You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

English Literature   >   Literary Value and the Canon

Aesthetic Value and Judgement

  • About
  • Transcript
  • Cite

Literary Value and the Canon

In this course, Dr Ross Wilson (University of Cambridge) explores the concept of aesthetic and literary judgment, and its role in the formation of the canon. We begin with an overview of the aesthetic judgment, considering Immanuel Kant’s theses of aesthetic judgment. In the second module, we look at the potential problems with this delineation of aesthetic judgment, especially with the difficulty of performing ‘disinterested’ analysis. In the third, we think about the concept of literary value, examining what is meant by the term literature and whether literary criticism can be limited only to aesthetic judgment. In the fourth module, we consider the literary ‘classic,’ considering authors of antiquity and different perspectives on the place of these authors within a wider body of literature. In the fifth module, we investigate the canon and its critiques, starting with the creation of a Biblical canon, and ending with Toni Morrison’s questions on the expansion of the literary canon today. Finally, in the sixth module, we look at contemporary perspectives on the canon, including Bernadine Evaristo and John Guillory’s ideas.

Aesthetic Value and Judgement

In this module, we look at the concept of aesthetic judgment, focusing on: (i) ‘aesthetics’ as the study of judging beauty in nature and in art, (ii) Immanuel Kant’s The Critique of Judgement (1790), (iii) how Kant outlined aesthetic judgment as being separate from political and moral judgments, aiming to be ‘disinterested’, (iv) his idea that aesthetic judgment should not be submitted to authority, and (v) whether the purpose of art is simply to please.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wilson, R. (2022, December 12). Literary Value and the Canon - Aesthetic Value and Judgement [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wilson, R. "Literary Value and the Canon – Aesthetic Value and Judgement." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Dec 2022,

Image Credits


Dr Ross Wilson

Dr Ross Wilson

University of Cambridge