The Canon Project

This is an attempt to rewrite the (US) American literary canon. For now I'm calling it the Canon Project. I'd like you to help! Look through my list and suggest your own additions!

Works on this list must have the following qualities:

  • Written by folks from or who spent most of their lives on the North American continent (the whole continent, not just the US).

  • Have "stood the test of time." For me that means writing from the 1970s and before. Why? Because 50 years is long enough and they're mostly dead now.

  • Have had an impact on society*
    (* for folks like Zora Neale Hurston who were not discovered in their own time, this is tough! This is the category we can debate. Like: This piece was radical and important and didn't get enough attention but would have rocked the world.

  • Let's have a side category of general We (as US Americans) need to read this even though it's not American.

  • Some pieces that are already in our textbooks can stay! This isn't kicking out great work, it's making space for work that was ignored (probably because the writer wasn't a cishet rich white man)

Rough Draft:

  • Toni Morrison: Beloved + Playing in the Dark

  • Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: Strength to Love

  • Maya Angelou: (poetry/I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)

  • Mark Twain: Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court

  • Stephen Crane: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

  • Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughter-house Five

  • Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man

  • Tim O'Brien: The Things They Carried

  • Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises

  • Norton Juster: The Phantom Tollbooth

  • Thomas King: Green Grass Running Water + The Truth About Stories

  • Lorraine Hansberry: A Raisin in the Sun

  • Langston Hughes (poetry)