Otis Houston at Persuasion explores the new moralism that aims to change what we read and how. Today’s censors from the political left join earlier ones from the right of politics – both are bad for literature and the imaginative freedom it needs:
Does the canon of classics suffer from a lack of diversity? Absolutely. But canons expand with each generation. We don’t simply let old works drop off the back end. And a canon includes books not because they are virtuous, but because they are in complex conversation with one another, or are mighty in their own terms. Writers who broke the canonical color barrier—from W.E.B. Du Bois to Toni Morrison—didn’t do so by tearing up what came before, but by asserting that they too had a place in that long conversation.
Even literary traditionalists like Harold Bloom often had more expansive views than activists like those at #DisruptTexts might give them credit for.