Colonialism in 1913: the African colonies of the European empires; and the postcolonial, contemporary political boundaries of the decolonized countries
Wole Soyinka, Nigerian playwright and poet and Nobel laureate in 1986
Apartheid sign in English and Afrikaans
Actress Pauline Henriques and writer Samuel Selvon reading a story on BBC's Caribbean Voices 1952
Indian born, American writer Bharati Mukherjee
Leading Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz
Birth of the Irish Republic"´ by Walter Paget, depicting the Dublin General Post Office being shelled during the Easter Uprising of 1916

They advocated for its inclusion in literary curricula, hitherto dominated by the British canon.

Miniature of Noah's Ark landing on the Mountains of Ararat (fol. 521a), from the 13th century North French Hebrew Miscellany

Miscellany

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Collection of various pieces of writing by different authors.

Collection of various pieces of writing by different authors.

Miniature of Noah's Ark landing on the Mountains of Ararat (fol. 521a), from the 13th century North French Hebrew Miscellany
A patterned page from the Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608
"My hope is yow for to obtaine". A love poem in a distinctive hand from The Devonshire Manuscript, 57r.
A drawing illustrating the medieval poem "Reinbroun" from the Auchinleck Manuscript.
Frontispiece and title page to The Merry Thought: or, The Glass-Window and Bog-house Miscellany, which claimed to include "the Lucubrations of the Polite Part of the World, written upon walls, in Bog-Houses" such as the one at left of the tavern shown
Some miscellanies were even aimed at children, as A Little Pretty Pocket-Book (1744) demonstrates. It consists of rhymes and morals for each letter of the alphabet.
The famous opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities in the periodical All the Year Round
Title page of Alexander Chalmers' Works of the English Poets, volume 18.
The title page and distinctive ornament of Percy's Reliques.
At the other extreme, a sexually objectifying poem from The Fugitive Miscellany playing euphemistically on a ladies' fashion accessory, the "muff".

In contrast to anthologies, whose aim is to give a selective and canonical view of literature, miscellanies were produced for the entertainment of a contemporary audience and so instead emphasise collectiveness and popularity.

Nineteenth-century composer and pianist Clara Schumann

List of women composers by birth date

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Nineteenth-century composer and pianist Clara Schumann
Illumination from Hildegard's Scivias (1151) showing her receiving a vision and dictating to teacher Volmar
Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia
Portrait of Nora Holt by Carl Van Vechten

Women composers of Western classical music are disproportionately absent from music textbooks and concert programs that constitute the Western canon, even though many women have composed music.

Everyman's Library

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Endpapers of the original 1906 run of the Everyman's Library. The art signed "RLK" is heavily based on that of William Morris and his Kelmscott Press, whereas the quotation is derived from the medieval play Everyman
Lais of Marie de France and others, translated by Eugene Mason, 1911
(click on thumbnail to view the image in its original size) Different incarnations of Everyman's Library throughout history. Left to right: the original J. M. Dent hardback with its distinctive yellow dust jacket, an early example of an Everyman Paperback also published by Dent from the 1960s, the present design of Everyman paperbacks published by Dent since the 1990s, an example of the initial 'plain' hardback Everyman volume published by David Campbell, an updated version of Campbell's Everyman hardbacks with a striated front cover and orange spine with black band.

Everyman's Library is a series of reprints of classic literature, primarily from the Western canon.

A string quartet performing for the Mozart Year 2006 in Vienna

Classical music

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Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world, considered to be distinct from Western folk music or popular music traditions.

Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world, considered to be distinct from Western folk music or popular music traditions.

A string quartet performing for the Mozart Year 2006 in Vienna
Musician playing the vielle (fourteenth-century Medieval manuscript)
An illuminated opening from the Chigi codex featuring the Kyrie of Ockeghem's Missa Ecce ancilla Domini
Baroque instruments including hurdy-gurdy, harpsichord, bass viol, lute, violin, and baroque guitar
Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) portrayed by Thomas Hardy (1791)
Josef Danhauser's 1840 painting of Franz Liszt at the piano surrounded by (from left to right) Alexandre Dumas, Hector Berlioz, George Sand, Niccolò Paganini, Gioachino Rossini, Marie d'Agoult with a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven on the piano.
Igor Stravinsky, by Pablo Picasso, collaborators on Pulcinella (1920)
Youth orchestra in performance
Martha Argerich at the Kirchner Cultural Centre, Buenos Aires
With the advent of radio broadcasting and record shop, live classical music performances have been compiled into compilation CDs. (WQXR for Tower Records, 1986)

Almost all of the composers who are described in music textbooks on classical music and whose works are widely performed as part of the standard concert repertoire are male composers, even though there has been a large number of women composers throughout the classical music period.