According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a canon is
a. Literary Criticism. A body of literary works traditionally regarded as the most important, significant, and worthy of study; those works of esp. Western literature considered to be established as being of the highest quality and most enduring value; the classics (now frequently in the canon). Also (usually with qualifying word): such a body of literature in a particular language, or from a particular culture, period, genre, etc.
b. In extended use (esp. with reference to art or music): a body of works, etc., considered to be established as the most important or significant in a particular field. Frequently with qualifying word.
Does romance have one? Has your sense of what belongs in this possible canon changed over time? If you had to pick ten books that you would say belong in the romance canon, what would they be? Or would you pick–which is easier!–ten authors? Who would they be?
My canon of ten books–it could change tomorrow-would be:
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Glitterland by Alexis Hall
The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss
50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James
Indigo by Beverley Jenkins
Naked in Death by J. D. Robb
My current list of ten authors would be:
Nora Roberts, Beverly Jenkins, Alexis Hall, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Julia Quinn, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, Nalini Singh, and Alyssa Cole.