I would worry about being on such a list, because I like to write uncanonical things, things that oppose the general flow of the culture. I would certainly be happy to believe that I could share the same halls or bookcase or something with some of the writers whom I admire so much, but I would feel very insecure about my place there…I”m not sure that I want my books to be patted on the back by lots of scholars in the academy and told, “There, there, these are okay.” …My feelings about things like this are more the sort of thing I have about my children: I would be a little disturbed if everybody loved them.
From a sidebar in “The Next Big Lit-Crit Snit” by Rebecca Mead in New York Magazine (15 Aug. 1994). The article is about the publication of Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon. The sidebar quotes a number of authors who were included and omitted. William H. Gass was included in Bloom’s canon for both his first novel, Omensetter’s Luck, and his follow-up of long short stories, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country. In the New York article, Bloom, says that he was encouraged to make the list by his editor, wavering “I’m not so sure it was a good idea.” He was more forceful in a 2008 interview in Vice, claiming that,
The list was not my idea. It was the idea of the publisher, the editor, and my agents. I fought it. I finally gave up. I hated it. I did it off the top of my head. I left out a lot of things that should be there and I probably put in a couple of things that I now would like to kick out.