The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline

The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline

by Robert Scholes

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Overview

In this lucid book an eminent scholar, teacher, and author takes a critical look at the nature and direction of English studies in America. Robert Scholes offers a thoughtful and witty intervention in current debates about educational and cultural values and goals, showing how English came to occupy its present place in our educational system, diagnosing the educational illness he perceives in today’s English departments, and recommending theoretical and practical changes in the field of English studies. Scholes’s position defies neat labels—it is a deeply conservative expression of the wish to preserve the best in the English tradition of verbal and textual studies, yet it is a radical argument for reconstruction of the discipline of English.

The book begins by examining the history of the rapid rise of English at two American universities—Yale and Brown—at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Scholes argues that the subsequent fall of English—discernible today in college English departments across the United States—is the result of both cultural shifts and changes within the field of English itself. He calls for a fundamental reorientation of the discipline—away from political or highly theoretical issues, away from a specific canon of texts, and toward a canon of methods, to be used in the process of learning how to situate, compose, and read a text. He offers an eloquent proposal for a discipline based on rhetoric and the teaching of reading and writing over a broad range of literatures, a discipline that includes literariness but is not limited to it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300128895
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 863,747
File size: 18 MB
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About the Author


Robert Scholes is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities at Brown University. Also by Robert Scholes: Protocols of Reading, Semiotics and Interpretation, Structuralism in Literature, and Textual Power: Literary Theory and the Teaching of English.

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