Salons at Stowe | The Great American Novel: Says Who???

May 22, 2024

Recently, The Atlantic magazine published their list of the “great American novels” of the last 100 years. In the introduction to the list, the editors pose that “the American canon is more capacious, more fluid, and more fragile than perhaps ever before. But what, exactly, is in it?”

In order to decide what to include on such as list, we must first decide on what being American is, certainly a “capacious and fluid” idea to begin with. Then, how do we decide on what books represent America? Are they the books that wielded the greatest influence? Books that show us who we are, or what we wish to be? Who should be included in the American canon and, by extension, America?  And of course, who gets to decide?

In this Salons at Stowe, we will explore this list and the questions it raises. We will also consider how these types of lists have changed over time or based on who develops the list. And of course, we’ll debate what the Atlantic list got right and wrong! Join us for a lively discussion about our favorite books, the books we revere and revile, and how we identify the Great American Novels.

The Atlantic: The Great American Novels

(subscription needed)

Location Stowe Center, Day House
Doors Open 5:45 pm
Program 6:00 - 7:00 pm