Magazine January 27, 2020, Issue

Will the Great Books Endure?

(Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)
The fight is weird, but there is reason for optimism

A few months ago, Brooke Nelson of the Northern State University (South Dakota) class of 2017 became briefly famous among the kind of grab-’em-by-the-Twitter leftists who spend a significant portion of their time scouring the interwebs for new hate objects. Nelson’s crime, like many contemporary offenses, fell into the try-explaining-this-to-your-grandparents category, but the plot is simple enough to those whose ears are properly attuned to wokeness. During her junior year of college, Nelson volunteered to serve on a committee tasked with choosing the book that all NSU freshmen would (pretend to) read. Unaware that her aesthetic judgments must proceed eternally

This article appears as “Dispatch from the Canon Wars” in the January 27, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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