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Reading Old BooksWriting with Traditions$
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Peter Mack

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691194004

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691194004.001.0001

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Writers’ and Readers’ Traditions

Writers’ and Readers’ Traditions

(p.195) Conclusion Writers’ and Readers’ Traditions
Reading Old Books

Peter Mack

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter reflects on the various ways in which authors have used their reading of previous writers. The examples discussed in the previous chapters show both that great original work often involves heavy reliance on previous authors and traditions and that this reliance has different aspects and forms. From here, the chapter turns to two issues: canon and nationalism. It considers what this study of literary traditions has suggested about what students should be expected to read as part of their literary education. The chapter suggests the use of the distinction between readers' and writers' traditions, which has emerged from these studies to address the question of the literary canon. It also considers how we define the literary traditions which writers can benefit from studying, and what would be a good canon of reading for someone who wants to write.

Keywords:   writing traditions, reading traditions, canon, nationalism, literary education, literary traditions, literary canon

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