The papers in this book respond to the public debate over literary canons, in the United States, and elsewhere, by placing the political-ideological aspects of the conflict inside perspectives derived from comparative literature. Canons are seen by most of the contributors as based on democratic and communal intentions or choices inevitable filtered through and colored by historical experiences and social biases.An examination of the canonical process over many centuries reveals both the impressive durability of its elements and the amazing flexibility of its outlines. The careful individual analyses, as well as the thought-provoking general contributions in this volume agree that the democracy of play is one of the strongest bonds uniting the human race. “Canons or canons”, the contributors argue, are based on it and reflect the intimate interdependence of cultural and intellectual matters with the workings of society as a whole. Contributors Charles Altieri, Lilian R. Furst, Michael G. Cooke, Robert Royal, Roger Shattuck, Rosa E.M.D. Penna, Glen M. Johnson, Yves Chevrel, Raymond A. Prier, Peter Walker, Christopher Clausen, Virgil Nemoianu.