To what extent does the approved canon of American literature no longer work?
This question has run through my head several times while putting together brackets for the All-Time American Writer Tournament. How far does one go in respecting the past—or not even the past, but writers of the past approved by literary mandarins now?
John Updike is an example of what I’m talking about. Updike is considered a major literary figure of the last fifty years of our literature—considered so by those who control literature. But these refined persons represent in fact a sliver of the American public. Updike’s world was a narrow world. He never connected with the true mainstream of American culture.
Who in fact are the American writers of past and present that we should be honoring?