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Does Literary Studies Have Future by Eugene…

Does Literary Studies Have Future

by Eugene Goodheart

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0299166546, Paperback)

"I'm usually not given to hyperbolic enthusiasm, but I've read Eugene Goodheart's book with mounting pleasure and admiration. It is cogently argued, theoretically well-informed, clearly and beautifully written, enviably concise, and extraordinarily balanced and fair to friend and foe alike." -Morris Dickstein, City University of New York

"A statement of broad significance, a beacon, in fact, lighting up the confusions of cultural controversy today and bringing into view the path ahead for literary criticism." -Millicent Bell, Boston University

As we approach the end of a millennium, the battle for the fate of literary scholarship has taken on near apocalyptic overtones, with more than a few predictions of the imminent end of literary studies as we know it. Taking aim at culture warriors on the left and the right, Goodheart provides a succinct and timely assessment of the current state and future of literary studies in the United States. In Goodheart's view, the opposition between tradition (the cause of the right) and innovation (the cause of the left) is essentially false: tradition is an interactive history between the given and the innovative, not an inert set of values or a stable canon of approved texts.

Does Literary Studies Have a Future? challenges the view that literary classics must be relevant to our immediate concerns: rather than providing easy recognition of what we already know, the classic startles the unfamiliar in us. Goodheart pays particular attention to David Denby's recent "experiment" with the Great Books. He also addresses the question of objectivity in humanistic study-the vexed relations between sthetics and ideology. Finally, he dissects the academy's current love affair with popular culture. None of the other writings on the culture wars has so successfully reconciled the traditions of sthetic and moral criticism and the new ideological and sociological ways of reading criticism.

Exploring the current state and future of literary studiens in the U.S., from the perspective of a seasoned literary scholar, Goodheart provides a succinct and timely assessment. Part of that assessment means mediating the battle between the cultural left and right. Finding fault with both sides, Goodheart also dissect the current love affair with popular culture that has seized the academy. Calling for a middle ground that acknowledges both the role of tradition and of new approaches to literature, Goodheart calls for a dialogue between alienated camps, and an alternative to the dogmatism that threatens the future of literary studies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:50 -0400)

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