Yesterday I had a conversation with an advisee that went something like this (as run through the era/field anonymizer):
Me: And in that course in the fall, we'll be studying Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and George Eliot, among others.
Student: I'm not sure who they are, but I've read Lady Audley's Secret in another course; will we be studying Mary Elizabeth Braddon?
Or, for Americanists:
Me: We'll be reading Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others.
Student: I'm not sure who they are, but I've read Harriet Wilson and Dan DeQuille. Will we read them, too?
Well, the answer would be "yes, we'll be reading them, too" in both scenarios, but it was interesting to see that authors whom scholars regularly designate as "little known" had been taught in classes (sometimes in two or three successive classes) while the "famous" and supposedly canonical authors didn't register a blip on the student's radar.
I consider this progress. Yet I also want students to read it all--the supposedly great and (formerly?) famous as well as the recently rediscovered and newly canonized. But how can you do it all?