In defending Beckett from a bitchy put-down, Patrick Kurp of Anecdotal Evidence states:
Had Beckett read only Dante, Milton, Swift and Johnson (odd that Donoghue does not include Shakespeare and Joyce), and read them deeply and across a lifetime, he would qualify as “immensely learned.” Of course, Beckett didn’t stop there. Few writers have woven their learning so inextricably into the texture of their work.
I am struck by the romance of being “immensely learned” from reading narrowly but deeply. How many authors, I wonder, would fit into this ultra-narrow literary canon if one was restricted to four or five choices?
Are there a handful of living authors, four or five, that one could read deeply over a lifetime and be considered learned?