Re: poly: canonical texts

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Tue Jun 15 1999 - 09:17:37 PDT

At 12:13 AM 6/15/99 -0700, Michael Nielsen wrote:
>> ... a user types in some keywords, and gets a sorted list of
>> related course names, paired with textbook titles. Textbook
>> titles are linked directly to a web bookstore where you can buy them,
>> and priority on the list might be given to "top" schools.
>I've been considering some parallel ideas for a website, along a slightly
>different track.
>Harold Bloom's book "The Western Canon" inspired a lot of thoughts about
>how such a site should be structured. ...
>Bloom's work succeeds in part because of its global nature; he
>examines the works of not one but many many writers in
>considerable depth, ...
>I'd certainly love to use an integrated website with competent and
>in-depth reviews referencing related material, telling potential readers
>what preparatory material they need, what related subjects may be of
>interest, and how the book compares with other books of a similar nature.
>Finally, one last comment: the site should be _small_. ... A
>site claiming to be canonical should contain, in my opinion, no more
>material than could be absorbed by a curious individual over their

The site you have in mind sounds interesting as well, but I see a lot
more uncertainty about whether any one attempt to produce it would
succeed. The site I proposed seems pretty much a sure thing in terms
of our ability to produce it, though of course whether it would attract
enough customers to pay its way is not clear.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar FAX: 510-643-8614
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 510-643-1884
after 8/99: Assist. Prof. Economics, George Mason Univ.
Received on Tue Jun 15 09:28:02 1999

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