The Canon

King's College London

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Canon

  • Host University

    King's College London

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study

    Literature, Literatures in English

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • UK Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    In this module students will interrogate the historical, social, cultural, material, and economic parameters that have come to shape the canon. Beginning with a theoretical overview of the constructions of the canon, the module will follow a broadly historical chronology, and will consider established definitions of the canon, as well as key debates and excerpts from key texts which counter these definitions.. Central to the module will be the following questions: what are the advantages and disadvantages of the canon as an organisational principle? How has it developed? In what way does it aid or hinder our reading of literary texts included or excluded from it? In what ways does the canon satisfy the different or even divergent interests of authors, publishers and readers? To what extent is it defined by historical circumstances and political stances? Is a redefined canon possible or desirable, especially in an age of global literature? The Canon is designed to complement the three level 5 core modules offered by Comparative Literature which have a similar cross-period and theoretical focus, and which require students to consider the culture of books and their production, alongside their historical reception and critical interpretation.
    Suggestions for preliminary reading:
    Harold Bloom, The Western Canon
    Sainte-Beuve, 'What is a classic?'

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

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Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.