A New Canon?

The Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion (pictured here) along with other major British literary figures, such as Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling, has been asked to supply their ten essential literary works that all school-children should read and study.

Motion, the best Poet Laureate of modern times, has provided a canonical list that pulls no intellectual punches, and aims to reverse the brain-numbing dumbing down of so much British media discourse on culture and writing (see Dancing, Morris). The lists, along with The Guardian article, below:


Andrew Motion's list is:

The Odyssey Homer
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
Hamlet William Shakespeare
Paradise Lost John Milton
Lyrical Ballads Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Portrait of a Lady Henry James
Ulysses James Joyce
The Waste Land TS Eliot


It's an impressive, undeniable list. If I'd been asked, mine might have been...

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
Collected Poems Robert Frost
King Lear Shakespeare
The Idiot Dostoyevsky
The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
Prufrock and other poems T.S. Eliot
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
Long Day's Journey Into Night Eugene O'Neill
Collected Poems Emily Dickinson
The Outsider Colin Wilson

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