I found this piece over at the Guardian to be very interesting. In it, Robert McCrum considers the sometimes touchy yet seemingly ubiquitous concept of the “number one writer.” McCrum makes an undeniable point—that devising a list whereby there is always a top dog is part of the human condition. I find it interesting that the prevailing notion still tends toward nailing down a singular individual who encompasses the talent, finesse, and self-awareness to be considered top dog. To be perfectly honest, I have a hard time wrapping my head around it; this kind of thing may have been possible, and certainly more feasible, in times past. But these days, the range of literary material out there in the market is so expansive that it seems entirely impossible to make such a definitive and exclusionary selection.
But maybe I’m wrong, and maybe in one hundred years people like Toni Morrison and Jonathan Franzen will replace Charles Dickens and C. S. Lewis in the textbooks.