AJ34120 Literary Value and Canonicity

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2022
Extent and Intensity
0/0/0. 15 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
doc. Mgr. Tomáš Kačer, Ph.D. (lecturer)
doc. Michael Matthew Kaylor, PhD. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. Michael Matthew Kaylor, PhD.
Department of English and American Studies – Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies – Faculty of Arts
No prerequisites.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 15 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 9/15, only registered: 1/15
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 11 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
As its title suggests, this course will provide an occasion for students to engage issues of literary value – historical, contemporary, and personal. This engagement will be facilitated by a running comparison between works of established literary value and inferior items such as comic opera, and popular and pulp fiction (Both types will be treated as "case studies"). The questions that will be considered include: What intrinsic qualities establish literary value over time? Beyond extrinsic issues and the demands of the literary marketplace, what establishes a work as canonical? From Aristotle to Harold Bloom, from Horace to Jack Stillinger, this course and its readings will challenge accepted notions as well as foster an appreciation for scholarly traditions.
Learning outcomes
The student will gain a basic understanding of the process of canon formation in English speaking literatures. The successful course participants will be better positioned to engage issues of literary value – historical, contemporary, and personal.
  • Case Studies with which to work during the course: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1600), John Keats’s The Eve of St Agnes (1819), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). Session 1 (21 October, 8 a.m.): All-time Classics of literary taxonomy: Aristotle’s Poetics, Horace’s Ars Poetica, and Longinus’s On the Sublime. The Case Studies and these All-timers should be considered and/or referred to in all seminars. Discussion about seminar aims and relevance of the canon to your material. Session 2 (4 November, 8 a.m.): Values: Read Harold Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence (1973) and The Western Canon (1995). Session 3 (25 November, 8 a.m.): Research Methods: Read Jack Stillinger’s Multiple Authorship and the Myth of the Solitary Genius (1991) and Brian Vickers’s Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels (1994). Session 4 (16 December, 8 a.m.): Credit Conference: During this conference students will give 15-minute papers related to both the issues dealt with in the seminar and the topic of their thesis.
    required literature
  • F. R. Leavis, The Great Tradition (1948) (extracts)
  • Horace, Ars Poetica
  • Tomáš Kulka, Umění a kýč (Kitsch and Art; 1994 and 2002)
  • Harold Bloom, The Western Canon: The Books and Schools of the Ages (New York: Riverhead Books, 1995)
  • Harold Bloom, Anxiety of Influence (1973)
  • Rita Felski, Uses of Literature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008)
  • Brian Vickers, Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels (New Haven: Yale UP, 1993)
  • Benjamin Britten, The Turn of the Screw (opera; 1954)
  • Aristotle, Poetics
  • Linda and Michael Hutcheon, Opera: The Art of Dying (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 2004) (extracts)
  • Philip Davis, Why Victorian Literature Still Matters (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008)
  • Jack Stillinger, Multiple Authorship and the Myth of the Solitary Genius (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991)
  • Harold Bloom, Tanner Lectures on Human Values (1997)
  • Gary Taylor, "C:/wp/file.txt 05:41 10-07-98" (in Andrew Murphy, ed. The Renaissance Text. Manchester UP, 2000: 44–54)
  • Longinus, On the Sublime
  • Valentine Cunningham, Reading after Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002)
  • Gary Taylor, from Moment by Moment by Shakespeare (London: Macmillan, 1985) (extracts)
Teaching methods
Intensive block seminars.
Assessment methods
Marks will be based on the student's preparation for and participation in the seminars, as well as for composing and delivering a conference paper on an approved topic. As is consistent with Doctoral level studies, in terms of the final mark, emphasis will be placed on precision, knowledge base, and originality of thought.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course can also be completed outside the examination period.
The course is taught once in two years.
The course is taught: every other week.
Information on the extent and intensity of the course: Bloková výuka.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2010, Autumn 2012, Autumn 2014, Autumn 2016, Autumn 2018, Autumn 2020, Autumn 2024.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2022, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/autumn2022/AJ34120