A canon has been taken as a register of literature for the interested public as well as professional readers during the last twenty years. It is a challenge, therefor, to revive the initial meaning of canon as obligatory reading for the general education of the next generation. The article stars with a brief outline of the major positions of research in the humanities on the issue of literary evaluation and the controversy about normative and descriptive theories. Both they are connected with the key purpose of general education in secondary schools. The great variety of aims provides arguments for choosing works of literature in the light of didactic intensions. Then the article focuses on the description of teaching sequences including decisions for the selection of concrete literary works, e.g. novels by Uwe Timm (2003) and Melinda Nadj Abonji (2010). Conducted in three consecutive steps with altogether eight criteria, such canon decisions become plausible in theory as well as practicable in educational contexts: Literary Evaluation, Didactic Justification and Context Formation. Especially complex literary texts with their inherent thought-images give rise to an unlimited process of interpretation, enabling young readers to widen their knowledge and broaden their competence.