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Selection criteria

When choosing the works, it is unsurprising that various criteria came into play simultaneously.

Literary aesthetic worth was decisive for the list as a whole. However, a univocal definition or description of what literature is does not exist. Not only do such judgements change in the course of history but also, they are dependent at any moment in history on the reader’s attitude to literature. And this view of literature is in turn predicated upon many factors, such as social environment, education, age, gender, etc.

We have attempted to not let our judgement be influenced by fashion or personal preferences but on the contrary to record the consensus that has grown around a literary work over the years or even centuries. Some of the works seem to have been canonised by history itself and have therefore acquired an iconic status. This was reason enough to give them a place on this list. Nevertheless, the question as to the relevance of a text to modern readers also had to be considered.

Readability, also to be understood as usability in the education system, was, therefore, in competition more than once with our conviction that the function of a canon is to preserve literary heritage and combat cultural amnesia.  

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