From: Katherine D. Harris
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 6:23 PM
To: Class List
Subject: Our Anthology

August 30, 2005
Hi Everyone,
The 3 questions turned in by most everyone were quite intriguing.  Many of you asked about canon formation:  Who should we read in Romanticism?  Is defining the period by history limiting? Does defining it by a traditional "Romantic" criteria exclude important figures? What is the critical tradition against which Mellor & Matlack are arguing in the General Introduction?
To give you an idea of the scholarly, pedagogical and historical forces that Mellor & Matlack denounce, take a look at the attached PDF.  It comes from Harold Bloom's widely-acclaimed The Western Canon.  Bloom states that the Western world's literary canon is centered around Shakespeare.  He denounces any texts that are based in identity politics (race, culture, religion or gender), declaring that they do not live up to the aesthetic quality required of anything in "The Canon."  For the Romantic Era, he includes limited works from Robert Burns, Blake, Wordsworth, Scott, Austen, Coleridge, Dorothy Wordsworth (amazingly enough), Hazlitt, Byron, Landor, De Quincey, Lamb, Edgeworth, Hogg, Charles Maturin PB Shelley, MW Shelley, John Clare, Keats, Thomas Hood and Thomas Wade (moving onto the Victorians from there). 
Some of these authors are not standard to Romantic-era anthologies, but they qualify based on a particularly lofty aesthetic.  The list clearly contains the "greatest hits" with very few women and absolutely only WASP/C.  The only remotely swarthy author is Lord Byron (you'll see his pictures later). 
This is a brief aside, but interesting nonetheless.  I'll attach this email & the accompanying Bloom list to our Schedule on the Course Website -- a place where you'll find a few of the references and asides (at least once it's finished). 
Good reading,
Dr. Katherine D. Harris
Assistant Professor
Dept. of English & Comp. Lit.
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192
Phone: 408.924.4425