Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Future Canon

Which novels—and novelists—from the past several years will be taught in 50 years’ time?


sra said...

The obvious guesses from among Indian writers would be Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Rushdie, Kiran Desai, Rohinton Mistry if they aren't already being prescribed.
As for genres, today's popular fiction might be tomorrow's literature course - who knows, Sidney Sheldon and the like may make it to the textbooks as could Mills & Boon! Look at Jane Austen - Pride & Prejudice is literature today but it's also a great entertainer

mandar talvekar said...

Hi Sra,
The Indian writers that you have listed are already prescribed in the syllabi of most Indian Universities, with the exception of Kiran Desai. I expect with her Booker she too might join the "canon." There's also Shashi Tharoor, Kiran Nagarkar and Amitav Ghosh who have already made it into the curricula of various Eng. Lit. classes. But these are what you label as "literary" authors. What I would like to see is if writers like Samit Basu (I think his Gameworld trilogy would be awesome to study in a lit class), or writers of the new "popcorn lit" like Chetan Bhagat would also make it to the canon some day.
When it comes to genres -- popular fiction is already a course much in favor with both academics and students -- though not much in India esp with the academics. Most universities abroad and now some book stores here are increasingly diffrentiating between literary fiction and pop fiction. The good thing about it is both are studied in colleges and universities. I would however like Indian universities to be a bit more adventurous and try doing courses in pop lit, SF, fantasy, children's fiction, crime and detective fiction and other genres.