chapter  2
Crosswriting as a Criterion for Canonicity: The Case of Erich Kästner
Pages 18

It cannot be denied that the interest in canons and canon formation has increased greatly in recent years.1 By canon we typically mean those texts that are said to have an enduring quality by virtue of their universal themes, literary craft, and/or significant meaning. For a canon of literature is a selection of well-known texts, which are considered valuable, are used in education, and serve as a framework of reference for literary critics. A powerful example of the politics of children's literature is found in the exclusionary power of canons. Children's authors were accorded limited critical scrutiny in scholarly communities and excluded from the literary canon. The inclusion or exclusion of an author or group of authors from the canon is the result of a variety of factors. These factors include tradition, the literary knowledge of those who contribute to the canonizing process, the availability of literary works, awareness of the works, and sociocultural forces such as elitism and bias. Indeed, we need to perceive and acknowledge canons as essential components of sociocultural and historical forces. In simpler terms, canons do not appear as a result of spontaneous choice, they are engendered by institutions and by cultural phenomena. Now that the old canon is being questioned, it is necessary to examine under what conditions a canon can change or even be revised, as we cannot live without some sort of canon.2

Because the appearance of deconstructive approaches in literary studies, the canonical works of so-called world literature and of national literatures are under close scrutiny. Reflection on the canon takes the place of the recognized canon insofar as it reflects the controversial ideas of values and literature in modern society. Scholars criticize the fact that the