Tag Archives: guillory

Possible nugget?

To avoid reiteration, I’ll simply add the disclaimer that I also think the point of this article is not to choose sides, but rather to tear several arguments apart from their inherent paradoxes. I’d like to add to the discussion a moment where I think I found the sort of answer Guillory is searching for throughout his meticulous working-out of the canonical problem of representation:

“Acknowledging the conditional force of literacy in the history of canon formation would thus disallow us from ever assuming that the field of writing is a kind of plenum, a textual repetition of social diversity, where everyone has access to the means of literary production and works ask only to be judged fairly” (18).

Since most of his ideas as so compounded, it took some extra time to wheedle out the meaning from this moment, but what what struck me the most was the idealistic scenario that emerges in the last part of his sentence. Much of the paradoxes surrounding canonical and noncanonical literature maintain this vision of an ideal space impossible because of the problems surrounding inclusion/exclusion. However, the ideal canon would reflect the ideal social empowerment of all minorities, thus becoming a shared reflection of “social diversity,” and where the canon is not the only type of “literary production” that everyone would share equally. And, finally, it would result in the judgment of subjects/pieces/academic objects “fairly,” as in, not simply as a stand-in for the aspired-but-perpetually-unachieved-political/social-representation-of-minorities.

Guillory Needs To Decide

I found it difficult to asses Guillory’s personal side as he argues both for and against, claiming discrepancies and overlaps, generalizations and specifics, as well as pros and cons of each side. But I have come to consensus that he doesn’t believe either side is correct as there are fundamental problems with both that must addressed before he can truly pick a winner.

As an example, Guillory states problems in regards to syllabi as they are not about inclusion or exclusion, but about our projection of Western culture . “What is excluded from the syllabus is not excluded in the same way that an individual is excluded or marginalized as the member of a social minority” (33). That being said, he also believes syllabi to be the product of anxiety and a fragmented culture which is why they try so hard to unify different works (34). Which brings a bit of confusion on my part as a syllabus that aims to unify works will then be about inclusion or exclusion of certain works -but perhaps then I am misreading.