Latest Issue

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

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect