Yes, I know you’re busy and don’t have time to read, and this list is so hoity-toity you could puke, but please bear with me.
We are enduring a long-term warn against Western culture and values. Universities are throwing out rigorous curricula for victimology “studies” while making sure any dissenting views are not merely discouraged but downright expelled. Not even the long-gone Puritans are safe.
And the sad thing is that those who value Western culture are frequently unfamiliar with it.
Enter the Western canon: A list of the world’s literary tradition since antiquity, divided in four eras,
A. The Theocratic Age: 2000 BCE-1321 CE
B. The Aristocratic Age: 1321-1832
C. The Democratic Age: 1832-1900
D. The Chaotic Age: 20th Century
That’s four thousand years of literature.
The list itself has an interesting history, and it came about from the publishers of Harold Bloom’s book The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. Bloom’s book presents his (emphasis added),
arguments for a unifying written culture, it argues brilliantly against the politicization of literature and presents a guide to the great works of the western literary tradition and essential writers of the ages
That is, Bloom was arguing against the politicization of literature in 1994, twenty three years ago. As Wikipedia correctly describes,
Bloom argues against what he calls the “School of Resentment“, which includes feminist literary criticism, Marxist literary criticism, Lacanians, New Historicism, Deconstructionists, and semioticians.
In practical terms, reading literature has now become a form of guerrilla warfare against Marxists, deconstructionists and their destructive pals.
So where to start?
You may have read a few already without realizing it, such as the Bible, which the Vatican recently removed from its website, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which is part of his Christmas Stories, or Orwell’s 1984. So browse through the list and pick one you haven’t read. Many of the books are available for free in Kindle editions.
Once you do, commit fifteen minutes a day to reading it. If you are able to listen while you commute, most of the titles are available in audiobooks for free at your local public library.
(A caution: Watch the movie, read the book doesn’t always work. Beowulf was a disaster.)
If you prefer to build up your list, start with short books.
You can’t win a war if you don’t understand what you’re fighting for. I suggest you start with reading from the Western canon to focus your understanding.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog