Is Morrissey A Classic?

The Awl on Morrissey’s autobiography

The literary canon is a largely imaginary list. (Also an expected one. When Encyclopedia Britannica rebooted its “Great Books of the Western World” series in 1990, it added zero works by people of color and works by only four women to its canon.) And while “classic” may be a nebulous term, in a published classics series, we have a set of material artifacts, thousands of them, all uniformly dressed—”in the familiar black livery” as Tonkin described it—all standing neatly in a row. Tonkin said he believed “that black jacket will still lend” the Autobiography “an unearned aura.” Is it that he just hasn’t earned it yet, baby? Or do we truly believe putting a Penguin on the cover of a book instantaneously confers status upon it?