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The Making of the English Literary Canon:…

The Making of the English Literary Canon: From the Middle Ages to the Late…

by Trevor Thornton Ross

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It is widely accepted among literary scholars that canon-formation began in the eighteenth century when scholarly editions and critical treatments of older works, designed to educate readers about the national literary heritage, appeared for the first time. In The Making of the English Literary Canon Trevor Ross challenges this assumption, arguing that canon-formation was going on well before the eighteenth century but was based on a very different set of literary and cultural values. Covering a period that extends from the Middle Ages to the institutionalization of literature in the eighteenth century, Ross's comprehensive history traces the evolution of cultural attitudes towards literature in English society, highlighting the diverse interests and assumptions that defined and shaped the literary canon.… (more)

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