Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (4):67-78 (2011)
Among the casualties of the rush to relativism is a central tenet of classical thought: that great works of literature are great in and of themselves and not because of the needs and values of their time. This “canon-based view,” supply taken for granted by Johnson, Arnold, Pope, and Eliot, has long since been shown the door by views ranging from Marxism to today’s cultural studies. These views hold that the great works become great because of the values and concerns of their own times, and they remain effectual, if they do, because of the ways they speak to their times’ concerns. There are no transhistorical values and concerns, though of course there is a past to culture and its works continue their indirect ..
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