Douthat vs Berube

A fun flap. Here's Ross's post on the canon Wars. Super-lefty Michael Berube rouses himself from blogscurity for a good splutter:

Honestly, I am so very, very weary of people who pretend that the field of literature consists of a reading listone reading list. For every writer added, another is dropped? Ah, no. That’s what the National Association of Surlycurmudgeons will try to tell you, because that’s their job: they don’t punch out and go home until they’ve written or said something to the effect of “Toni Morrison is displacing Shakespeare because of affirmative action racegenderclass OH NOES,” but there’s no reason for a smart person like Rachel Donadio, whose work I like, to fall for this tripe. In reality, for every writer added, a writer is added to the field of literary studyperhaps to a freshman-level survey; perhaps to a lower-division undergraduate course; perhaps to an upper-division course on a literary genre or period; perhaps to an undergraduate honors seminar; perhaps to a graduate seminarand those are just the basic possibilities for teaching assignments.

I'm with Ross. Of course, emphasis on some new writers takes up the time and space for the old ones. Students only have so much time; and the bulk now have choices other than the classic canon.