| Western canon ： ウィキペディア英語版|
The term "Western canon" denotes a body of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been traditionally accepted by Western scholars as the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes what are claimed to be the "greatest works of artistic merit". Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the development of high culture. The idea of a Canon has been used to address the question ''What is Art?''; according to this approach, a work is art by comparison to the works in the canon, or conversely, any aesthetic law to be valid should not rule out any of the works included in the canon.〔Leo Tolstoy (1898) (''What is Art?'' ), p.164〕
Some scholars and theorists have criticized the way that canons are formed. Andrew Tripp argues that "art history is, like every discipline, inherently problematic. In its history, it has focused overwhelmingly on so-called "geniuses," a privileged group who form the canon, who "are nearly entirely white and male." For example, American musicologist Marcia Citron argues that the classical music canon, which includes a long list of male composers, excludes women composers because the genres in which they wrote — art song and piano pieces — were not deemed as "serious" as the complex sonata form symphonic works composed by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.
The process of listmaking—defining the boundaries of the canon—is endless. The philosopher John Searle has said, "In my experience there never was, in fact, a fixed 'canon'; there was rather a certain set of tentative judgments about what had importance and quality. Such judgments are always subject to revision, and in fact they were constantly being revised."〔
One of the notable attempts at compiling an authoritative canon in the English-speaking world was the ''Great Books of the Western World'' program. This program, developed in the middle third of the 20th century, grew out of the curriculum at the University of Chicago. University president Robert Maynard Hutchins and his collaborator Mortimer Adler developed a program that offered reading lists, books, and organizational strategies for reading clubs to the general public.
An earlier attempt, the Harvard Classics (1909), was promulgated by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot, whose thesis was the same as Carlyle's:
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