Donato Mancini - April 18, 2016


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There is still a great deal of investment, among writers, scholars and readers, in the idea of "canons" of "great books" that cultured persons are supposed to have read.Mancini's talk will introduce his proposal that certain texts, positioned para-canonically (alongside or nearby canons) antagonize the mythologies of literary canons. While functioning as "paracanonic," texts undermine the privileged aesthetic certainty that canons embody. Mancini will first revisit canon debates since the 1960s, to trace the contour of the canon myths these paracanonical texts perturb. Then he will bring forward a number of contrasting paracanonic case-histories, in order to inventory some of the necessary-but-insufficientconditions (including social-historical contexts and textual features) that contribute to a text’s (always temporary) position as paracanonic. Authors discussed will include William Shakespeare, Aime Cesaire, HP Lovecraft, Hart Crane, Walt Whitman and James Joyce.

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