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By Gail Gilliland

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Most of all, I thank my father for his voice. Page 1 1 The Question of Being Minor Over the past few years, scholars have engaged in a lively debate about the previously indisputable literary canonthose works traditionally recognized, primarily by members of college and university literature departments, as being "great," or at least worthy of being taught. That debate has necessarily led to an ongoing theoretical discussion about "minor" literature that ranges on a number of levelsfrom literally hundreds of in-depth articles in academic research journals to the arguments of some American undergraduates who protest the absurdity of having courses called "Great Books,'' most of which come out of a Western tradition, in a society that pretends to pride itself upon its diversity.

12 Bloom's reading of J suggests another criterion for influencethat of the omitted and therefore ultimately subversive text that continues to lie in wait to be discovered over an indefinite period of time (in this case, over centuries). In the wake of this text, everything that has been termed major up to this point must be redefined. But there is another literary theory about the concept of minor literature that may prove to began even more positive influence upon the debate. 13 First, a minor literature is not necessarily that written in a minor language (such as Yiddish or Urdu, spoken by a people considered numerically few) but that which a minority produces within a major language.

34 Thoughts count. This is not to say that the artist is duty-bound to leave everything that he or she produces in a drawer, as Emily Dickinson did, at least as she is rendered in the romantic poetic persona we have come to know. In fact, we have no proof that Dickinson chose not to place her poems. Her letters imply that she would very much have liked to have found a reader with a listening ear but that she despaired of ever finding one. She wrote in a letter to friends, "Perhaps you laugh at me!

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