By Gerald Graff
Extensively thought of the traditional background of the occupation of literary stories, Professing Literature reveals the long-forgotten rules and debates that created the literature division as we all know it this present day. In a readable and often-amusing narrative, Gerald Graff indicates that the heated conflicts of our fresh tradition wars echo—and frequently recycle—controversies over how literature could be taught that started greater than a century ago.
Updated with a brand new preface by way of the writer that addresses some of the provocative arguments raised by way of its preliminary book, Professing Literature is still a necessary background of literary pedagogy and a serious classic.
“Graff’s historical past. . . is a pathbreaking research exhibiting how our associations form literary notion and providing how they may be changed.”— The Norton Anthology of conception and Criticism
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Additional resources for Professing Literature: An Institutional History (20th Anniversary Edition)
The idea that works of literature could be profitably treated “as literature” was familiar enough in America by the 1840s, when Poe was attacking “the heresy of the didactic” and urging the aesthetic doctrines of Continental romanticism. But this idea had little effect on school or college teaching until the formation of the departmentalized modern university in the last decades of the century. ” This meant there was nothing wrong with treating literature in an instrumental way-as an illustration of grammar, rhetoric, elocution, and civic and religious ideals.
It was described by Francis A. ” “Attention was drawn to etymologies illustrative of English, and to forms of syntax characteristic of scholarly English; quotable expressions were committed to memory. ” Fred Lewis Pattee, who went through the classical course at the New Hampton Institute in the early ISSOS, recalled that sweating over Homer, Virgil, and Xenophon, he “had no suspicion that they were great literature, works of supreme art and beauty. From first to last, even into college days, they were simply conglomerations of ablative absolutes, vocatives, gerunds and gerundives, caesura1 pauses, conjugations and inflections, maddening irregular verbs.
Many of the old issues reappeared under a realignment of the parties that has now set scholars and critics on the same side in opposition to theorists. Among these issues are the nature of literature (or whether it has a nature), the nature of literary Introduction: The Humanist Myth 15 interpretation and evaluation, the relation between the “intrinsic” domain of literature and the “ e x t r i n ~ i cones ~ ~ of history, society, philosophy, and psychology, and above all, the issue of whether or in what way literature should be historicized and assimilated to social and political contexts.
Professing Literature: An Institutional History (20th Anniversary Edition) by Gerald Graff