The Deep Dive Anthology

Introduction & Navigation

Welcome to the Deep Dive Anthology!

The literary canon, determined by a relatively “open-source,” evolving collective consensus, provides wonderful guidance to us about what experts and popular audiences have considered to be the most essential, the most worthwhile—in short, the best—pieces of literature to read and study. However, the canon also hems us in: by placing priority on the “must-reads,” it limits our exposure to the fuller range of literature by an author or during a period. For instance, everyone reads Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and deservedly so, but are there other works in his oeuvre that are worth our attention?

This project, The Deep Dive Anthology, proceeds from the assumption that texts that are not commonly collected or anthologized may still be worthwhile, valuable, or interesting, though not necessarily for the same reasons as the texts that are often anthologized. They may be useful for representing a particular perspective or artistic approach, for instance. Or, they may be beautiful pieces that simply have not received the attention they have deserved, perhaps being overshadowed by more famous or popular works. They may still speak to us today in striking ways, or perhaps they may not so much (thus showing us something different about the interests and values of the past).

The aim of The Deep Dive Anthology project is to build a body of “alternative” literary works and make them available in an accessible, pleasing way. In addition to gathering texts themselves, the anthology will also provide a number of textual aids that many literary anthologies supply to help readers gain a fuller understanding and experience of the text.

This is an ongoing project (started in Fall 2020) compiled by students in my British and American literature survey courses at the University of Northwestern - St. Paul. Please note their individual contributions.


Steven P. Harthorn

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