I was thinking about liberal education and wondering how on earth to hook kids on classics. Obviously, we want all kids to eventually work their way up to A Treatise of Human Nature or the Critique of Pure Reason, but there ARE a lot of very short, tight classics in the cannon, aren't there?
Why can't I find any literary critics that specialize in the thin canon? Searches show up uninspired lists like:
Which have some good stuff (Notes from the Underground) but also genuine stinkers (Achebe? please).
What's the thin canon, /lit/? Pic related, the beginning of modernity right here.
Never heard of this, though there's a bunch of classical writings that could fit in this. The most obvious contenders would be plays, whether by the Greek playwrights, or Shakespeare, but you could also fit most of Plato's dialogues, Xenophon's dialogues, several works by Aristotle, the treatises of Descartes, Locke, and Rousseau, Leibniz's essays, etc. etc.
>Obviously, we want all kids to eventually work their way up to A Treatise of Human Nature or the Critique of Pure Reason
Why not "and," sir?
To get kids into poetry, have them read Yeats, and some lightweight poets like Heaney and Larkin. If this doesn't work, feed them some Eliot and Pound poems. This will work.
For novels I'm not sure.
For philosophy, I think most people want to take part in it, but simply find it intimidating to start, and many people start acting like they're Plato reincarnated. So it's difficult.
Gilgamesh was the first thing that crept to mind.
The Odyssey isn't thin by any means but it's episodic enough to hold a kid's interest and I think it's a pretty ideal starting point.
Not sure how young you mean, but I don't think it's easy to get most kids into philosophy, Locke's treatise, allegory of the cave or your pic related might be good entry points.