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Professing Literature: An Institutional History


reviewed by William J. Spurlin - 1988

coverTitle: Professing Literature: An Institutional History
Author(s): Gerald Graff
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Chicago
ISBN: 0226306046, Pages: , Year: 1989
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To compromise institutionally or to conflict intellectually: whether ‘tis nobler in practice to remain comfortably immersed in our own specializations and research interests, or to openly hurl our scholarly slings and arrows across the polemically impoverished curricular terrain of English studies—that is the main burden of Gerald Graffs new book, Professing Literature. Graff begins by examining the classical college of the mid-nineteenth century, where the study of English literary texts was subordinated to the disciplines of English grammar, rhetoric, and elocution. He then proceeds to the Early Professional Era (1875-1915), when English achieved full departmental status in the modern university. Following the Johns Hopkins model, the new professionals directed their energies toward scientific inquiry and methodological rigor, evident in philological studies of the English language, or in historical literary scholarship. The next two sections trace the rise of criticism as an alternative to the research model, and the forging of an uneasy... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 90 Number 2, 1988, p. 313-316
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 498, Date Accessed: 8/24/2019 8:06:39 AM

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