Harris Westminster Canon

The Harris Westminster Canon

Coming from the original meaning of ‘canon’, of a measuring line or ruler, the “Western Canon” is the body of books accepted by scholars as being the most influential in shaping western culture. The precise collection of literary works that make up the “classics” is a perennial debate with as many views as there are experts on the subject. The collection of books which constitutes the Wigoder Library is the Harris Westminster Canon

The Harris Westminster Fifty: An Abbreviated Harris Westminster Canon

The Fifty is a selection of books much more modest in its vision. The aim of the Fifty is to provide a relatively short list of books which for some might be a jumping off point for wider explorations in reading. Its aim is to help develop students’ reading habits by challenging them to read more widely and so build their ability to engage with and discuss a variety of books and authors and increase their access to great literature. Some of the titles are well known, some more obscure. We hope that everyone who undertakes to read them will find something new and wonderful as they read.
The works have been chosen to meet three criteria:

  • Worthiness: each one is worth reading both for the depth of content and for the skills of its writing craft
  • Accessibility: each of the books on the list can be read and enjoyed by any Harris Westminster student or member of staff. Some are more taxing than others and some shorter than others but none are the preserve of the particularly literary
  • Capital: each of the books will broaden student’s cultural understanding of significant ideas, genres, themes or character tropes.

The Harris Westminster Fifty can be viewed here