Results by Title
21 books about English philology
Results by Title
21 books about English philology
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
For nearly twenty-five years, English studies has been focused on two terms: politics and ethics. However, the institutional emergence, development, and relationship of these two concepts have yet to be examined. Between Politics and Ethics: Toward a Vocative History of English Studies traces the development of politics and ethics in contemporary English studies, questions the current political orientation of the discipline, and proposes a rethinking of the history of English studies based on a “vocative” dimension of writing—the idea that writers form a virtual community by “calling to” and listening to other writers.In a series of interrelated discussions, James Comas examines the historical trends leading to recent confusion regarding ethics and its relation to the politics of English studies. Through close, rhetorical readings of texts by Judith Butler, Stephen Greenblatt, Edward Said, and others, Comas argues that this confusion is largely the result of a “political turn” that resists theorizing itself. In addition, he argues that work on ethics by Wayne Booth, Geoffrey Harpham, and J. Hillis Miller reflects an uneasy dialectic between the ethics and politics of reading and writing. In response to this discord, Comas turns to the theories of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, as well as to the examples of Georges Bataille and Kenneth Burke, and proposes a vocative approach to assessing English studies and its history. In doing so, this volume offers a thoughtful reassessment of English studies that affects our understanding of the rhetoric of disciplinary histories.
Drawing on the theoretical work of Jacques Lacan, Marshall W. Alcorn Jr. formulates a systematic explanation of the function and value of desire in writing instruction.
Alcorn argues that in changing the subject matter of writing instruction in order to change student opinions, composition instructors have come to adopt an insufficiently complex understanding of subjectivity. This oversimplification hinders attempts to foster cultural change. Alcorn proposes an alternative mode of instruction that makes effective use of students’ knowledge and desire. The resulting freedom in expression—personal as well as political—engenders the recognition, circulation, and elaboration of desire necessary for both human communication and effective politics.
Responding to James Berlin’s reconception of praxis in the classroom, Theresa Ebert’s espousal of disciplined instructions, and Lester Faigley’s introduction of a postmodern theory of subjectivity, Alcorn follows both Lacan and Slavoj Žižek in insisting desire be given free voice and serious recognition. In composition as in politics, desire is the ground of agency. Competing expressions of desire should generate a dialectic in social-epistemic discourse that encourages enlightenment over cynicism and social development over authoritarian demands.
With clarity and personal voice, Alcorn explains how discourse is rooted in primitive psychological functions of desire and responds to complex cultural needs. In its theoretical scope this book describes a new pedagogy that links thought to emotion and the personal to the social.
Composition in the University examines the required introductory course in composition within American colleges and universities. Crowley argues that due to its association with literary studies in English departments, composition instruction has been inappropriately influenced by humanist pedagogy and that modern humanism is not a satisfactory rationale for the study of writing. Crowley envisions possible nonhumanist rationales that could be developed for vertical curricula in writing instruction, were the universal requirement not in place.
Composition in the University examines the required introductory course in composition within American colleges and universities. According to Sharon Crowley, the required composition course has never been conceived in the way that other introductory courses have been—as an introduction to the principles and practices of a field of study. Rather it has been constructed throughout much of its history as a site from which larger educational and ideological agendas could be advanced, and such agendas have not always served the interests of students or teachers, even though they are usually touted as programs of study that students “need.”
If there is a master narrative of the history of composition, it is told in the institutional attitude that has governed administration, design, and staffing of the course from its beginnings—the attitude that the universal requirement is in place in order to construct docile academic subjects.
Crowley argues that due to its association with literary studies in English departments, composition instruction has been inappropriately influenced by humanist pedagogy and that modern humanism is not a satisfactory rationale for the study of writing. She examines historical attempts to reconfigure the required course in nonhumanist terms, such as the advent of communications studies during the 1940s. Crowley devotes two essays to this phenomenon, concentrating on the furor caused by the adoption of a communications program at the University of Iowa.
Composition in the University concludes with a pair of essays that argue against maintenance of the universal requirement. In the last of these, Crowley envisions possible nonhumanist rationales that could be developed for vertical curricula in writing instruction, were the universal requirement not in place.
Crowley presents her findings in a series of essays because she feels the history of the required composition course cannot easily be understood as a coherent narrative since understandings of the purpose of the required course have altered rapidly from decade to decade, sometimes in shockingly sudden and erratic fashion.
The essays in this book are informed by Crowley’s long career of teaching composition, administering a composition program, and training teachers of the required introductory course. The book also draw on experience she gained while working with committees formed by the Conference on College Composition and Communication toward implementation of the Wyoming Resolution, an attempt to better the working conditions of post-secondary teachers of writing.
Tounderstand the history of "English," Ross Winterowd insists, one must understand how literary studies, composition-rhetoric studies, and influential textbooks interrelate. Stressing the interrelationship among these three forces, Winterowd presents a history of English studies in the university since the Enlightenment.
Winterowd’s history is unique in three ways. First, it tells the whole story of English studies: it does not separate the history of literary studies from that of composition-rhetoric studies, nor can it if it is going to be an authentic history. Second, it traces the massive influence on English studies exerted by textbooks such as Adventures in Literature, Understanding Poetry, English in Action, and the Harbrace College Handbook. Finally, Winterowd himself is very much a part of the story, a partisan with more than forty years of service to the discipline, not simply a disinterested scholar searching for the truth.
After demonstrating that literary studies and literary scholars are products of Romantic epistemology and values, Winterowd further invites controversy by reinterpreting the Romantic legacy inherited by English departments. His reinterpretation of major literary figures and theory, too, invites discussion, possibly argument. And by directly contradicting current histories of composition-rhetoric that allow for no points of contact with literature, Winterowd intensifies the argument by explaining the development of composition-rhetoric from the standpoint of literature and literary theory.
Thomas P. Miller defines college English studies as literacy studies and examines how it has evolved in tandem with broader developments in literacy and the literate. He maps out “four corners” of English departments: literature, language studies, teacher education, and writing studies. Miller identifies their development with broader changes in the technologies and economies of literacy that have redefined what students write and read, which careers they enter, and how literature represents their experiences and aspirations.
Miller locates the origins of college English studies in the colonial transition from a religious to an oratorical conception of literature. A belletristic model of literature emerged in the nineteenth century in response to the spread of the “penny” press and state-mandated schooling. Since literary studies became a common school subject, professors of literature have distanced themselves from teachers of literacy. In the Progressive era, that distinction came to structure scholarly organizations such as the MLA, while NCTE was established to develop more broadly based teacher coalitions. In the twentieth century New Criticism came to provide the operating assumptions for the rise of English departments, until those assumptions became critically overloaded with the crash of majors and jobs that began in 1970s and continues today.
For models that will help the discipline respond to such challenges, Miller looks to comprehensive departments of English that value studies of teaching, writing, and language as well as literature. According to Miller, departments in more broadly based institutions have the potential to redress the historical alienation of English departments from their institutional base in work with literacy. Such departments have a potentially quite expansive articulation apparatus. Many are engaged with writing at work in public life, with schools and public agencies, with access issues, and with media, ethnic, and cultural studies. With the privatization of higher education, such pragmatic engagements become vital to sustaining a civic vision of English studies and the humanities generally.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, English literature, composition, and rhetoric were introduced almost simultaneously into colleges throughout the British cultural provinces. Professorships of rhetoric and belles lettres were established just as print was reaching a growing reading public and efforts were being made to standardize educated taste and usage. The provinces saw English studies as a means to upward social mobility through cultural assimilation. In the educational centers of England, however, the introduction of English represented a literacy crisis brought on by provincial institutions that had failed to maintain classical texts and learned languages.
Today, as rhetoric and composition have become reestablished in the humanities in American colleges, English studies are being broadly transformed by cultural studies, community literacies, and political controversies. Once again, English departments that are primarily departments of literature see these basic writing courses as a sign of a literacy crisis that is undermining the classics of literature. The Formation of College English reexamines the civic concerns of rhetoric and the politics that have shaped and continue to shape college English.
In this fresh and innovative approach, John H. Fisher eloquently explains Chaucer’s importance to Western culture.
English literature begins with Chaucer. The first writer to demonstrate that English was as effective a medium for literature as Latin or French, Chaucer introduced realism, satire, and humor into English writing. In examining Chaucer’s cultural importance, however, Fisher ventures beyond literary excellence, basing his cultural interpretation on inferences about Chaucer’s domestic life, about his possible experience in the inns of chancery and inns of court, and about the possibility that Henry V and the Lancastrian government sought deliberately to promote Chaucer’s poems as models of what could be accomplished in the vernacular.
Fisher’s willingness to boldly infer from the scant evidence available allows him to place Chaucer in the poet’s, and our, culture in a way he has not been placed before. By attributing to Chaucer innovations to which other writers have only alluded, and by reaching conclusions which others have been hesitant to approach, Fisher presents an interpretation at once controversial, engaging, and informative.
Winifred Bryan Horner argues that an understanding of the changes that occurred in the content of nineteenth-century courses in logic, rhetoric, and belles lettres taught in Scottish universities provides important critical insight into the development of the twentieth-century American composition course, as well as courses in English literature and critical theory.
Because of the inaccessibility of primary materials documenting the changes in courses taught at Scottish universities, the impression remains that the nineteenth century represents a break with the traditional school curriculum rather than a logical transition to a new focus of study. Horner has discovered that the notes of students who attended these classes—meticulously transcribed records of the lectures that professors dictated in lieu of printed texts—provide reliable documentation of the content of courses taught during the period. Using these records, Horner traces the evolution of current traditional composition, developed in the United States in the first part of the twentieth century, from courses taught in nineteenth-century, northern Scottish universities. She locates the beginning of courses in English literature and belletristic composition in the southern schools, particularly Edinburgh.
Horner’s study opens new vistas for the study of the evolution of university curricula, especially the never before acknowledged influence of belletristric rhetoric on the development of the North American composition course.
Robert Bechtold Heilman is one of the last survivors of a remarkable generation of American critics that included such literary giants as Cleanth Brooks, Allen Tate, and Edmund Wilson, men to whom literary criticism was not a profession or an academic necessity but a calling. In a distinguished career that has spanned nearly six decades, Heilman has influenced generations of scholars and critics through his exquisitely written commentaries on subjects ranging from William Shakespeare to Thomas Hardy.
In The Professor and the Profession, Heilman looks back over his life and times from his perspective as both an academic and an American. Differing in theme and subject matter, the essays included in this collection are ultimately unified by the author himself. Whether the topic is football, Robert Penn Warren, or education, Heilman's generous and intelligent voice emerges on every page. Yet this collection is more than one academic's personal reminiscences; it is a reflection upon American literary history itself.
In the first section of essays, "The Self Displayed," Heilman reveals how he developed from a small-town boy into a distinguished critic and teacher, touching upon his participation in baseball and love of football along the way. "Writers Portrayed" and "Literary Types and Problems Inspected," the following sections, offer his opinions on the past and on the current state of American literary criticism, including personal portraits of such renowned friends as Eric Voegelin, Robert Penn Warren, Theodore Roethke, and Malcolm Cowley. The final section, "Education Examined," is an enlightening inquiry into the development of American universities in the twentieth century.
A fascinating chronicle of a significant academic life, The Professor and the Profession will appeal to a broad array of scholars, from young academics wanting to know where they came from to those of Heilman's generation who can appreciate this personal reminiscence into the world of letters.
With the immersion method dominating contemporary language learning, the knowledge of traditional grammar is at a low ebb, creating real barriers to any student wanting to learning dead or historical languages. This revised edition of Reading Old English aims to equip readers (advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and autodidacts) with the necessary tools to read the oldest recorded forms of the English language by explaining key language features clearly and methodically, without simplifying any of the core grammatical concepts. It includes a number of helpful exercises, a variety of interesting and unusual Old English texts to translate, as well as appendices covering the basics of traditional grammar and sound changes in Old English, along with an introduction to poetic structure.
“This is a book about the American Dream as it has become embodied in the university in general and in the English department in particular,” writes James Ray Watkins at the start of A Taste for Language: Literacy, Class, and English Studies. In it, Watkins argues that contemporary economic and political challenges require a clear understanding of the identity of English studies, making elementary questions about literacy, language, literature, education, and class once again imperative.
A personal history of university-level English studies in the twentieth century, A Taste for Language combines biography, autobiography, and critical analysis to explore the central role of freshman English and literary studies in the creation and maintenance of the middle class. It tells a multi-generational story of the author and his father, intertwined with close reading of texts and historical analysis. The story moves from depression-era Mississippi, where the author's father was born, to a contemporary English department, where the author now teaches.
Watkins looks at not only textbooks, scholars, and the academy but also at families and other social institutions. A rich combination of biography, autobiography, and critical analysis, A Taste for Language questions what purpose an education in English language and literature serves in the lives of the educated in a class-based society and whether English studies has become wholly irrelevant in the twenty-first century.
With authority and sensitivity Plotkin traces the close relationship between Hopkins’s poetry and the theories of language suggested in his Journals and expounded by Victorian philologists such as Max Müller and George Marsh.
Plotkin seeks to determine what changed Hopkins’s perception of language between the writing of such early poems as "The Habit of Perfection" and "Nondum" (1866) and his creation of The Wreck of the Deutschland (1875–76). Did the language of the ode, and of Hopkins’s mature poetry generally, arise as spontaneously as it appears to have done, or does it have a traceable genesis in the ways in which language as a whole was conceived and studied in mid-century England? In answer, Plotkin fixes the development of Hopkins’s singular poetic language in the philological context of his time.
If one is to understand Hopkins’s writings and poetic language in the context in which they developed rather than in the terms of a present-day theory of history or textuality, then that movement in all of its complexity must be considered. Hopkins "translates" into the language of poetry patterns and categories common to Victorian language study.
This is the first book-length study of the status of composition in English studies and the uneasy relationship between composition and literature. Composition studies and institutional histories of English studies have long needed this kind of clarification of the historical and political contexts of composition teaching, research, and administration.
Susan Miller argues that composition constitutes a major national industry, citing the four million freshman-level students enrolled in such courses each year, the $40 million annual expenditure for textbooks, and the more than $50 million in teacher salaries. But this concrete magnitude is not expressed in political power within departments. Miller calls on her associates in composition to engage in a persistent critique of the social practices and political agenda of the discipline that have been responsible for its institutional marginalization. Drawing on her own long experience as a composition administrator, teacher, and scholar, as well as on a national survey of composition professionals, Miller argues that composition teachers inadvertently continue to foster the negative myth about composition’s place in the English studies hierarchy by assuming an assigned, self-sacrificial cultural identity. Composition has been regarded as subcollegiate, practical, a "how-to," and has been denied intellectual rigor in order to preserve literature’s presentations of quasi-religious textual ideals.
Winner of three major book awards:
The Modern Language Association’s Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize
The Conference on College Composition and Communication’s Outstanding Book Award
The Teachers of Advanced Composition’s W. Ross Winterowd Award
The writing major is among the most exciting scenes in the evolving American university. Writing Majors is a collection of firsthand descriptions of the origins, growth, and transformations of eighteen different programs. The chapters provide useful administrative insight, benchmark information, and even inspiration for new curricular configurations from a range of institutions.
A practical sourcebook for those who are building, revising, or administering their own writing majors , this volume also serves as a historical archive of a particular instance of growth and transformation in American higher education. Revealing bureaucratic, practical, and institutional matters as well as academic ideals and ideologies, each profile includes sections providing a detailed program review and rationale, an implementation narrative, and reflection and prospection about the program.
Documenting eighteen stories of writing major programs in various stages of formation, preservation, and reform and exposing the contingencies of their local and material constitution, Writing Majors speaks as much to the “how to” of building writing major programs as to the larger “what,” “why,” and “how” of institutional growth and change.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press