This chapter examines literary studies, starting with the ways in which the constitution of literature made study an important outgrowth of literary reading. It offers a map of Shakespeare studies in U.S. literary culture and examines some of the ideological investments that the United States brought to Shakespeare. The legacies of rhetoric and philology, two other important predecessors of literature, are especially important to literary studies. Taking up the vexed question of why rhetoric, so prominent in academic culture at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was barely visible in the research university model at the end, the chapter argues that the cultural dependence on print and fears of cultural manipulation that had gathered around oratory had moved rhetoric out of prominence before the research university model took hold. The fears of oratorical manipulation were not really justified but point to the tremendous anxieties about autonomy at stake in both oratory and literature, which open the self to outside influences; theories of the sublime also navigated these anxieties. The chapter ends by profiling Coleridge’s and Emerson’s competing models of literary authority and literary reading, which in broad strokes count as modern and antimodern.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.