Over the past two decades, the debate over the 'Great Books' has been one of the key public controversies concerning the cultural content of higher education. Debating the Can provides a primary-source overview of these ongoing arguments. Many of these contributions to this debate have achieved 'canical' status themselves; through the focus on the can, the full spectrum of approaches to literary studies can be seen in the essays. Therefore, this collection places the recent debate within a larger context of literary criticism's development of a can, going back to the eighteenth century.
LEE MORRISSEY is Professor of English at Clemson University, USA.