¿Quién necesita un canon literario?
Jean Hannah, en el blog de The Guardian, cita unas declaraciones de sir Jonathan Sacks en las que lamenta que el Canon Literario británico se haya quebrado y nadie lo toma en cuenta por culpa de las nuevas tecnologías, lo que conlleva a la desintegración de la identidad nacional. Pero para Hannah eso no es necesariamente una mala noticia. Interesantísima discusión que podría ser importada al Perú (y a Latinoamérica... la propondré para el Bogotá39 en Cartagena de Indias): ¿Necesitamos un canon literario?
Dice el post: "Multiculturalism, according to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, is done. And he claims the British literary canon, along with a cohesive British national identity, is a regrettable casualty of a movement that was intended to give everyone an opportunity to feel at home but which has ended up giving no one an incentive to assimilate. In an excerpt from his new book, The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society, published in the Times, Sacks laments the decline of the British literary canon as a result of the current revolution in information technology: "With the new technologies," he writes, "the idea of an autonomous national culture disintegrates. Until recently, national cultures were predicated on the idea of a canon, a set of texts that everyone knew. In the case of Britain they included the Bible, Shakespeare and the great novels. The existence of a canon is essential to a culture. It means that people share a set of references and resonances, a public vocabulary of narratives and discourse. Until the early 1950s a politician could quote the Bible and expect people to know what he was alluding to. No longer."
Yes: in the last 60 years the ease with which the common man could quote Bible passages at will has certainly been drastically reduced. But is this necessarily evidence of a fraying national culture? The assumption that this set of texts was universally known in Britain is itself fallible: while these texts were undoubtedly familiar to anyone with a solid middle-class education, their accessibility, with the exception of the Bible, to those outside the echelons of the well-educated was limited. Arguable, then, that the national culture that was established on the back of this canonical literature did not necessarily emerge from the collective imaginings of the British community as a whole but rather from that of a relatively small, privileged group. And yes: contemporary technology has resulted in the publication of a great deal of rubbish, a great deal of narrow-mindedness, and a great deal of material that can be very divisive. There certainly are instances in which, as Sacks writes, ostensibly new tolerance has proved to be more detrimental that the old version - in the idealised canonical age, no doubt, authors did need to actually write their books to become bestsellers. The immensity of choice means that worthwhile voices may be drowned out by louder, less worthy ones."