January 23, 2009
Aiming a Canon
"It's snowing like crazy," says Sean Shesgreen. Reached by phone in frigid Illinois, the scholar is in a library carrel, ready to talk about another storm brewing. A murmur is growing about Shesgreen's "Canonizing the Canonizer: A Short History of The Norton Anthology of English Literature," just released in Critical Inquiry (Winter 2009) after a long gestation.
In June 2004, Shesgreen, a professor of English at Northern Illinois University, went to Ithaca, N.Y., to visit M.H. Abrams,