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According to chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, our shared cultural inheritance—“predicated on the idea of a canon, a set of texts that everyone knew”—is being destroyed by multiculturalism and tecnology. In his essay this month, Richard Jenkyns questions the need for a strictly defined canon—where “the great books form a clearly determinate class.” Society does need shared references, he argues, but these need not be high cultural: “In their time, Morecambe and Wise did more than Milton and Wordsworth to make us feel one as people.” Disaffected young Asians are hardly going to feel more “British” after being force-fed Hamlet, Middlemarch

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