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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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Studying Literature

Studying Literature

Chapter:
(p.71) { 3 } Studying Literature
Source:
Literature in the Making
Author(s):

Nancy Glazener

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390137.003.0004

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.

Keywords:   literary studies, public culture, reading groups, Shakespeare, literature and philosophy, sublime, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson

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