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Literature in the MakingA History of U.S. Literary Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Nancy Glazener

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199390137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390137.001.0001

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Disciplinarity and Beyond

Disciplinarity and Beyond

Chapter:
(p.193) { 6 } Disciplinarity and Beyond
Source:
Literature in the Making
Author(s):

Nancy Glazener

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390137.003.0007

Whereas standard histories of literary studies have focused on struggles between philologists and another camp known as generalists or belle-lettrists, this second camp might be better understood as aesthetic critics, the chief ancestors of twentieth-century literary studies. Moreover, this conflict is probably less important than the struggle that led to disciplinary separations between literary studies, on the one hand, and speech and drama, on the other. Since highly literary forms of oral performance were widespread at the turn of the century, it is important to analyze the pressures that led to literary studies becoming even more insistently text based (a further contrast with public literary culture, which combined analytic, interpretive, creative, and performative registers). This chapter argues that academic literary studies has been from the beginning disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and antidisciplinary. After examining the discipline’s early incarnation, whose constraints we have only in recent decades been overcoming, the chapter proposes that the interdisciplinary and antidisciplinary dimensions of English literary studies are valuable resources that may allow us to rethink literary studies and literary authority in an era when knowledge is once again being reorganized.

Keywords:   disciplinary critique, interdisciplinarity, higher education, academic English, literature and performance, the commons, Internet culture, organization of knowledge

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