f_0020463_17225

f_0020463_17225 - UPFR NT THE BIG QUESTION: Is There a...

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© 2010 World Policy Institute 3 JONAS HASSEN KHEMIRI: REGIONAL WRITING When I attended school, the classics con- sisted of 100 great books subsidized by the Swedish government. Unfortunately, almost all of them were written by dead white men—and there was a slight prob- lem of representation—none from Austra- lia, or Asia, or Africa, or the Middle East. In response, the reference group that I am currently a member of has been asked by the Swedish government to add 50 new titles to create an updated canon of 150 books that will be subsidized in schools and hopefully read and spread throughout Sweden. Even in the home of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this has been contro- versial, with some conservatives fearing Is There a Global Canon? THE BIG QUESTION: UPFR NT Good poets borrow; great poets steal. —T.S. Eliot I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors-and-paste man. —James Joyce All art is theft. —Pablo Picasso Our world is increasingly interconnected, and artistic theft has never been easier. There were lines once, rooted in Europe, that delineated and informed the creation of a canon of great works. Those lines are now blurred, or have disappeared altogether. Artists collaborate across countries and continents, inspiring their brethren, prompting further acts of thievery. Art, literature and music live in a world without borders, where national identities can mean everything or nothing. These recent, ongoing developments have called into question the very notion, and relevance, of a Western Canon. Is a Global Canon emerging? A panel of experts, assembled by World Policy Journal, weighs in.  
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WORLD POLICY JOURNAL • FALL 2010 4 we’d delete Strindberg and Ibsen from the Canon (the horror!). In actuality, though, we are just adding books, and the best part is that we are able to offer schools wonderful works by writers like Chinua Achebe, Juan Rulfo, Forough Farrokzhad, Janet Frame and Naguib Mahfouz. But at the same time we continu- ally need to question what makes a novel African or Japanese or Brazilian. How many geishas or cherry blossoms to call a novel Japanese? How many stereotypes for our geographical aspirations to be fulfilled? We must focus on the best texts. We included Yukio Mishima’s “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea,” not because of its “Jap- anese-ness,” but because it is a wonderfully- composed novel that should continue to find new readers and influence them in new ways in the future. And that’s exactly what the Global Canon should do. No matter when or where each component was written. Jonas Hassen Khemiri is an award-winning Swedish playwright and novelist. KAYHAN IRANI: A TRANSFORMING CANON There has always been a Global Canon of artists, although the established Western Canon does not recognize their names. More often than not, notions of worthy or
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0020463_17225 - UPFR NT THE BIG QUESTION: Is There a...

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