Defining Literary Criticism: Scholarship, Authority and the by Carol Atherton

By Carol Atherton

Outlining the controversies that experience surrounded the educational self-discipline of English Literature considering its institutionalization within the past due 19th century, this crucial e-book attracts on a number of archival assets. It addresses concerns which are principal to the identification of educational English - how the topic got here into lifestyles, and what makes it a expert self-discipline of information - in a way that illuminates the various crises that experience affected the advance of recent English reviews. Atherton additionally addresses modern arguments in regards to the educating of literary feedback, together with an exam of the reforms to A-Level literature.

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At Cambridge, this movement from philology to Classics seems to have been relatively straightforward, with compulsory philology being absent from Section A of the Tripos and the importance of Middle English being diminished. Cambridge’s version of philology was, in any case, markedly different from its Oxford counterpart: H. M. 63 At Oxford, however, the shift towards Classics was a much more complicated process. While a knowledge of Classics was a prerequisite for the study of literature, it must be remembered that Collins’s vision of an English syllabus underpinned by Classical ideals had received little sympathy within Oxford and that the earliest form of the Honour School was weighted towards philological study.

47 The author Andrew Lang, on the other hand, argued that the ‘literary’ man did have a valid claim to the post, and ‘should [. 48 Nevertheless, it is a mark of the strength of the counter-arguments that the first appointment to the Merton Professorship was the philologist Arthur Sampson Napier, then a lecturer at the University of Göttingen. 49 It is worth pausing to consider the nature of Sweet’s objections to literary study in more detail, since the nature of these objections helps English in the Universities 41 to illuminate the readiness with which the struggle for literature at Oxford can be assimilated within Heyck’s paradigm of disciplinary development.

M. 63 At Oxford, however, the shift towards Classics was a much more complicated process. While a knowledge of Classics was a prerequisite for the study of literature, it must be remembered that Collins’s vision of an English syllabus underpinned by Classical ideals had received little sympathy within Oxford and that the earliest form of the Honour School was weighted towards philological study. Palmer sees this as a sign of the independence of Oxford English from a ‘poor man’s Classics’ view of the subject, with the emphasis on Anglo-Saxon and philological knowledge being an attempt to distance the Honour School from the arguments about the moral function of literature that had shaped the rise of English in other educational contexts.

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