Questions of the Canon

Certain issues that were for centuries determined by a general reading public have now been removed to the universities: the current argument about the canon, for instance. So far as there is a canon of literature, it has been formed by the fact that certain writers have been important to other writers: Spenser to Milton; Milton to Wordsworth, Keats, and Blake; Shelley to Browning, Hardy, and Keats; Dante to Eliot. These relations were verified by readers who paid attention to them. During