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ADE BULLETIN

Number 149

2010

close reading curricular questions

2 010

Nu m b e r 14 9

Contents
3 From the Editor The Job Market and Graduate Education Close Reading 8 15 20 Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory Close Reading in 2009 Jane Gallop The Closeness of Close Reading Jonathan Culler Curricular Questions 26 38 46 53 61 65 National Literatures in an Age of Globalization David Damrosch The English Major as Social Action Sidonie Smith Literary History and the Curriculum: How, What, and Why Jennifer Summit Research Is Teaching Cathy N. Davidson Writing for Readers in a Small Liberal Arts College Linda Simon Education in the Balance: On Receiving the ADE Francis Andrew March Award David Bartholomae

ADE and the Association of Departments of English are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of English, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.1, ISSN 0001-0898

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

THE ADE Bulletin is published by the Association of Departments of English, a subsidiary of the Modern Language Association, 26 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, New York 100041789. The Bulletin publishes articles and surveys dealing with professional, pedagogical, curricular, and departmental issues. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the MLA Style Manual, 3rd edition, and may be submitted as a Word attachment to areiser@mla.org or in two copies to the editor at ADE, 26 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10004-1789. Questions about the ADE Bulletin should be addressed to Annie Reiser at areiser@mla.org. Beginning with number 149, the ADE Bulletin is published in electronic form only. ADE is an association of departments of English, writing programs, and divisions of humanities. The activities of the association are guided by an elected executive committee, made up of two members each from the following categories: PhD-granting departments, public BA/MA-granting departments, private BA/MA-granting departments, and two-year colleges. Questions concerning ADE may be addressed to David Laurence, dlaurence@mla.org, or Doug Steward, dsteward@mla.org. ADE Executive Committee Kevin J. H. Dettmar (201012) Pomona College Jeanne Dubino (201012) Appalachian State University
Donald E. Hall (201012) West Virginia State University, Morgantown

Theodore O. Mason (200810) Kenyon College Richard E. Miller (200911) Rutgers University, New Brunswick Maureen T. Reddy (200911) Rhode Island College Katherine Rowe (200911) Bryn Mawr College Lisa R. Schneider (201012) Columbus State Community College, Ohio John P. Zomchick (200810) University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Susanmarie Harrington (200810) University of Vermont Thomas G. Hurley (200911) Diablo Valley College Robert A. Kelly (200810) Macon State College

ADE President, 2010: Theodore O. Mason ADE Director and Editor of the ADE Bulletin: David Laurence ADE Associate Director and Associate Editor of the ADE Bulletin: Doug Steward Coordinator of the ADE Bulletin: Annie Reiser ADE and the Association of Departments of English are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association of America.

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

From the Editor


The Job Market and Graduate Education Over the past two years the number of jobs advertised in the MLA Job Information List (JIL) has plunged from a level near the late-1980s historic high to a level below that of the mid-1990s job crisis. Meanwhile, over the fifteen years since 1995, doctoral programs in modern languages have consistently graduated degree recipients at a rate of about 1,000 a year in English and 600 a year in languages other than English. (A midyear report on the 200910 JIL is available on the MLA Web site, along with a report on doctorate recipients recorded on the US governments 2008 Survey of Earned Doctorates.) The placement rate for new doctoral degree recipients to tenure-track positions has been a source of anxiety in the profession since the 1970s. The economic recession of the early 1990s intensified agitation around doctoral education and its high opportunity costs in the light of the increasingly difficult career outlook for graduates. Despite continued growth in undergraduate enrollment, the tenured and tenure-track faculty population in English has remained static, while higher and higher proportions of the academic workforce are employed off the tenure track and part-time. Most non-tenure-track faculty members in English hold a masters degree as their highest degree and teach first-year writing and other lower-division general education courses (2007 ADE Ad Hoc Committee on Staffing 18290, 197, 20408). Arguments and diagnoses divide between those who see rigorous population control of new doctoral recipients as the way to solve the professions long-term employment problems and those who see a systematic underproduction or artificial rationing of full-time tenure-track positions that needs to be reversed. Today, as in the 1990s economic recession, the sharp contraction in job opportunities combines with patterns in degree awards to create what Louis Menand describes as one of those historical pincer effects where one trend intersects with its opposite (144)in this case the trend line for PhD production with the steep downward plunge of the line for tenure-track faculty positions. Not surprisingly, when the pressure of the pincers tightens, both the heat and the volume of commentary rise. In the pressure of the moment, can statistical information help description and decision making, on the premise that how we describe a problem limits the solutions or ameliorations we are able to achieve? In January 2010 Princeton University Press published Educating Scholars: Doctoral Education in the Humanities, by Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Harriet Zuckerman, Jeffrey A. Groen, and Sharon M. Brucker. The volume is a data-driven, book-length study and report on the Mellon Foundations tenyear Graduate Education Initiative (GEI), which between 1991 and 2000 provided over $58 million to 54 doctoral-granting humanities departments in 10 major universities (3). The GEI grew out of an earlier foundation study of PhD completion and attrition, published in 1992 as In Pursuit of the PhD (Bowen and Rudenstine). In part, the foundation wanted to understand the outcomes for graduate students who
ADE and the Association of Departments of English are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.3, ISSN 0001 0898

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

From the Editor

had been recipients of Mellon Fellowships and fellowships of other national fellowship programs. Their overall conclusion was that, given the attrition rate for doctoral programs (and among fellowship recipients) of around 50%, the fellowship programs represented a disappointing return on investment (Ehrenberg, Zuckerman, Groen, and Brucker 5; Bowen and Rudenstine 13). With the study of attrition in mind, the foundation undertook the GEI to raise completion rates; shorten time to degree; and limit attrition, especially in the late (ABD) stages of degree programs. In the foundations view, high rates of attrition (especially late-stage attrition) and degree programs that required, on average, 9 or more years to complete represented unacceptably high costs to institutions and degree candidates alike, particularly in the context of an increasingly uncertain academic job market. Lengthy time to degree, high attrition rates (and lengthy time to attrition), and low rates of placement to tenure-track career positions in four-year institutions were all understood to be markers of a poor investment of time and money on the part of both graduate students pursuing doctoral education and the institutions sponsoring the students and their doctoral programs. The GEIs temporal scope actually extended well before the 1991 formal start date and well beyond the 2000 formal end date. Doctoral education is lengthy, with implications for the foundations commitment to achieving statistical insight into the impact of its intervention that may indicate why the data behind the book are so important. The GEI tracked entering cohortsthat is, it followed students in each entering class from their date of entry. To provide a basis for understanding the impact of the intervention represented by the GEI, baseline data were collected for preinitiative classes back to 1980, and the foundation continued to track the progress through 2006 of every student who entered the participating doctoral programs during the project period. To ascertain employment outcomes in 200203 (for those who completed the program and those who did not), the project surveyed more than 18,000 students who had entered the doctoral programs between 1982 and 1996, asking about their employment six months and three years after graduation or departure from the program (Ehrenberg, Zuckerman, Groen, and Brucker 31, chs. 8 and 9). Using entering cohorts as the unit of observation implies an especially challenging data collection procedure for calculating completion and attrition. It is far simpler to take a group who all receive their degrees in a given academic year and ask what was their average time to degree than it is to determine of a group who all entered in a given academic year how long it took those in the cohort who received degrees to complete their programs and when those who did not complete their degrees left (33). Included among the 54 treatment departments in the Mellon project are the English departments at Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Michigan, Penn, Stanford, and Yale (30). The findings Ehrenberg and his coauthors present, notwithstanding their restriction to this rarefied group, provide an indispensable base of information for any discussion of graduate education, its processes and problems, and its personal as well as financial costs. Here are some findings that stand out. 1. During the 1990s, partly as an unintended consequence of the Mellon money and the GEI, guaranteed multiyear support packages became something of an aspirational norm across doctoral education in the humanities. This aim

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

From the Editor

was not entirely in keeping with the foundations preference for tying support more closely to progress as a way of shortening time to degree (25253). 2. Improved and more secure support succeeded in reducing attrition, especially in the early years of students doctoral education. This change was not altogether the foundations aim. Having communicated the idea that attrition is a problem, the foundation found the distinction was obscured between early attrition and the more-problematic late-stage attrition. Improved support lowered time to degree only marginally, and it appears to have unintentionally lengthened time to attrition and increased a phenomenon the study calls languishing students who neither complete nor leave their degree programs (25052). 3. About one-third of graduates were placed in tenure-track positions in fouryear institutions six months after receipt of their degrees. Between half and three-fifths held tenure-track positions three years postgraduation. (Not reported is the percentage of graduates who ever held a tenure-track position in a four-year institution at any point, if I am reading the presentation of these data correctly.) The likelihood that graduates would be placed in a tenure-track position three years after receipt of their degrees declined over the period studied, from 57.2% of 199294 graduates to 55.1% of 199597 graduates to 52.0% of 19982000 graduates (table 9.1, 188). 4. Three years after graduation, between 71.3% and 76.0% of graduates were employed in teaching positions in four-year institutions (depending on year of graduation). This statistic includes the tenure-track placements. Between 10.3% and 11.5% held full-time non-tenure-track positions in four-year institutions. Three years after graduation, about 7.0% were still teaching parttime in a four-year institution. Six months after graduation, between 12.8% and 14.8% had held part-time positions and between 16.0% and 18.9% had held full-time non-tenure-track positions (table 9.1, 188). 5. Six months after graduation, the overall employment rate was close to 90%. Three years after graduation, the figure rose to almost 95%. Three years after graduation, 12.0% of 199294 graduates, 15.0% of 199597 graduates, and 17.3% of the 19982000 graduates were employed outside education (table 9.1, 188). 6. People do move from initial placement in non-tenure-track positions to placement in tenure-track positions. The chances were highest for graduates who occupied postdoctoral positions six months after graduation. For most graduating classes, two-thirds or more of those who held a postdoctoral position six months after receiving their degrees were in a tenure-track position three years after receiving their degrees. Just under three-fifths of those who held a full-time non-tenure-track position six months after receiving their degrees held a tenure-track position three years after receiving their degrees. Those placed in part-time positions had the worst chancesjust over two-fifths had attained a tenure-track position three years after receiving their degrees. Those who received their degrees between 1989 and 1991 and who started in postdoctoral positions or in non-tenure-track positions had substantially lower chances of moving from their initial placements to

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

From the Editor

tenure-track positionsa clear signal of the depressing effect of the 1991 recession on the careers of this subgroup (table 9.2, 190). 7. Of students who leave their doctoral programs, 11.9% ultimately received a PhD elsewhere, 19.4% received a professional degree, 50.0% received a masters degree (38.0% from the same department where they had been a doctoral student and 12.0% from a different department), and 18.8% received no degree (table 8.1, 178). As of the survey date (200203), 17.1% of students who left their doctoral programs were employed as administrators, executives, or managers; 13.5% were in the occupational category artists, entertainers, writers, public-relations specialists, broadcasters; 12.8% were lawyers or judges; 12.7% were postsecondary teachers; 6.5% were elementary or secondary school teachers (table 8.4, 184). 8. Time to degree of 9 or more years is associated with significantly lower rates of placement to tenure-track positions in four-year institutions. Among graduates who took 5 to 8 years to complete their degrees, 57.5% (8 years) to 63.6% (5 years) were placed in tenure-track positions three years after receiving their degrees. The figure falls to 48.6% for those who took 9 years, 51.3% for those who took 10 years, and 39.3% for those who took 11 or more years (table 9.4, 194). 9. Students who published during graduate school are associated with higher rates of placement to tenure-track positions. Three years after graduation, only 35.2% of those who had no publications during graduate school occupied a tenure-track position, compared with 58.9% of those with one publication, 62.3% of those with two publications, and 70.4% of those with three or more publications (table 9.5, 195). 10. Being married does not lengthen time to degree for women who were married during graduate school but does shorten somewhat time to degree for men who were married during graduate school (ch. 7). (The study appears tacitly to assume that marriage involves members of the opposite sex.) 11. Overall, the study finds the impact of the GEI on the departments to have been modest with respect to the stated goals of reducing time to degree, attrition, and the high opportunity costs associated with pursuing a doctoral degree and an academic career (25052). The question remains, Why do so many students who enter doctoral programs find it difficult to complete their degrees in fewer than 8 years? Improving the amount and security of financial support aids persistenceit helps more students stay with the programbut does not appreciably shorten the time it takes to complete a dissertation and graduate. Conceiving and completing the dissertation remains the chief obstacle to student progress, gatekeeper to the degree, and discriminator among those who do earn the degree in the competition for tenure-track positions. The reports findings underscore questions Sidonie Smith raises about the dissertation in Beyond the Dissertation Monograph, her Presidents Column in the Spring 2010 MLA Newsletter. David Laurence

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

From the Editor

Works Cited
Bowen, William G., and Neil L. Rudenstine. In Pursuit of the PhD. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992. Print. Ehrenberg, Ronald G., Harriet Zuckerman, Jeffrey A. Groen, and Sharon M. Brucker. Educating Scholars: Doctoral Education in the Humanities. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2010. Print. Menand, Louis. The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. New York: Norton, 2010. Print. Smith, Sidonie. Beyond the Dissertation Monograph. MLA Newsletter 42.1 (2010): 23. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. 2007 ADE Ad Hoc Committee on Staffing. Education in the Balance: A Report on the Academic Workforce in English. Profession (2009): 180244. Print.

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue


John Guillory
The author is Silver Professor of English and former chair of the English department at New York University. A version of the article was presented at the 2009 ADE-ADFL Summer Seminar East in Providence.

In THIS essay I look at two moments in a possible history of close reading from the interwar period to the present. By close reading, I do not mean the same thing as reading closely, which arguably describes many different practices of reading from antiquity to the modern era. I assume rather that close reading is a modern academic practice with an inaugural moment, a period of development, and now perhaps a phase of decline. I restrict my comments to only two moments in this institutional narrative, which I will call prologue and epilogue. These moments raise nearly identical psychological concerns about the relation between the consumption of media and the reading of literature. I associate the prologue and epilogue with the names of two scholars, I. A. Richards and n. Katherine Hayles. The first name has long been identified with the origins of close reading. Richards inaugurated a practice of reading that, if not precisely the same as what later came to be known as close reading, laid the foundation for it. His work constitutes my prologue. The second name is Hayles, although by no means is she the only recent critic to raise questions, directly or indirectly, about the status of close reading. As it happens, she makes her argument in language that strongly echoes (probably unintentionally) that of Richards. In a 2007 article in Profession entitled Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes, Hayles argues that the two modes of cognition named in her title define contrasting orientations to our media environment. She goes on to link these two orientationswe might say that this is a very hot linkto the difference between literary reading and the consumption of nonliterary media. In her words, deep attention is the cognitive style traditionally associated with the humanities; this style is characterized by concentrating on a single object for long periods (say, a novel by Dickens), ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times. Hyper attention, by contrast, is characterized by switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom (187, 188). Clearly Hayles intends by means of this distinction to provide some analysis to back up anecdotal observations about the changing relation of our students to literature as a result of their formation in a changing media environment. What she describes obviously worries many teachers, who feel that they must figure out how to overcome ever greater resistance to the mode of reading that literary works seem to demand. Without raising the question of close reading directly, her essay usefully confronts the pervasive anxiety of literature teachers head-on. She tries to stare this anxiety down by welcoming the emergence of hyper attention as a new mode of cognition, supplementing though not replacing deep attention. In her view, hyper
ADE and the Association of Departments of En glish are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.8, ISSN 0001 0898

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory

attention is an adaptive response to the saturation of the cultural environment by new media. Those who are hyper attentive exhibit a heightened environmental alertness and flexibility of response. They are as comfortable with multitasking as their predecessors were with passing solitary hours in reading a novel: Hyper attention excels at negotiating rapidly changing environments in which multiple foci compete for attention (188). Hayles believes, probably rightly, that deep attention and hyper attention can happily coexist; her refusal to panic is an appealing alternative to either of two other possible responses to our cultural situation: on the one hand rejecting the new mode of cognition altogether, and on the other celebrating it for relegating deep attention to cultural obsolescence. It seems generous and right at this moment in our cultural history to recognize that the proliferation of media has changed us and will continue to change us and that we cannot simply refuse these changes. To indulge a revanchist inclination would mean putting ourselves on the wrong side of history, like those professors who not so long ago resisted admitting vernacular literature into the college curriculum. Yet what Hayles calls a synergistic combination of hyper and deep attention (193) suggests in the present circumstances that anything less than the synergistic ideal she calls for will result in an irreparable loss for the cultural works requiring deep attention. To her credit, she is quite aware of this possible cost. When she invokes a novel by Dickens as the kind of cultural work that calls for deep attention, we are to understand that this work stands in for all the cultural works put at risk by the cultural transformation that she welcomes and that in any case cannot be resisted. The balance or synergy between deep attention and hyper attention is by no means assured, even for Hayles. The prevalence of hyper attention means that some persons might never develop the ability to focus for long periods of time on one object, such as a novel. The example of the novel, however, does not quite capture the full spectrum of cognitive processes entailed by deep attention. It is perhaps a mistake to see the mode of deep attention as oriented mainly toward the long workthat is, toward the question of the duration of attention. Poetry too, even short poems, demands sustained attention. The situation of poetry, I would suggest, is even more problematic than that of narrative prose, for reasons that concern the quality as much as the duration of attention. The short poem might never raise the cognitive issue of the duration of attention, but it alerts us to the kind of deep attention resulting from the practice of rereading. As we all know, Richards adumbrated a technique of close reading directed primarily to short poems, which he enjoined his students to read over and over. This iterative technique produced a recursive effect, a slightly different cognitive and emotional experience with each reading. Is this mode of cognition a version of deep attention? If it is, we will have to modify our definition of deep attention to include cognitive processes that are not simply equated with duration of attention; in other words, we will have to reconsider the relation between deep attention and close attention. The iterative technique of close reading, as envisioned by Richards, might be contrasted with the cognitive experience of reading a work that holds the readers attention, even a very long work. The question here is not whether such attention is

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Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory

possible for the hyper attentivethe popularity of the Harry Potter novels suggests that it has not disappearedbut whether it is commutable to other artifacts, such as novels by Dickens. The evidence for commutability is difficult to gather, however, and the failure of commutability is much harder to explain. For example, we would have to account for the ways in which the Harry Potter novels differ from those of Dickens, a question that would precipitate us into great cultural perplexities, especially given the fact that Dickens had no problem holding the attention of his contemporary readers. Also, duration of attention is not always equivalent to depth of attention. The opposition between hyper and deep solicits further inquiry along these lines. For the present, however, let me set this question aside and concur tentatively with Hayles when she says that there has been an erosion of deep attention and that this erosion has created a problem for the literary curriculum. Whatever we mean by deep attention in this context has immediately to do with reading, and fundamentally with reading as a learned cognitive skill (what was called an art in antiquity). I am not speaking here of basic literacy, what teachers of reading in the primary schools call decoding. nor am I speaking of reading in many everyday contexts. Reading too can be the occasion of an ephemeral and hyper mode of cognition, as in the reading that goes into a text messageas exemplary an instance of new communication as anything in our media universe. If reading is implicated in Hayless deep attention, it must at least broach the threshold of reading closely, whether or not it conforms to the disciplinary technique of close reading formerly (and still?) prevalent in literary studies. Hayles would surely agree that the technique of close reading depends on the deep mode of attention, however we define it. If our educational institutions should fail to produce the desired synergy between deep and hyper attention, then the story of this failure might indeed be written as an epilogue for close reading. Hayles does not intend to write such an epiloguequite the contrarybut her argument gives us an invaluable set of terms for understanding the cognitive foundation on which close reading is built up as a practice. I suggest that this way of thinking about close reading is more helpful at the moment than other attempts to write its epilogue deliberately, such as Franco Morettis argument for distant reading (57). In my remarks thus far, I have veered from the intradisciplinary questions of interest to Moretti and allied myself with Hayless broader cultural concerns. For Hayles, the general relevance of the distinction between deep and hyper attention is confirmed by the universal pertinence of her psychological vocabulary, principally represented by the term attention. Reading is understood uncontroversially as a form of attention. Her concept of attention straddles ordinary usage and a possible, though never fully elaborated, psychology of media consumption. Such a psychology would have to account for our relations to all media, including all writing, both literary and nonliterary. The concept of attention is massively burdened by its psychological associations, but I want to pursue now its somewhat cryptic relation to the disciplinary technique of close readingfirst by looking more critically at Hayless use of the term and then by tracking the term back to Richardss deployment of it at the very moment of the prologue to close reading. As teachers we are continuously concerned with attention; it is what we demand of students, and what they sometimes pay us. Attention is psychological money for

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Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory

teachers, and without it we are poor. The attention concept has a still more specific domain of reference for teachers of literature, who typically associate close reading with it in some special way. In the most common and least technical formulation, close reading means paying attention to the words on the page. In Hayless argument, the concept of attention is distributed between the two modes of deep and hyperboth positive concepts for Hayleswhich are in turn linked to the distinction between older cultural works (a novel by Dickens) and new media. Her deployment of the distinction is empirically strong in some respects but weak in others. In support of the ascendancy of hyper attention, she cites the Kaiser Family Foundation Report of 2005, entitled Generation M: Media in the Lives of 818 Year- Olds (Roberts, Foehr, and Rideout). This report by no means celebrates the triumph of hyper attention, but it refrains from polemicizing against new media. Still, it lends credence to the thesis of another, more controversial study (not cited by Hayles) done by the nEA in 2004, entitled Reading at Risk, which sounds an alarm about the decline of literary reading in our society, especially among young people. The Generation M study is more carefully framed than the nEA report, but its findings do not allay the anxiety expressed in Reading at Risk. The researchers for the Kaiser Foundation discovered that members of Generation M spend about 6.5 hours a day engaged with all media, including print. But traditional print forms such as novels, journals, and newspapers account for only .43 hours of this time expenditure. (These numbers are cited by Hayles in her essay.) If engagement with new media fosters hyper attention at the expense of deep attention, Hayles responds to the consequent social anxiety by defending hyper attention as an adaptive necessity. But she must argue her case here against some powerful empirical counterevidence, for example, in connection with multitasking, perhaps the most exemplary expression of hyper attention. Many studies show, as Hayles acknowledges, that multitasking degrades the performance of component individual tasks. Recent laws against texting while driving are based on these empirical studies. The evidence for regarding hyper attention as maladaptive in some circumstances is great. Hayles has a bold strategy for overcoming this problem: she takes up the most pathologized form of this cognitive mode, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and rehabilitates it as the basis for a psychology of hyper attention that shows how it benefits individuals and society. Because I rather admire the boldness of this move, I hasten to admit that I cannot do it justice in my remarks. Hayles argues that ADHD may mark the first generation of a virtually new kind of human being (191). By means of this almost science fictional hypothesis, the pathology of attention deficit is converted into a new cognitive skill, hyper attention, which is asserted to be more adaptive than its predecessor because it is more able to handle an environment that is now saturated with media stimuli. The crucial change in the environment is precisely the fact of new media; it converts ADHD, analogized to a genetic mistake, into an adaptation. The reservation I raise first is that if Hayless argument rests ultimately on an appeal to evolutionary biology, it relies proximately on a psychological model that is surprisingly not new: stimulus-response. The concept of attention draws along with it an unelaborated stimulus-response model of interaction between mind and world.

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Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory

At this point I move abruptly away from Hayles in order to glance briefly at the prologue to close reading, the work of Richards. In his two great works of the 1920s, Principles of Literary Criticism and Practical Criticism, Richards constructed a psychology of reading on the foundation of the stimulus-response model emerging in Russia by Ivan Pavlov, in the United States by John Watson, and in Britain by Charles Sherrington, author of The Integrative Action of the Nervous System, the work that strongly influenced Richards in Principles of Literary Criticism. This scientific or perhaps quasi-scientific origin of close reading is often forgotten in current accounts of our disciplinary practices, but it is worth recalling when an epilogue to close reading turns out to be written in the same terms as the prologue. Recall the context in which Richards was theorizing. He was hired at Cambridge to teach English literature, a relatively new subject at Cambridge and still suffering from a lack of legitimacy. The field of English was claimed at the time by several quite incompatible parties, the philologists and literary historians on the one side, the belletrists on the other. Members of the former party dominated the discipline and tended to view their scholarship as a version of science, on the model of German Wissenschaft. The belletrists were closer to literary journalists, very well educated but vehemently opposed to the scientific pretensions of their philological colleagues and indeed to scientific culture in general. Although Richards was hired by a noted proponent of belletrism, Arthur QuillerCouch, he was not disposed to regard science with the animus of the belletrists. On the other hand, he did not hold the philologists in great esteem, seeing them as having evaded the problem of judgment, in his view the greatest cultural problem of modernity. His theory puts forward a third way for disciplining literary study. Richards understood his task in teaching Cambridge undergraduates as the training of their literary judgment, which he hoped to put on a surer, scientific footing. The faculty of judgment is what he meant by the term literary criticism in the Principles of Literary Criticism. But judgment, he argued, depended on an underlying cognitive potentiality, which is the focusing of attention in reading. In the famous protocol experiment recorded in his successor volume, Practical Criticism, he demonstrated that his students were poor judges of literature because they were poor readers. They were distracted from the poem on the page by irrelevant associations, or what he called stock responses. Their mode of reading succumbed to the supervention of crude environmental stimuli on the subtler and more complex signals emanating from the literary text. At base, then, the problem of reading could be understood as a matter of attention, of devising tactics for overcoming the inattentive activity of our ordinary reading (297). For this purpose Richards found the psychology of stimulus and response indispensable. Reading could be analyzed as a form of attention, very much what Hayles calls deep attention, a term that we can recognize now as rooted both in the practice of close reading and in the stimulusresponse psychology on which close reading was based. Richardss recourse to psychology was enormously consequential, not the least for the little spatial trope that pervaded his work and was later elevated into a disciplinary term of art: close reading. To quote only one of many instances in which this descriptor appears in Practical Criticism: All respectable poetry invites close reading (195). Still, this term is not yet in Richardss work the same as what we mean by close

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Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory

reading in the disciplinary sense, the sense that governs the development of the discipline between the moments of prologue and epilogue. Richards notoriously offered no positive methodology of reading, only a set of tactics for removing the sources of misreading. The development of positive interpretive techniques came later, with the new Criticism and after. Recalling this point forces us to see the gap between the psychology of reading and reading as a disciplinary practice, the gap that permits us to forget Richardss psychology of reading, to forget that the prologue to close reading crucially involves the question of attention, the very psychological problematic we have seen reemerge in our time, the age of attention deficit disorder. But this echo is more sounding, even deeper, than I have intimated thus far. For Richards the cause of misreading was unquestionably an earlier version of what Hayles calls hyper attentionor, rather, the purely negative version of what she welcomes as a new cognitive skill. The source was the same: new media. We do not see this connection right away because Richards linked the question of attention less to the distinction between writing and other media than to the difference between the high modernist conception of literature and its mass cultural antagonists, whatever their medial form. He argues typically in Principles of Literary Criticism:
People do not much imitate what they see upon the screen or what they read in best-sellers. It would matter little if they did. Such effects would show themselves clearly and the evil would be of a manageable kind. They tend instead to develop stock attitudes and stereotyped ideas of producers: attitudes and ideas which can be put across quickly through a medium that lends itself to crude rather than sensitive handling. (231)

Setting to one side the sonorous elitism of this statement, which so offends contemporary sensibilities, we might hear instead Richardss struggle to understand a continuum within medial proliferation, the link, for example, between the screen and best-sellersnot a simple matter then, and not now. The complexity arises from the highly charged relations among media, which are competitive but also imitative, in either case tending to generate more media. We must note, then, a certain inaccuracy in the notion of a generation M. It would be more faithful to the history of media to say that Richards was already confronting a media generation, a generation M1, and that Hayles is considering a later generation, M2 or possibly even some later iteration. Richards sees his generation as already overwhelmed by a saturated media environment, buffeted by stimuli that produce conditioned responses supervening even on those modernist literary works intended to challenge the conditioned response. So he observes in Practical Criticism that those who are discovering for the first time that poetry can cause them emotion do often, for this very reason, pay little attention to the poetry (248). This sentence still stands up well as a description of how difficult it is to teach close reading to those who have never been asked to read in this waythat is, with what Hayles calls deep attention. It would in my view be better not to blame the difficulty of reading literature today on new media, or on nonliterary writing. Media of themselves do not produce responses of a single, inexorably determined kind. On the contrary, close reading, if it means anything, holds out the possibility that deep attention can be paid to

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Close Reading: Prologue and Epilogue John Guillory

nearly any cultural artifact, even those that seek to impose a stock response on us. Conversely, much of what we mean now by close reading involves, as we all know, resistance to the seductions of the literary work itself, even the great work. In the meantime, we need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that there is an inherent conflict between literature and the new media and that this conflict can be posed as the difference between deep attention and hyper attention, whether we conceive the latter negatively or positively. Literature is a medium too. The attention we pay to literary works is whatever we want to pay to them, or what we are able to pay, or what we have learned to pay. It is only partly, I suggest, a question of what we owe to these works, though to many we certainly owe our deepest, undivided attention. Our attention is distinct from the work, a cognitive potentiality worth cultivating for its own sake. Richards would have endorsed this view, and surely Hayles does too. Works Cited
Hayles, n. Katherine. Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes. Profession (2007): 18799. Print. Moretti, Franco. Conjectures on World Literature. New Left Review Jan. 2000: 5468. Print. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. natl. Endowment for the Arts, June, 2004. Web. 3 nov. 2009. Research Division Rept. 46. Richards, I. A. Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgment. San Diego: Harcourt, 1929. Print. . Principles of Literary Criticism. London: Routledge, 1924. Print. Roberts, Donald F., Ulla G. Foehr, and Victoria Rideout. Generation M: Media in the Lives of 818 YearOlds. Kaiser Family Foundation, Mar. 2005. Web. 3 nov. 2009. Sherrington, Charles Scott. The Integrative Action of the Nervous System. new Haven: Yale UP, 1906. Print. Watson, John B. Behaviorism. new York: Peoples Inst., 1924. Print.

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Close Reading in 2009


Jane Gallop
The author is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. A version of the article was presented at the 2009 ADE-ADFL Summer Seminar East in Providence.

The Fate of Close Reading Let me begin by citing Doug Steward of the ADE, from an e-mail message he sent me this spring concerning our panel: Literature departments regularly cite close reading as a hallmark of their teaching and a distinctive skill of their graduates. While I am heartened to read these words, I know (as do you) that what departments cite as hallmarks may not exactly correspond to what goes on in classrooms, in student and faculty work. When I started teaching, students would come into my classes knowing how to close read, but for more than a decade, many and, perhaps even most students come into my classes not knowing how to close read at all. Im talking about English majors and grad students in English. They show up having learned lots of valuable things, well stocked with knowledge of cultural and social history. But more often than not, although Im not teaching them literature (I teach theorymore about that later), it falls to me to teach them the habit of literary reading. Im more than happy to do it, but these days I often find myself worrying about the fate of close reading. And sometimes about the fate of literary studies. I voiced these worries at the MLA convention in 2006, in a talk published a year later in Profession under the title The Historicization of Literary Studies and the Fate of Close Reading. Allow me briefly to recapitulate a few points from that diatribe before I go on to a calmer, less polemical consideration of close reading. According to the standard histories of English, when the New Critics introduced the methodology called close reading, what it replaced was literary history (the old historicism, we might call it). We became a discipline, so the story goes, when we stopped being amateur historians and became instead painstaking close readers. I would argue that the most valuable thing English ever had to offer was the very thing that made us a discipline, that transformed us from cultured gentlemen into a profession. Not because close reading is necessarily the best way to read literature but because close readinglearned through practice with literary texts, learned in literature classesis a widely applicable skill, of real value to students as well as to scholars in other disciplines. When literary studies broadened into cultural studies, it was through the move to close read nonliterary texts. Looking at the same type of documents that a historian or sociologist might look at, a literary-trained cultural scholar could notice different sorts of things and thus have something original to contribute. If we stop teaching close reading to our students, they will not be able to apply it to other cultural texts. Cultural studies will then become a weaker sort of cultural history, with neither the serious historical methodology in which historians are trained nor the close-reading method in which literary critics used to be trained.
ADE and the Association of Departments of En glish are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2009 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.15, ISSN 00010898

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Back in the day when close reading typified our discipline, other disciplines learned from and borrowed this methodology. If as a discipline we only import and do not export, I fear we will collapse under the weight of our debt. If we persist in becoming second-rate historians, we will lose any rationale for the continued existence of literary studies. The Value of Literary Reading I do not actually teach literature. In the courses I teach, we dont read poetry, drama, or fiction; we read nonfiction prosefor example, Virginia Woolfs A Room of Ones Own, Sigmund Freuds Interpretation of Dreams, Jacques Derridas Of Grammatology, Gayatri Spivaks Other Asias, Dorothy Allisons Skin, Roland Barthess Camera Lucida, Eve Sedgwicks Tendencies, Alice Walkers In Search of Our Mothers Gardensstuff that could loosely be called theory. No matter the text, no matter the topic, in my courses I always teach close reading. I take the sort of reading developed as a way to more fully appreciate literature and apply it to a wider range of texts. You could describe this method as a generalizing of literary reading so that it becomes not the way to read a particular kind of text but a particular way to read all texts. The difference between close reading and the way most people read the sort of texts I teach is that, whereas it is generally agreed that it is the big picture that matters, close reading emphasizes small details. The main idea or general shape of a book is likely to correspond to our preconceptions, but we cannot so easily predict the details. I ask my students to notice surprising or insistent details, because it is there that they are most likely to break free of their preconceptions of what should be in the text. The detail is, I would argue, the best safeguard against projection. When we read, we tend to see what we expect to have been writtenwhat we expect that author to write, what we expect an author like that to write, what we expect from that sort of book. Reading what we expect to find means finding what we already know; learning, on the other hand, means coming to know something we did not know before. Finding what we already know, projecting onto a text, is the opposite of learning. As a technique to interrupt projection, to make us see what we dont already presume, close reading can equip us to be open to learningto resist our presumptions, prejudices, and suppositionsto keep on learning. Given the pace of change, there is no way students can learn everything they will need in life during their formal years of schooling. Thus the most valuable thing they can take from their education is the ability to learn and keep on learning. Close reading is a technique to help them learn better and throughout their lives; it will make them sharper and more adaptable, better prepare them for the surprises thrown in their paths. In the New Critical framework, the value of studying literature lay in literatures intrinsic value, which justified the method of close reading. I suggest here the very opposite: it is the value of close reading that justifies the study of literature.

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Close Reading in 2009 Jane Gallop

Language and Literature In the e-mail message with which I began, Steward talks about literature departments. While we may teach literature, most of us do not teach in literature departments; as the names of the two organizations cosponsoring our joint seminar suggest, most of us work either in English or in foreign language departments. My article in Profession in 2007 speaks of and in the context of English studies because its polemic was ignited by my experience as a member of an English department. However, before joining an English department (nearly two decades ago), I spent over a decade in French departments. I want now to talk about close reading in terms of this particular itinerary. I began the close reading I do as a graduate student in French, reading French theory, unsure if the difficulty I experienced was the theory or the language I had incompletely mastered. Reading in what was not my native language made me much more aware of the words chosen, forced me to grapple with the language, to think about how the thought was embodied in language. When I moved into reading and teaching theory in English, I continued to read in the same way, bringing the awareness of word choice necessitated by my reading of a foreign language into my reading of texts in my native language. I have tried to bring my detour through French into my reading of English, to preserve the awareness of language as unfamiliar, as difficulty, and as pleasure. Reading the MLA Report to the Teagle Foundation, I noted the insistent linking of language and literature, the repetition of that pair as the double name of what we do, as well as statements like The study of language should be integral to the study of literature (6).1 Because I was trained to read literature in a French department, that link was always there for me. French students progressed from language courses to literature courses (the order implying that the latter somehow continued from the former), and struggle with language definitely persisted in literature courses, and in theory courses too. When I moved to an English department, I continued to read and teach reading the same way that I had been doing in French. Although now I called the approach close reading in order to draw on the history of English studies, but I was still practicing a reading in which excessive awareness of language impedes facile comprehension of ideas. Critical Reading English departments these days are more likely to talk of critical reading than close reading and to treat the two as synonyms. I quote again from Stewards e-mail to me:
Literature departments regularly cite close reading as a hallmark of their teaching. . . . [S]tudents may be expected to demonstrate . . . their accumulated knowledge of literature through advanced critical thinking and reading skills. But other disciplines, too, encourage critical thinking and careful scrutiny of printed texts. What is literary about close reading? . . . What set of reading and critical thinking practices is specific to literature departments and defines what our field brings to the interdisciplinary table?

I cite Stewards yoking of close reading and critical thinking because it captures typical English department discourse. A thorough consideration of the relation

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between close reading and critical thinking would be invaluable and is clearly called for but is more than I am presently able to provide. Let me, instead, just quickly propose five theses that could serve as an outline for future inquiry: 1. Close reading can be critical or appreciative and thus can include critical reading but also reading that is far from critical. 2. Critical thinking can include close reading but also other sorts of reading that are far from close; rather, it can involve the identification of broad, systemic, big-picture issues. 3. Critical thinking derives from Kant and the discipline of philosophy (which is why it cannot be specific to the study of literature). 4. The sort of close reading I am here advocating derives from the study of language (historically, philology) and rhetoric; it is focused on language rather than on ideas. 5. Treating close reading as a synonym for critical thinking makes it harder to make claims for our disciplinary contribution. Beyond Comprehension I love our panel title, Beyond Comprehension. I love its double meaning, the evocation of mystery, its implicit critique of comprehension, its sense of comprehension as not an end, the gesture toward a world beyond. Let me end by amplifying this title with three passages. My first passage is from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivaks Death of a Discipline, a book that seems to share my worry about the fate of close reading and especially my worry about the fate of literary studies:
All around us is the clamor for the rational destruction of the figure, the demand for not clarity but immediate comprehensibility by the ideological average. This destroys the force of literature as a cultural good. (71)

In Spivaks view, in political and combative language, we must resist the demand for . . . immediate comprehensibility. Beyond comprehension could become a rallying cry for ideological struggle. My second passage borrows yet again from Stewards extremely helpful e-mail:
Students are often supposed to encounter close reading first in a gateway . . . course to the major, in which they learn that . . . close reading . . . involves an attention to the words on the page that takes understanding beyond comprehension as paraphrase.2

Steward is no doubt intentionally using our panel title here. The reference to a gateway course suggests that far from taking comprehension as an end, we actually begin by moving beyond comprehension. This passage also offers another name for what we are transcending, paraphrase. Close reading, attention to the words on the page, is beyond paraphrase. Stewards paraphrase reminded me of the third thing I want to show you, a passage from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwicks Dialogue on Love. Like Steward, Sedgwick is talking about paraphrase, about the resistance to paraphrase, and at the same time

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she is suggesting an application of literary reading in another discipline, showing us the value of close reading beyond the literature classroom. A Dialogue on Love is her account of her psychotherapy; the passage in question comes from the first chapter, where she and her therapist are just beginning to establish a relationship. There are a number of things I could say about this passage, but instead, as a gesture toward what is beyond comprehension in 2009, I end with Sedgwicks words:
Ive brought my list of demands. No echoing and mirroring please. If I announce, I find no peace, and all my war is done, I fear and hope, I burn and freeze like ice, I dont want him to respond as all my grad school shrinks used to, I think Im hearing some ambivalence in what you say. . . . [W]hen someone paraphrases in that routine way, I feel as though my own words are being set aside, disrespected.3 (78)

Notes
1. This 2009 report by the MLA sought to think about the relationship between the goals and objectives of undergraduate concentrations in their disciplines and those of a liberal education (Executive Summary, Report). 2. I thank Steward for his generosity in sending me his remarks and in allowing me to quote him here. 3. Sedgwick does not identify these lines of poetry, but they appear to come from a sonnet by Sir Thomas Wyatt.

Works Cited
Gallop, Jane. The Historicization of Literary Studies and the Fate of Close Reading. Profession (2007): 18186. Print. Report to the Teagle Foundation on the Undergraduate Major in Language and Literature. Modern Language Association of America. MLA, Feb. 2009. Web. 17 Nov. 2009. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. A Dialogue on Love. Boston: Beacon, 1999. Print. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia UP, 2003. Print. Steward, Doug. Message to the author. 24 Apr. 2009. E-mail.

ADE Bulletin Number 149, 2010

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The Closeness of Close Reading


Jonathan Culler
The author is Class of 16 Professor of English and chair of Romance Studies at Cornell University. A version of the article was presented at the 2009 ADE-ADFL Summer Seminar East in Providence.

In many English departments, and I daresay foreign language departments as well, the practice of close reading, of examining closely the language of a literary work or a section of it, has been something we take for granted, as a sine qua non of literary study, a skill that we expect our students to master and that we certainly expect of job candidates, whatever other sorts of critical activities they may flamboyantly display. But perhaps precisely because we do generally agree to value it, we have not given it much thought recently, at least not in broad public critical discussion. as a good Saussurian, I believe that meaning is the product of differencesany term is defined by what it is opposed toso to think about close reading one should begin with what it is contrasted with. We dont really seem to have an antonym for close reading, which may be part of the problem. The most obvious might be Franco morettis distant reading, but this is scarcely reading at all: morettis fascinating analyses of large-scale trends, whether in the spread of genres across Europe, the publication of translations, the length of titles of novels, or marriage patterns in Jane austens novels, provide extremely valuable perspectives in literary studies but are too divergent from regular modes of literary analysis to serve in a defining contrast.1 This distant reading would turn any sort of attention to an individual text into close reading. Perhaps what contrasts with close reading is not distant reading but something like sloppy reading, or casual reading, an assessment of life and works, or even thematic interpretation or literary history. The fact that we have difficulty saying what close reading is opposed to suggests that it has served as a slogan more than as a name for a particular definable practice. In a book that does propose an alternative practice, Distant Reading: Performance, Readership, and Consumption in Contemporary Poetry, Peter middleton calls close reading our contemporary term for a heterogeneous and largely unorganized set of practices and assumptions (5).2 There are indeed different traditions of close reading: practices inherited from anglo-american new Criticism and those that derive from the French tradition of explication de texte, as well as more recent versions of deconstructive, rhetorical, and psychoanalytic reading. a recent volume collecting distinguished examples of close reading emphasizes that while the practice is associated with the formalism of the new Criticism, critics of historicist and other persuasions have also practiced close attention to the language, tone, and figures of a text (Lentricchia and Dubois). In the English department at Cornell, people do very different things with literature, but we all seem to subscribe or at least pay lip service to the idea that close reading is important to what we do, and it is always pertinent criticism of a job candidate to say that in the end his or her writing samples do not include much close reading or that he or she does not really do close reading. Close reading, like motherhood and apple pie, is something we are all in favor of, even if what we do when we think we are doing close reading is very different.
ADE and the Association of Departments of En glish are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.20, ISSN 00010898

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middletons formulation, a heterogeneous and largely unorganized set of practices and assumptions, seems to presume that close reading ought to be a more homogeneous and organized practice. Whether that is so or not, we should at least reflect on our assumptions and what we believe the practice is. I think above all that we cannot just take close reading for granted, especially as we welcome into the university a generation of students raised in instant messaging, where language becomes a crude, ever more abbreviated code for communicating minimal information. Let me turn, as a point of departure for thinking about close reading, to a description of the practice offered by an immigrant who came to the United States after the Second World War and experienced close reading in a well-known literature course in a humanities program. In an essay whose title, The Return to Philology, provides an unlikely genealogy for close reading (philology, after all, was what medievalists who refused really to read were thought to practice), Paul de man describes the approach of Reuben Browers Hum 6 course at Harvard, a multisection course that attracted the most talented teaching assistants, eager to work with the distinctive kind of literary experience generated in this course, in a department where otherwise traditional literary history was the norm. De man writes:
Students, as they began to write, were not to say anything that was not derived from the text they were considering. They were not to make any statements that they could not support by a specific use of language that actually occurred in the text. They were asked, in other words, to begin by reading texts closely as texts and not to move at once into the general context of human experience or history. much more humbly or modestly, they were to start out from the bafflement that such singular turns of tone, phrase, and figure were bound to produce in readers attentive enough to notice them and honest enough not to hide their non-understanding behind the screen of received ideas that often passes, in literary instruction, for humanistic knowledge. This very simple rule, surprisingly enough, had far-reaching didactic consequences. I have never known a course by which students were so transformed. (23)

This passage from The Return to Philology hints at the radical nature of close reading, achieved through the analytical rigor of attention to the philological or rhetorical devices of language. The results of this pedagogical decision were startling, de man reported:
mere reading, it turns out, prior to any theory, is able to transform critical discourse in a manner that would appear deeply subversive to those who think of the teaching of literature as a substitute for the teaching of theology, ethics, psychology, or intellectual history. Close reading accomplishes this often in spite of itself because it cannot fail to respond to structures of language which it is the more or less secret aim of literary teaching to keep hidden. (24)

De man describes accurately some of the effects of a certain kind of close reading, especially in an academic context where literary study concentrated primarily on the description of how works belonged to a literary period or expressed the underlying thought of a great author. When I was an undergraduate at Harvard, some years later, this course and courses taught by young faculty members who had worked in it, were seen as the most serious, most engaged examples of literary studyby contrast, say, with Walter Jackson Bates lecture courses on the greatness of Keats,

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or of Dr. Johnson, who actually sounded rather similar in his account of their deep commitment to fundamental human values. De mans description helpfully conveys one thing that is crucial to the practice of close reading: a respect for the stubbornness of texts, which resist easy comprehension or description in terms of expected themes and motifs. The close reader needs to be willing to take seriously the difficulties of singular, unexpected turns of phrase, juxtapositions, and opacity. Close reading teaches an interest in the strangeness or distinctiveness of individual works and parts of works. But the emphases in de mans description on bafflement might be taken to suggest that the goal of close reading is to determine the meaning, to produce an interpretation. In fact, the work of close reading is not primarily to resolve difficulties but above all to describe them, to elucidate their source and implications. I would stress that close reading need not involve detailed interpretation of literary passages (though there is plenty of that around in close reading, especially when the texts in question are difficult to understand), but especially attention to how meaning is produced or conveyed, to what sorts of literary and rhetorical strategies and techniques are deployed to achieve what the reader takes to be the effects of the work or passage. Thus it involves poetics as much as hermeneutics. But the passage from de man does disservice to the discussion of close reading in one important respect. It makes it sound as though all you need is a negative discipline, a refusal to leap to the kind of paraphrases one has been led to expect, so that effective close reading requires no technique or training, only an avoidance of bad or dubious training. The suggestion seems to be that if one strips away these bad habits and simply encounters the text, without preconceptions, close reading will occur. If, as de man puts it, you are attentive and honest, close reading cannot fail to respond to structures of language that most literary education strives to keep hidden. attention is important but not, alas, enough. Readers can always fail to respondthough then de man might not want to dignify the practice with the name of reading. It is our conception of close reading as a fundamental practice that makes us want to believe that it can occur without explicit instruction. as soon as we come up with accounts of particular operations students should carry out or steps they should follow, we fear that we are producing something like doctrine about the functioning of literary works and steps of a critical method. We want to believe that close reading is something more basic, more fundamental, than theories of literature or critical methodologies. Hence, perhaps, our willingness to allow that there are various different ways to do close readingif we insisted that there was one correct way, we would clearly be championing a particular method or critical orientation and a particular vision of literature. But responding to language and textual details is not something that takes place automatically or necessarily. Instruction is necessary. Though new Critics were themselves often disdainful of textbooks, which they saw as crude or mechanical, in the heyday of the new Criticism, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warrens Understanding Poetry and then Laurence Perrines Sound and Sense provided instruction in the things to look out for and questions to ask when confronted with a poem, and they did much to establish an orthodoxy of close reading. more frequently, though,

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The Closeness of Close Reading Jonathan Culler

close reading was taught by example. Certainly one reason students were enthusiastic about Reuben Browers course, Hum 6, where there was no textbook, was that they could learn, both from Browers lectures and from talented section leaders in small discussion groups, how to ask new questions about the functioning of language in texts and how to come up with observations that were surprising in an educational context where broad literary historical remarks were the norm. The charismatic pedagogue could pose a question you had not thought of about relations between form and meaning or point to a textual difficulty that had escaped your notice but that would repay reflection and discussion. Seeing teachers do things with texts that did not just happen naturally when you confronted the text yourself was crucial to the success of this course. Students learned not just to avoid the moves made in other courses but also and especially to make other sorts of moves and attend to puzzles and difficulties that they might earlier have been inclined to ignore or gloss over. Partly because of our resistance to textbooks for literary study and explicit instructions, there exists a wide range of practices of close reading or, as middleton called it, a heterogeneous and largely unorganized set of practices. The crucial thing is to slow down, though slow reading is doubtless a less useful slogan than either slow food or close reading, since slow reading may be inattentive, distracted, lethargic. Close asks for a certain myopiaa Verfremdungseffekt. It enjoins looking at rather than through the language of the text and thinking about how it is functioning, finding it puzzling. Barbara Johnson writes:
Teaching literature is teaching how to read. How to notice things in a text that a speed-reading culture is trained to disregard, overcome, edit out, or explain away; how to read what the language is doing, not guess what the author was thinking; how to take in evidence from a page, not seek a reality to substitute for it. (140)

In her essay Teaching Deconstructively, she provides, with an unusually bold explicitness, a series of examples of different kinds of signifying conflicts or tensions that students should look for in passages they are studying: ambiguous words, undecidable syntax, incompatibilities between what a text says and what it does, incompatibilities between the literal and the figurative, incompatibilities between explicitly foregrounded assertions and illustrative examples, and so on. Such attention involves a careful teasing out of the warring forces of signification that are at work within the text itself (141). There are all sorts of ways of achieving closeness in reading. Very different from Johnsons mode is memorizationunfashionable these days but one way to become intimate with the language of the text. Helen Vendler remarks that musicians learn the pieces they are going to perform and that critics should not shy away from learning by heart the poems they are discussing, since this exercise gives a sense of how elements of the language fit together. a strategy modeled by Roland Barthes in S/Z is to oblige students to comment on every clause in a passage, identifying the codes at work in producing whatever meaning they take to be at play there and in the connections between elements of this passage and those elsewhere in the text. The virtue of such quasi-mechanical systematicity is to compel a different sort of attention. a related procedure is promoting close reading of Shakespeare, as marjorie Garber has

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done, using George Puttenhams The Art of English Poesy, a Renaissance rhetorical treatise, and requiring students to find examples of the tropes Puttenham describes. The goal is to estrange reading, to give it a different optic. another artificial way of slowing down reading and producing effects of closeness is translation. This is how literature used to be taught, of course: the class collectively translated Vergil or Horace, line by line, learning along the way about rhetorical structures and figures and things such as mythological allusions. There would be little enthusiasm for bringing back this sort of class, but as a strategy for encouraging attention to the details of a text, it has its merits. Certainly working with translation, which is anathema in many foreign literature classes, is an excellent way to enforce slow and close reading, of texts in languages students are learning as well as texts in their native languages. This range of possibilities raises questions about the nature of the closeness of close reading. In Le plaisir du texte Barthes imagines a typology of pleasures based on reading neuroses: the fetishist treasures the fragment or turn of phrase; the obsessional is a manipulator of metalanguages and glosses; the paranoid a deep interpreter, seeker of hidden meanings; and the hysteric an enthusiast who abandons all distance to throw himself or herself into the text (Pleasure 63). The fetishist and the paranoid illustrate quite different modes of closeness, as do the diverse varieties of what has been called symptomatic reading, which may attend closely to the language of the text in order to detect ideological complicities or psychological investments, where a textual detail is a sign of some larger historical or psychological reality. The notion of closeness might alert us to the importance, for the practice of close reading, of remaining close to the language of the text, even when it is made to serve as a metalanguage, as in the work of Jacques Derrida, for example, instead of treating the portions of a text that have been closely examined as markers for a reading whose interests lie altogether elsewhere. It may become especially important to reflect on the varieties of close reading and even to propose explicit models, in an age where new electronic resources make it possible to do literary research without reading at all: find all the instances of the words beg and beggar in novels by two different authors and write up your conclusions. In Sollers crivain, Barthes suggests that there are five modes of reading Sollers, reading in different keys, as it were: en piqu, en pris, en droul, en rase-mottes, and en plein-ciel, which might be rendered as a spearing reading, a savoring reading, an unrolling reading, a nose to the ground reading, and a full horizon reading (75). The deeply engaged savoring and the word-by-word nose-to-the-ground modes would be versions of close reading, as opposed to the opportunistic spearing of tasty morsels, the swift following of the plot in the unrolling mode, and the synoptic overview of full-horizon reading. Though this particular typology does not seem especially promising, its example might serve as a stimulus to better thought out and more copiously exemplified typologies. We would be better equipped to value and to promote close reading if we had a more finely differentiated sense of its modes and a more vivid account of all the types of nonclose reading with which it contrasts and that give it salience, making it more than something desirable that is taken for granted.

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Notes
1. For genres and translations, see moretti, Atlas and Graphs; for titles, see moretti, Style; and for austen, see moretti, Atlas. 2. middleton argues that the recognition of the diverse contexts in which poems are encountered is not irrelevant to their meaning and that reading should take the measure of the distances poems have traveled. His distant thus need not contrast with close reading, since attention to the various distant contexts in which the poems words are encountered can serve an analysis of the words on the page.

Works Cited
Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text. Trans. Richard miller. new york: Hill, 1975. Print. Trans. of Le plaisir du texte. . Sollers crivain. Paris: Seuil, 1979. Print. . S/Z. Trans. Richard miller. new york: Hill, 1975. Print. Brooks, Cleanth, and Robert Penn Warren. Understanding Poetry: An Anthology for College Students. new york: Henry Holt, 1938. Print. de man, Paul. The Return to Philology. The Resistance to Theory. minneapolis: U of minnesota P, 1986. 2126. Print. Johnson, Barbara. Teaching Deconstructively. Writing and Reading Differently. Ed. G. Douglas atkins and m. L. Johnson. Lawrence: U of Kansas P, 1986. 14048. Print. Lentricchia, Frank, and andrew Dubois, eds. Close Reading: The Reader. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. Print. middleton, Peter. Distant Reading: Performance, Readership, and Consumption in Contemporary Poetry. Tuscaloosa: U of alabama P, 2005. Print. moretti, Franco. An Atlas of the European Novel, 18001900. London: Verso, 1998. Print. . Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History. London: Verso, 2005. Print. . Style, Inc.: Reflections on Seven Thousand Titles (British novels, 17401850). Critical Inquiry 36 (2009): 13458. Print. Perrine, Laurence. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. new york: Harcourt, 1956. Print. Puttenham, George. The Art of English Poesy. Ed. Frank Wigham and Wayne Rebhorn. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2007. Print. Vendler, Helen. The Art of Shakespeares Sonnets. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1999. Print.

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National Literatures in an Age of Globalization


David Damrosch
The author is professor of literature and comparative literature at Harvard University. A version of the article was presented at the 2009 ADE Summer Seminar West in Las Vegas.

IN OUR world of worldwide webs and transnational flows, how adequate is the category of national literature as a primary means to shape our courses and our research? As early as 1827, Goethe promoted the idea of world literature by asserting that national literature today is now rather an unmeaning term; the epoch of world literature is at hand, and everyone must strive to hasten its approach (Goethe 23). Today we live in the global world that Goethe foresaw. Are our separate literature departments ossified relics of nineteenth-century nation building, with its tendentious equating of a nation with a national language? Should we relegate the concepts of British and American literature to the ash heap of history and embrace the expansive world of global English, post-postcoloniality, even planetarity? A dyed-in-the-wool comparatist myself, I might have been tempted to think so but for the crucial role that British literature played in the formation of my transnational interests. I can even identify the specific author who sent me beyond the Anglo-American sphere: in the fall of 1967, Laurence Sterne made me a comparatist. I was then a restless ninthgrader, andeither to inspire me or to quiet me downmy English teacher, Miss Staats, gave me a copy of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and sent me off to the library to read it. The book bowled me over; I thought it was the most extraordinary thing Id ever read, and I longed to read more like it. What better guide for further reading than Sternes entrancing narrator? Tristram is never shy about voicing the opinions that leave him so little time to record his life, and he offers warm endorsements of his authors of choice. Had he recommended Chaucer and Defoe, I might well have become an English professor like my admired older brother, Leo. But instead of evoking English forebears, Tristram names his favorite authors as my dear Rabelais, and dearer Cervantes (169). So I went out and bought them, in the Penguin Classics translations by J. M. Cohen, and the die was cast. There was nothing anomalous in Tristrams testimony, since writers often read a great deal of foreign literature, sometimes even in preference to their own. With very few exceptions (Old Kingdom Egypt, Sumerian literature up to the Old Babylonian Period), individual literatures are never chthonic self-creations; they take shape in an international framework. Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett already emphasized this point in 1886 in his pioneering study Comparative Literature. There Posnett traced the growth of literature from the clan to the tribe to the city-state and ultimately to the nation. He included a chapter on world literaturebut not at the end: he placed it before his chapter on national literature, insisting that Goethe was wrong to see world literature as a newly emergent phenomenon. He argued that a true world literature first arose in the Hellenistic world under the Roman Empire, long before the birth of the modern nation-state. He was surely right in this, and yet the converse is also true: as distinct national cultures and national markets have developed in the modern era, world literature has come increasingly to be sustained in them, taking
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different forms and serving different purposes in the different cultural spheres in which it is published, marketed, and read. The subsuming of the world in the nation can be illustrated by my first forays beyond Tristram Shandy. Having devoured Gargantua and Pantagruel and Don Quixote, I wanted more where they came from, and where they came from was the Penguin Classics series that filled a bookcase in my local bookstore in midtown Manhattan. I vaguely knew that Rabelais was a Frenchman and Cervantes a Spaniard, but I had never been abroad and had no idea what people might read in France along with Rabelais or which Spanish writers would follow logically from Cervantes. Even had I wanted to, I could hardly have bought most of the books that Rabelais praises (On the Dignity of Codpieces, for instance), and since Cervantes seemed to want to burn most of the books he was parodying, I needed some other source of advice on what to read next. So I turned to the list of titles advertised at the back of the Penguinsthe great English series presenting the foreign (mostly European) works deemed likely to appeal to English and American readers, in solid translations tuned to the pitch of mid-century British literary style. Hoping to find another classic comedic narrative, I settled on a promising titleThe Divine Comedyand went and got the three-volume Penguin edition. I soon discovered that Dorothy Sayerss heavily annotated translation wasnt quite the thigh-slapper Id been expecting, but I was hooked. I carried on from there to Gogol, pleasantly surprised to find in Dead Souls the worldly comedy Id been denied by Dante. The world lay all before me, in the Madison Avenue bookstore next to my school bus stop. National literatures and world literature support each other in a kind of biofeedback loop, and the age of globalization gives us an opportunity to consider their dialectical relation in a fresh way. The global gains particularity and cultural weight in the process, and the category of the national becomes newly intriguing when it is seen in its dynamic relation to the transnational. Considering them together can help us dismantle the artificial barriers weve too often erected between national groupings, such as British versus American literature, or American versus Canadian literature (almost always, as Foucault would expect, to the disadvantage of the trailing term in the binary opposition). The globalization of English studies has begun to blur these boundaries and their tacit hierarchies, but we still have quite a way to go. We have habitually construed our national traditions in narrow and inconsistent terms, playing a double game of language and geography that has policed internal and external boundaries alike. Our departments, survey courses, and scholarship have too often carried on reflexively the nineteenth-century equation between nation and national language. For nations in which various languages were spoken, creating this equation meant marginalizing the minority languages or repressing them outright. In the British Isles, English literature was defined linguistically as literature written in English: no Irish or Welsh needed to be studied, and even translations from those literatures were rarely given serious attention outside small, specialized coteries. Until recently, American literature survey courses rarely included works written in Spanish, French, Yiddish, or Navajo. Conversely, on reaching the nations borders, we would change our tune: now the literary field suddenly became geographic and not linguistic at all, a shift that could enable us to cordon off American literature as a fundamentally

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separate entity from British or Canadian or Caribbean literature. In many regions, the geographic imperative could then influence language: if a language was too obviously transnational, the narcissism of small differences could be played up to turn dialects into separate languages. By this process Danish and Norwegian emerged around 1900 from a common Dano-Norwegian stock; in the 1920s H. L. Mencken became a best-selling author for his engaging, jingoistic studies of the American language; and, with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1980s, Serbo-Croatian was dismembered into the suddenly separate Serbian and Croatian languages. Multilingualism is becoming recognized as an important feature of American and British literary culture alike, but we are only just beginning to do justice to the true transnationalism of our national traditions. In what follows, I explore the consequences of our reconceiving national literatures in a thoroughgoing way, basing membership not on a fatherlands Muttersprache or on authors passports but on their works effective presence in a nations literary culture. We have always recognized a favored few migrant authors in national literary space: T. S. Eliot is regularly included in anthologies of British literature, even as Americanists justifiably continue to claim him as one of their own. And why not? Though he was born and raised in Saint Louis and received crucial intellectual formation during his years at Harvard, he made his career in England and even became a British citizen, exerting a tremendous influence on British literary life through his poetry, his criticism, and his editorial work for Faber and Faber. Yet what of Marie de France? Though this major medieval writer also made her career in London, and though she drew heavily on British Arthurian themes in her lais, for many decades she remained a wholly owned subsidiary of French departments, simply because she wrote in Anglo-Norman and not Anglo-Saxon or Middle English. This despite the fact that her very name means Marie from Francea name that no writer active in France would ever have had. Our literary-historical monolingualism was actually never total. Though Mores Utopia was written in Latin and published in Holland, it has regularly been understood as part of English literature, and the King James Version of the Bible is celebrated as a masterpiece of Renaissance English prose and verse. Yet such exceptions have been few and far between. If we attend to what was being published and read in a given time and place, we will often find that the national literary space includes a far higher proportion of imported works than our survey courses allow. It is little wonder that Tristram Shandy preferred Don Quixote over such works as The Canterbury Tales or Beowulf, so foundational for the English national tradition as construed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Cervantes was far more widely read in eighteenth-century England than was Chaucer, let alone Beowulf, whose sole surviving manuscript had yet to be discovered by a visiting Icelandic scholar seeking Scandinavian material. Translations, as one translator noted in 1654, swarm more . . . then ever (Sauer 276), and from the sixteenth century until Sternes day and beyond, Spanish and French romances and plays often outnumbered homegrown productions in London booksellers shops. Their plots, themes, and imagery made their way into English-language writing in much the same way as local material did, adopted by writers who did not cordon off translated works in a mental folder

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separate from English-language originals. In this connection, it may be recalled that Mores Utopia is indebted not only to Platos Republic but also to the peninsular literature of travel and exploration: More casts his narrative in the form of conversationsin Antwerpwith Raphael Hythlodaeus, a Portuguese sailor who supposedly traveled to Brazil with Amerigo Vespucci and then embarked on his own for further explorations around the globe. Beginning in the colonial period, the transatlantic book trade reinforced the interplay of the local and foreign in the British and nascent American national traditions. The growing field of transatlantic English studies is deepening our sense of the binational quality of Anglo-American literature from the seventeenth century onward, but here too more should be done to take into account the full range of literatures being written and read in North America as well as Englandkeeping in mind that Mexico is part of North America, even as substantial parts of the American West and Southwest were long part of colonial New Spain. An influential colonial author such as Bartolom de Las Casas should rightfully be seen as part of both American and British literature. In the original Spanish, his Brevsima relacin de la destruccin de las Indias (1552; Succinct Account of the Destruction of the Indies) is a major work on colonial Mexico and the Caribbean; in English translation, it circulated in England and the American colonies during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with literary as well as political results. Of particular interest is the second English translation of the text, published in 1656 (fig. 1). The translator, John Phillips, who was also an early translator of Don Quixote, evidently undertook the translation of Las Casas at the request of his uncle, John Milton, who had paid for his education, treating him almost as an adopted son. The Brevsima relacin had been translated several decades before, but a new version would be useful to Oliver Cromwell as he sought to counter Spanish hegemony in the New World. Having failed to do so by direct actionthe Spanish soundly defeated a fleet he sent to the Caribbean in 1654Cromwell turned to textual means. In 1655 he published A Declaration of His Highness, by the Advice of His Council, Setting Forth . . . the Justice of Their Cause against Spain, a tract that Milton translated into Latin for foreign consumption. Soon afterward, Phillips was commissioned to translate Las Casas as part of the propaganda effort to highlight the evils of Spanish misrule. In an illuminating article, Toleration and Translation: The Case of Las Casas, Phillips, and Milton, Elizabeth Sauer notes that in the introduction to his translation, Phillips echoes language that his uncle had employed in his Observations on the Cruelties of the Irish, a tract that Milton wrote in support of Cromwells violent suppression of the Irish rebellion of 1641. To a modern eye, Englands Irish subjects might seem more readily parallel to the Amerindians than to the conquistadors, but to Milton and Cromwell the common term was Catholicism, and they sought to combat the insidiously spreading power of the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire then governed by Spains monarchs. In translating the Brevsima relacin, Phillips played up the human drama of the Spanish practices denounced by Las Casas. The Destruction of the Indies the regionbecomes The Tears of the Indians, and on his title page Mexico is subordinated to the large-type Wet Indies, the area of primary English concern.

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The translation is illustrated with a frontispiece giving a pornography of violence (fig. 2). Its caption makes explicit the link between politics and religion. The conquistadors are shown conducting an inquisition for Bloud, and the hapless natives in the lower left panel sink under the weight of a great anchor, at once the image of Spanish naval power and a religious Ancora Spei. The natives are lashed by a demonic Spaniard, as though they are Jesus struggling to carry his cross to Golgotha. The persistent imagery of fire in all four panels strengthens the association between conquistadors and the devils infernal henchmen, visually echoing Phillipss preface, which declares that it hath been the Satanical Scope of the Tyrant, To set all the European Provinces at Variance, and to keep them busie at home, that they might not have leisure to bend their Forces against his Golden Regions (Sauer 27980). Furthering the satanic theme, the strung-up body parts in the lower left panel associate the Spanish with the cannibalistic Aztec priests, widely viewed as minions of the devil in his Mexican guise of Huitzilopochtli, god of war. One Spaniard is even shown cutting the heart out of his dismembered victim, Aztec-style. The overall effect of Phillipss presentation is very different from that of the Spanish original. For all the severity of Las Casass critique of the conquistadors excesses, his was a plea for reform within the Spanish imperial project. In Phillipss hands, his book became something very different: a wholesale denunciation of Spanish rule, even of Catholic culture at largea radical revision that would have shocked Las Casas himself. If Phillips drew on his uncles tracts in framing his translation, The Tears of the Indians became a resource for Milton in turn, inflecting his portrayal of Satan in Paradise Lost. Often seen in terms of classical paganism, Miltons Satan is closely associated as well with Catholic imperialism. In book 4 of Paradise Lost, Satan voyages from hell to the boundless Continent of Earth, where he hopes to increase his Honor and Empire with revenge enlargd, / By conquering this new World (4.39091). The tears of the Indians come to the fore as Adam and Eve contemplate their fallen bodies in their newly sewn clothing:
O how unlike To that first naked Glory. Such of late Columbus found th American so girt With featherd Cincture, naked else and wild Among the Trees on Isles and woody Shores. Thus fencd, and as they thought, thir shame in part Coverd, but not at rest or ease of Mind, They sat them down to weep, nor only Tears Rained at their Eyes, but high Winds worse within Began to rise, high Passions, Anger, Hate, Mistrust, Suspicion, Discord. . . .

(9.111424)

The tears of Adam and Eve, brought about by a Hispanized Satan, are the mirror image of the tears of the Indians caused by Phillipss satanic Spanish monarch, sower of discord in Europe in order to keep rivals away from his New World possessions. As Sauer says:
The dialectical process of Englands identity formation was decisively shaped through its religious, cultural, political and economic relations with Spain. . . .

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Textual representation, appropriation, and translation serve . . . as vital but neglected forms of nationhood. (286)

In this perspective, The Tears of the Indians is as much an English as a Spanish work, significantly reframed by Phillips in tone and in cultural-political intent for its English audience. Such national reframing often happens at the hands of a works foreign translators and publishers, but it can also be accomplished directly by authors themselves. A good illustration of such reframing is a modern author who crossed the Atlantic repeatedly, like Las Casas before him, no longer in the service of empire but to cultivate his dual readerships in England and America. I refer to P. G. Wodehouse, who shuttled back and forth between London and New York in the 1920s and 1930s to assist in productions of his plays and to keep up his contacts with British and American publishers. Ive written previously about his breakthrough success in 1915 in describing English country life for American readers and New York gang warfare for British readers (Damrosch 21013), but I have only recently come to realize just how nationally attuned his self-repositioning really was. Particularly relevant here is Wodehouses 1926 story The Clicking of Cuthbert, which directly illustrates the cocreation of the national and the international. In this story, a gloomy Russian novelist named Vladimir Brusiloff is making a lecture tour in America, his gloom profoundly deepened by the fact that at every stop he is assailed by ambitious, indistinguishable young novelists who insist on reading their manuscripts to him. Coming to a reception at the literary club hosted by a suburban society matron, Mrs. Smethurst, he rebuffs all attempts at sociability, his natural taciturnity increased by his discomfort with English (He gave the impression that each word was excavated from his interior by some up-to-date process of mining [392]). The hero of the story, Cuthbert Banksa talented golfer, recent winner of the French Open, but with no interest at all in literaturehas come to this grim event solely in hopes of impressing Mrs. Smethursts niece, Adeline. She, however, is smitten with an up-and-coming literary lion, Raymond Parsloe Devine. Significantly, Adeline informs Cuthbert that Devines claim to fame is his vaunted internationalism:
Mr. Devine, replied Adeline, blushing faintly, is going to be a great man. Already he has achieved much. The critics say that he is more Russian than any other young American writer. And is that good? Of course its good. I should have thought the wheeze would be to be more American than any other young American writer. Nonsense! Who wants an American writer to be American? Youve got to be Russian or Spanish or something to be a real success. (388)

Interestingly, Wodehouse continues to register the long reach of peninsular prestige, as had More and Sterne before him: in expecting an American writer to be Spanish or something, Adeline is vaguely recalling a recent talk at the club, The NeoScandinavian Movement in Portuguese Literaturea perfect Wodehousian touch, that Neo (389).

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Confident that he will shine before the visiting Russian, Devine waxes eloquent in praise of the novelists Nastikoff and Sovietski; yet he has not reckoned with the fact that, like many writers, Brusiloff despises his national rivals, admiring only the safely dead Tolstoi. Brusiloff roundly declares that I spit me of Sovietski and Nastikoff worse than Sovietski, and then in a startlingly metafictional moment he reveals that the only contemporary writer he esteems is Wodehouse himself: P. G. Wodehouse and Tolstoi not bad. Not good, but not bad. No novelists any good except me (392 94). Humiliated, young Devine retreats in shame. It is too much to say that there was a dead silence, the narrator observes; there could never be that in any room in which Vladimir Brusiloff was eating cake (394). The way is now clear for Cuthbert to make his mark on the gathering and thereby win Adelines admiration. Lacking any literary knowledge, however, Cuthbert is at a loss to enter into the conversation, but then Brusiloff asks a question that his cultured hostess cannot quite comprehend. Mrs. Smethurst has inquired whether he met many prominent Americans during his lecture tour, and Brusiloff mentions having met several, but then expresses his regret that I not meet your real great menyour Volterragin, your Veener Sirahzen. . . . Have you ever met Votterragin and Veener Sirahzen? (395). Mrs. Smethurst is ashamed that she doesnt recognize these names, apparently of two American writers shes never heard of. Her problem is partly linguisticBrusiloffs heavily accented English mangles the namesbut also cultural, for Mrs. Smethurst knows nothing of the cultural sphere that Brusiloff has in mind. It turns out that Brusiloff is a golfing enthusiast, and the mystery men are two of Americas leading golfers, Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen. In the entire gathering, only Cuthbert knows their names. He diffidently steps forward to solve the riddle, and mentions that he has often played with Hagen and was partnered with Sarazen in last years Open (395). Finally Brusiloff comes to life, delighted to have met the famous Cootaboot Banks, and takes Cuthbert aside to trade stories about putting (It was one day I play at Nijni-Novgorod with the pro, against Lenin and Trotsky . . . [396]). Adeline looks on, love glowing in her eyes, and wedding bells will soon follow. I have long admired this story for Wodehouses skill at mixing varieties of global English, but I have only recently come to realize how nationally specific the story is as well. On downloading a generous selection of Wodehouse works onto my Kindle, I discovered that the MobileRerefence Works of P. G. Wodehouse contains a very different version of The Clicking of Cuthbert. In that version, the story is not set in America but in England, and Raymond Parsloe Devines Russianness makes him more English than any other writer. This is surprising: Wodehouse regularly published his books on both sides of the Atlantic, often with new titles and adjusted spelling, but ordinarily a British setting would remain British and an American setting would remain American. Why this change of national tradition? The plot hinges on Cuthberts ability to disentangle Brusiloffs slurred names, and the humor of the scene depends on the readers amused recognition of the prominent golfers once Cuthbert decodes Brusiloffs utterance. If we failed to recognize the golfers names, we would be relegated to the unfortunate position of the clueless Mrs. Smethurst, a figure of mockery in the story. Evidently Wodehouse felt that he couldnt count on his readers on one side of the Atlantic to recognize the names of

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golfers on the other side. And so in the English version Brusiloff inquires not about Volterragin and Veener Sirahzen but about Arbmishel and Arreevadon, whom Cuthbert identifies as Abe Mitchell and Harry Vardon. In the service of this local specificity, Wodehouse shifted his story across the Atlantic (either from America to England or vice versa, depending on the order of publication), enrolling Devine in his new readers national literature. It is clear, then, that however faux Russian or neo-Portuguese Devine may be, the transatlantic Wodehouse himself was keenly aware of the national specificity of his different audiences. The Clicking of Cuthbert is thus very clearly a work of British literature in one of its versions and of American literature in its other incarnation, much as Las Casass Brevsima relacin becomes a British work in Phillipss version. A T. S. Eliot in reverse, Wodehouse deserves to be considered an American as well as a British writer. He spent more years living in the United States than in England, published widely in American magazines from 1915 on, and even became an American citizen. Yet to my knowledge, he is found exclusively in British literary guides and anthologies and not in American ones. To see Wodehouse in this double way would be an improvement over the narrow nationalism that is still far too prevalent in our literary studies, but we can also cast our net more broadly, conceiving of our national traditions as including works on a broad spectrum of national and linguistic belonging. From the time Lolita hit the best-seller lists in the mid-1950s, Vladimir Nabokov has been recognized as an American as well as a Russian writer. American studies of Nabokov regularly take into account his earlier Russian-language works, which themselves entered American literary culture once they were translated by Dmitri Nabokov under his fathers watchful eye. Yet what of Marguerite Yourcenar? Like Wodehouse and Nabokov, she immigrated to the United States relatively early in her adulthood, and she spent most of her working life in this country. She never shifted from French to English, however, and continued to set her novels and memoirs in Europe. It is understandable that her French and Belgian identities should predominate over her experience in her adopted country, but we misrepresent her work, and the American literary culture of her era, if we consider her exclusively as an eternal European. In 1939 Yourcenar moved to the United States, where she lived for the dozen years preceding the publication of her masterwork, Mmoires dHadrien (1951), a book she had begun years before in France but then set aside, returning to it in 1949. I have earlier argued that we shouldnt gauge a national literature simply by writers passports, but in fact Yourcenar became an American citizen in 1947, and so she was indeed an American writer, legally speaking, when she composed her most famous work; she continued to live primarily in Northeast Harbor, Maine, until her death in 1987. Like Marie de France before her, she has been discussed almost exclusively by French scholars, who tend to treat her American sojourn as a charming aberration in a cultural wasteland that can have had no significant impact on her writing. Yet Yourcenar not only lived with her American lover, Grace Frick, for four decades but also traveled widely in the United States, praising its expansive breadth to her friends. If I were you I would start by hitchhiking to San Antonio or San Francisco, she wrote to one friend. It takes time to get to know this great country,

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at once so spread out and so secret (Savigneau 197). She collected African American spirituals in the South and translated a volumes worth of them, published under the title Fleuve profond, sombre rivire (1964). She made a French translation of Henry Jamess What Maisie Knew, published in 1947, and later translated James Baldwin. These active relations to American literature and culture go largely undiscussed by Yourcenars French critics and are completely neglected by Americanists, who have never to my knowledge published a single article about her. Yet it is likely that Yourcenars American experiences enriched her meditations on Hadrians far-flung empire and informed her heros bemused tolerance of minority populations such as the Jews in Roman Judea. Living in Connecticut and teaching at Sarah Lawrence as she worked on the Memoirs of Hadrian, Yourcenar was surely gathering impressions from her students as well as information from the Yale library, where she conducted the extensive research that underlies her great novel. Even her relative disengagement from much of American culture can be seen as contributing to her Olympian portrayal of the Roman emperor. Edmund White shrewdly noted in a review of Josyane Savigneaus Yourcenar biography that Yourcenars aloofness at Sarah Lawrence sounds remarkably like Vladimir Nabokovs at Cornell. Both novelists, it may be noted, lectured on comparative literature at their respective colleges, and in the very years that Nabokov was gathering local color for Lolita at Cornell, Yourcenar was plotting out her universalized portrait of Hadrian in Connecticut and Maine. Her choice to settle in the United States, she later said, is not that of America against France. It translates a taste for a world stripped of all borders (Savigneau 197)a particularly American take on life at the time of works such as Kerouacs On the Road. In her afterword to Memoirs of Hadrian, Yourcenar wrote of the intense pleasure of resuming her long-abandoned novel while on a transcontinental road trip of her own, by train, in February 1949:
Closed inside my compartment as if in a cubicle of some Egyptian tomb, I worked late into the night between New York and Chicago; then all the next day, in the restaurant of a Chicago station where I awaited a train blocked by storms and snow; then again until dawn, alone in the observation car of a Santa F Limited, surrounded by black spurs of the Colorado mountains, and by the eternal pattern of the stars. Thus were written at a single impulsion the passages on food, love, sleep, and the knowledge of men. I can hardly recall a day spent with more ardor, or more lucid nights. (328)

Ever sensitive to placeshe became an environmental activist in her later years Yourcenar draws inspiration from the expansive American landscape, at once local and universal (surrounded by the black spurs of the Rockies and the eternal pattern of the stars), both linked to the landscape and separated from it, alone in the observation car of a Santa F Limited. Not long before Nabokov would work on Lolita while pursuing butterflies in Colorado, she continued to write her novel while touring New Mexico with Grace. Yourcenars American experience inflected her novel on many levels, and Mmoires dHadrien entered American literary space in turn when it was published in New York in 1954. It came out in a lucid translation lovingly prepared in Northeast

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Harbor by Frick, corrected on a nightly basis by Yourcenar, who (rightly or wrongly) prided herself on possessing a greater command of English prose style than her American companion. The Memoirs of Hadrian received glowing reviews around the country and stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for twenty weeks, from December 1954 through May 1955. It was eventually edged off the list by a varied group of American and imported novels, including Franoise Sagans Bonjour Tristesse, Thomas Manns Confessions of Felix Krull, andvery different in provenance and toneMac Hymans No Time for Sergeants. Lolita was in press during those months, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that Nabokov was intrigued by his fellow migrs portrayal of a philosopher-king and his passion for his handsome young lover, Antinous. The popular success of Hadrians fictional memoir helped pave the way for Nabokovs next project, the tragicomic commentary-memoir of the deposed Zemblan monarch Charles X. Kinbote. Examples as varied as Bartolom de Las Casas, P. G. Wodehouse, and Marguerite Yourcenar suggest something of the international variety that is regularly to be found in a national literary culture. Many more examples could be adduced in all periods of British and American literature. They show that the national and the global are by no means opposed spheres. Instead, national literatures take on their full meaning when they are seen to be shot through with the international, even as global English is best understood in its ineluctably local grounding whenever, and wherever, it is written, published, and read. Works Cited
Damrosch, David. What Is World Literature? Princeton: Princeton UP, 2003. Print. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Conversations on World Literature. The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature. Ed. David Damrosch, Natalie Melas, and Mbongiseni Buthelezi. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2009. 1725. Print. Las Casas, Bartolom de. The Tears of the Indians. Trans. John Phillips. London: Nathaniel Brook, 1656. Stanford: Academic Rpts., 1965. Print. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Merritt Y. Hughes. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003. Print. Posnett, Hutcheson Macaulay. Comparative Literature. New York: Johnson Rpt., 1971. Print. Sauer, Elizabeth. Toleration and Translation: The Case of Las Casas, Phillips, and Milton. Philological Quarterly 85.3-4 (2006): 27191. Print. Savigneau, Josyane. Marguerite Yourcenar: Inventing a Life. Trans. Joan E. Howard. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993. Print. Sterne, Laurence. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. New York: Boni, 1960. Print. White, Edmund. The Celebration of Passion. Rev. of Marguerite Yourcenar: Inventing a Life. By Josyane Savigneau. New York Times. New York Times, 17 Oct. 1993. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. Wodehouse, P. G. The Clicking of Cuthbert. The Most of P. G. Wodehouse. New York: Simon, 1960. 38597. Print. The Works of P. G. Wodehouse. MobileReference, 6 Feb. 2009. Digital file. Yourcenar, Margaret. Memoirs of Hadrian. Trans. Grace Frick. New York: Farrar, 1954. Print. Trans. of Mmoires dHadrien. Paris: Plon, 1951.

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Fig. 1 Title page of John Phillipss translation of Bartolom de Las Casass Brevsima relacin

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Fig. 2 Illustration for The Tears of the Indians

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The English Major as Social Action


Sidonie Smith
The author is Martha Guernsey Colby Collegiate Professor of English and Womens Studies, chair of the department of English at the University of Michigan, and 2010 president of the MLA. A version of the article was presented at the 2009 ADE Summer Seminar West in Las Vegas.

In COnVERSATIOnS with departmental colleagues and administrators, we talk of so many concerns: decreased state funding for higher education, collapse of endowments, steep budget reductions, canceled searches, increasing imbalance in the academic workforce, the vanishing job market for our doctoral students, the assault on the tenure system and academic freedom, the intensified corporatization of the university, the crisis in publishing, and the continuing devaluation of the humanities in higher education. This list is exhausting to think on. In the face of these daunting crises and transformations, our concern about the undergraduate major can seem a minor preoccupation. After all, dont our majors work pretty well? And yet, as Rahm Emanuel has so quotably opined, You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. In one or two years, we cannot solve the problems facing higher education or the humanities, but we can revise our undergraduate concentration in that time. Our motivation may well be pragmatic: we need to keep up enrollments and concentrators as two of our key performance indicators, as they are called in the liberal arts college at Michigan. To do so, we have to attract more students, those consumers across the curriculum. But we can also approach revision as process, a collaborative enterprise that remaps what the early-twenty-first-century English concentration could be and do for our undergraduate students, our graduate students, and ourselves. And, since about seventy percent of our undergraduate concentrators and graduate students are women, ours too is a process of educating women for their multiple roles as readers and interpreters in the first half of the twenty-first century. Having recently spent two years guiding the revision of our undergraduate concentration, I recognize many of the phrases, intents, cautions, anxieties, and aspirations implicit and explicit in the MLA Report to the Teagle Foundation. I applaud the mandate for the future that calls for our departments to implement an integrative major and for our concentrators to demonstrate to us knowledge of another language as part of their requirements (1011). That said, I want to explore what for me are key issues for consideration in our conceptualization of the major today. The Integrative Major The Teagle Report calls for crafting an integrative major (5) organized as a series of progressively advanced engagements with English language and literatures over the course of study. I would qualify this apparently unassailable goal for the undergraduate language major. Perhaps my move makes a virtue out of necessity: the practical difficulties of scheduling and course assignments and the facts of student behavior make an integrative major more an ideal than a reality, at least at large research universities serving from five hundred to over a thousand majors. Some students
ADE and the Association of Departments of En glish are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.38, ISSN 00010898

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move through our majors purposefully, some randomly. Many are double majors struggling to complete two sets of requirements. Some come to us late. Some have significant pressures on their timework, athleticsand thus choose a curriculum based on time of day. We can set goals, recommend prerequisites, include a modest number of requirements, and clarify our course-numbering system, but we cannot ensure that students move through the major in the way we want them to. nor can we adequately account for the affective environment they inhabit. At Michigan, the English major was revised sometime in the 1990s, and a capstone seminar was introduced in line with views of the ideal major at the time. In our revision of the major four years ago, we eliminated the senior seminar and introduced an optional junior seminar. Faculty members found that students in the last term of their senior year were often not present to the course even if they were present in the classroom. Moreover, our attempts at coherence are often thwarted administratively. Courses dont fill. Faculty leaves come in late. Some faculty members are recruited for service duties that take them out of the classroom. The curriculum is set almost a year ahead of time but then collapses about four weeks before the term begins. We rush to staunch the gaps, reassigning teachers and assistants even into the first week of classes. But beyond these practical matters, I would argue that a curriculum as a coherent series of progressively advanced courses is only one way to imagine a major. Im a creature of relatively large public universities, after all. Im not against an agenda of coherence and integration if you can achieve it, but I see value in the synergies of thwarted planning. I think of our heterogeneous courses as scattered opportunities to generate, with students, questions of the literary, the linguistic, and the cultural from a kaleidoscopic array of angles. Even repetitions on lists of required reading can be beneficial, the layerings of interpretations and theoretical frameworks productive for students. We cannot project what will grab students or when. Like our interests, theirs are diverse, idiosyncratic, often belated. For some students the hook will be the texts to be read; for some, the larger questions of history; for some, the sound of words; for some, the genres; for some, the opportunity to think and talk in new ways; for some, a friend sitting next to them; for many, the professor. Each course is itself a hub of intellectual interests and affective attachments. Students come to us having been regimented and age-stratified all their educational lives, and often level-stratified as well. Lets celebrate the mix of level and commitment, sophistication and navet, routine brilliance and hard-earned improvement. Its much of the pleasure (and the disappointment) of the class we enter each term, and much of the challenge, to meld a diverse group of students into a collaborative learning community. The English major is always changing, even when it is not being revised. Successive generations of scholar-teachers remake long-lived courses and introduce new ones, individually or collectively. In the last decade and a half, our major changed without changing formally, as my colleagues introduced into their courses sexuality studies, hemispheric studies, global studies, archipelagic studies, transatlantic studies, comparative studies, material studies, visual studies, and most recently digital studies. Transformation is ongoing. Periodically, we bemoan the shortcomings of our major and then work to provide new guideposts that figure for students our

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collective vision in our local contexts and communities. So lets give them a set of goals, a few gateway courses perhaps, some requirements, and a map of the discipline as it now is configured in a particular department. And lets give them good teaching in the classroom. That is our challenge. As Derek Bok noted in Our Underachieving Colleges, new courses and new knowledge regularly find their way into the curriculum, but teaching methods change very slowly (318). Our conversations about the major, then, might effectively become sustained conversations about student learning and teaching pedagogies that take seriously the idea of the classroom as a collaborative learning community, whether large lecture or intimate seminar, whether general education or advanced disciplinary course. In a profession where ones intellectual bona fides seem always to be on the line, we are too prone to approach teaching through our compensatory desire to show what we know. We often approach our discussions of the major as a chance to tell students what they need to know, but we could reconceptualize it as social action rather than a set of contents.1 Our colleague Marshall Gregory observed in a recent Profession piece:
Information we can always look up, but when a thing gets absorbed, it turns into ideas and skills, and it turns into forms of socialization and cognition that shape students intuitions and that strengthen their powers of language, imagination, judgment, and reasoning. (120)

To recognize this afterlife of our courses is to shift attention from the major as formal to the major as performative. Its performative dimension involves the enactment of disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) habits of attention, analysis, interpretation, and intensity of affect that our courses, individually and accumulatively, encourage students to observe, internalize, reproduce, hone, and revise. Approaching the major as performative social action is to facilitate the classroom as an intergenerational learning community, where everyone collaborates in setting questions, seeking answers, making claims, and producing work. In such an environment, the classroom becomes a kind of social network. At Michigan, our recent revision of the major was modest, focused on content. There were careful articulation of the goals of the major, general agreement on the function of the gateway courses to it, introduction of optional subconcentrations to encourage some depth of knowledge with one piece of the field, minimal period requirements, and a new traditions requirement (antiquated in its terminology but dear to all of us, if left flexible in terms of its reference). We reviewed and rationalized all our courses and their numbering. We achieved something, though it was not remarkable in its details. But these issues focus on teaching to students, a phrase borrowed from Gregory (122). What we didnt take on four years ago and what I would want my department to take on in our next revision is the major not as a thing in itself but as performative of social action. Real Work, Not Homework Randolph D. Pope chides us that [w]e have transformed reading into a chore, novels into pretexts for papers, poems into subjects for an exam (25). An overstatement

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certainly, but, as a salutary call to think about how we enact an English major, it captures the sense of routine in our exchanges with students around writing. A colleague of mine, Eric Rabkin, offered a pedagogy workshop to the department last winter, focusing on his concept of real work, not homework. Homework he describes as the usual kind of papers we ask students to write: formulaic, deadline-driven, inconsequential after submission. Effort, deadline, grade, discarded archive. Real work engages students in activities and writing projects that contribute to the shared classroom experience; it advances the conversation and enhances the learning environment. It has an afterlifea phrase that continues to reverberate for me, even though I am not always sure how to reconceptualize what I ask students to do in my courses. Student research has become a mantra that admissions counselors and deans invoke in addressing applicants and their parents. At Michigan, UROP (the undergraduate research opportunity program) has been a great success in foregrounding opportunities for undergraduates to work with scholars who engage them as research assistants, though less often in the humanities. This is one kind of real work outside the classroom environment. Another aspect of our undergraduate majors that involves real work is study abroad, as the Teagle Report suggests. Many of our departments offer other kinds of lived experiences of literatures and languages. In our department, the Prison Creative Arts Project takes undergraduates into nearby prisons to work with inmates on creative projects, theater productions, poetry volumes. A large number of those students are transformed in the process and continue in careers related to prison activism. Our new England Literature Program takes forty students to Maine in the late spring to study literature on location. There are many enlivening and transforming programs designed for students to take their major into the real world and gain experiential depth in their understanding of the power of the word and of the cultures of writing, reading, and interpreting. But every course, and at all stages of the curriculum, could be directed to the real work of producing knowledge and incorporating meaningful student research. We could imagine the end point of every course as something left behind for the next generation of students: a link on the department Web site, contributions to digitized databases on which later student researchers draw. Let me cite two examples. My colleague Anne Curzan, a scholar of linguistic change and an inspired classroom teacher, asked all her hundred students in a winter 2009 grammar course to enter three of their past papers into a searchable digital database of student essays. That database, combined with historical databases, then became the archive through which students explored and theorized about grammatical formations and shifts. These students were engaged in real work, producing part of the database, developing hypotheses, searching for grammatical patterns across time, rethinking the constantly changing configurations of linguistic usage. At the June 2009 ADE Summer Seminar in Las Vegas, David Damrosch talked of the classroom as an island of wikis.2 In one course he asks students to do the real work of teasing out transnational interfaces in national literatures for one another and then to leave for future students that archive of intersections. In such ways cohorts of majors are linked in an intellectual network.

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Transformation, Not Delivery Method Many of our students sit before us with laptops or netbooks. They multitask. They log on to social networking sites. Soon they will come to campus with electronic gadgets like the new Kindles and Sony Readers that give them easy access to the Google library of 500,000 texts. These exciting, daunting, and, for some, disturbing changes require us to understand our digital environment in a new way. They compel us to engage in a sustained conversation about generational change, about the ways we and our students now study, research, write, and compose. Technological change is not just another way of delivering the English major. The digital revolution is having a profound impact on knowledge organization and production and on subjectivity itself. It is bringing with it another way of being a humanities major. Brian Rotman argues that the alphabetic self of written inscription, conceptualized as a disembodied interiority that is accorded the authority of the singular, is now being displaced by a new notion of the subject, one that is distributed, networked, and plural (4). For Rotman, pervasive digitalization signals an end to the interiority and individuality we now identify, at least in the West, as defining aspects of subjectivity. There are other effects as well. networking technologies are reorganizing desire as the desire to be in the know and, increasingly, to be locatable. In the ongoing negotiation of person and technology, the subject is becoming a networked concatenation of information. Moreover, the notion of privacy is being recast as publicity in a world of instant dispersal through code. Embodiment itself may become technologized as so many digital circuitries reroute synapses, hormones, and heartbeats. networked and accessible as so much code, we find ourselves living in a world of increased relationality and intensified surveillance. The digitized environments in which we live are changing how we think, feel, learn, and work. They are, as n. Katherine Hayles notes, reorganizing our very consciousness through the shift in cognitive styles from processes of deep attention (and deep reading) to processes of hyperattention (and fragmented reading). The dynamic media environments in which young people now live and make their relationships instantiate the restless mobility of hyperattention in neural circuits of the brain. Hayles enjoins us to address this shift in our pedagogies, precisely because
critical interpretation is not above or outside the generational shift of cognitive modes but necessarily located within it, increasingly drawn into the matrix by engaging with works that instantiate the cognitive shift in their aesthetic strategies. (197)

We thus need to think about how we stage increasingly sophisticated digital literacies. To suggest the scope of this literacy challenge, I quote from a proposal I coauthored with four other humanities chairs for our submission to Michigans presidential interdisciplinary faculty initiative this past year:
Were all struggling with projects in the digital humanities or digital environments. Social networking, viral marketing, data mash-ups, hypertext, collective intelligence, googlingthe new coinages heard in conversations across the Diag and on blogs across the nation attest to the digital revolutions transformation of social identity, work, education, politics, the economy, and the most foundational interactions of everyday life. We increasingly live in and through a variety of capacious

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and dynamic digital environments, and this revolution has already made a host of practices, from academic research to journalism to establishing new forms of community, easier, more collaborative and more inclusive. And yet this revolution also poses serious, fundamental problems for the university, society and world affairs. How do we know what information is credible and reliable? In virtual environments with often unknown, unseen participants, how can we assess expertise? Who and what should we trust? At the same time that information has proliferated as never before, there has emerged a crisis in accountability, authority, intelligibilityindeed, in epistemology itself. As educators and as humanities scholars, we need to find solutions to the central problem confronting our students and society: Our students and the general public have not yet developed the critical literacies to negotiate these new environments for information, communication, ethical exchange, and social identities. They and we have not adequately explored the implications of digital environments for the production and dissemination of knowledge. . . . The technology will continue to develop, both inside and outside the academy; and public anxietiesabout increasing surveillance, viral sleaze, the dumbing-down of reading, the culture of confession and display, and the uneven distribution of technologies, skills, and literacies across class, race, gender and national lineswill continue to mount. On campus, our students will continue to amass the technical skills to access various databases and navigate emergent digital landscapes; but they need to develop interpretive, discriminatory skills for assessing what they find and analyzing the effects of these technological environments on society and on their own lives. They and we will need to expand, dramatically, the notion of literacy to encompass environments joining words, images, moving images, and sound; because even if our students are technically adept, they may be much less so when it comes to negotiating these environments with the requisite sophistication they now demand.

They and we are being remade through our extension in digital environments. Their work and our work in the classroom and out are being remade. Here too the need for intergenerational collaboration seems inescapablein puzzling through the meanings of these profound changes, in comprehending and assessing the benefits and threats of digital environments, in mounting real-work projects, in linking work done inside the academy to that outside. This is an arena in which we can genuinely collaborate with students, learning from them. As William B. Warner and Clifford Siskin conclude, The challenge of English departments . . . is to transform ourselves to meet the historical challenge of remediation (105). There must be remediation of print through the new technologies that saturate our lives and transform us and our objects of study. The Digital Interface of the English Major We just had an incoming freshman write the department suggesting that the creative arts departments collaborate on producing creative videos showcasing Michigan students for mounting on YouTube. Heres his suggestion:
I was thinking that if you made things like these, you could get a Youtube channel very inexpensively, or for free, and put these videos up to get maximum exposure. You could even try to put it on the local public television station. On top of that, you could put the videos up on the schools website to showcase the talented people who go there, enhancing the image of Michigan as a creative, exciting place. If even

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a couple people hit it big off of them, it would greatly increase the standing of the university, as well as help to recruit more people.

Welcome to the new world of collegiate webvertisement. But this is our world now, the Web and its social networking formats that join us with our students. Many of our campuses have courseware tools that are fast becoming compulsory or at least necessary to communicate with students and respond to their expectations of us. We need to take seriously our Web sites. As a student-faculty interface, the departmental Web site commands ongoing attention, because it puts the English major in action on campus and off. We might well start our revision of the major with creative maps of our discipline and its interdisciplines in our individual departments. The mapping of local faculty expertise and interests would provide a visualization of the department as a hub of networked research and teaching interests that link our faculty with others across campus. A language map of the department would capture for us and for students what languages we speak, read, and need for research and how our language competencies relate to our scholarship and teaching and that of colleagues in other language departments. Another kind of map would operate as a kind of LinkedIn site. Here we could indicate our connections with scholars around the world, those with whom we have worked or whom we consider colleagues and collaborators, and institutions with which we have been affiliated as fellows or visitors. These multidimensional Web maps visualizing our departmental hubmuch as the MLA language map did for the many languages spoken in the United States would present a digital-visual sense of the capaciousness of what we do, its extension, its sets of networked relations. In this way, our Web site would present the English department as a living entity, a collaborative organism, always in flux. The Web site can also become a place for the internal publication of the real work that students do: digital databases they have participated in creating, live streaming of their creative work, wikis that serve as encyclopedias for successive groups of students. It might also be a place where majors create their own visual or digital map of their trajectory through their studies, indicating where it took theminto the depths of language and text, across boundaries, through theoretical paradigms, to dispersed but linked global locations. Students might even be asked to provide a linked-in component of a senior portfolio that would articulate for us and for them what relationships their English major sparked, damped, or rejuvenated for them. Finally, the departmental Web site is valuable because our majors have afterlives. They leave us to become the major in action. Current communication technologies keep us better connected with them after they leave campus. At Michigan, we already attempt this networking through a part of our departmental Web site that asks our graduates to send us a photo (if so desired) and a short statement on what they have done with their English major. We have alums from twenty-two to sixtyfour on the site. And we are continuing to think about how to adapt the technology of YouTube and FaceBook to promote our vision of the English major in action. If we reconceptualize the English major as social action in the sense that is presented here and that Gregorys phrase teaching to students captures, then we will need to

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revise far more than our sets of requirements and our course content. We will need to revise our guidelines and expectations for tenure and promotion to achieve more flexible criteria and more focus on teaching to students, our mentoring programs for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members, the balance between resources dedicated to visiting scholars and to scholarly colloquia and conversations in pedagogy, the teaching component of our graduate programs, our Web site design, and our hiring priorities. A tall order. But perhaps, in the midst of all the crises that exhaust us with their implications, we can recover for ourselves and for our majors the dynamism of the study of languages and literatures. Texts are not fixed; interpretations undo themselves; identities are relational; influence fluctuates; histories are reimagined; national boundaries persist as porous; spatial location is multiply perspectival; affiliations occasion transversals; juxtapositions illuminate; media are remediated. Our fieldimaginar[ies], to invoke Donald Peases phrase, are in process. As are all our majors in action. Notes
1. I am adapting here Carolyn R. Millers concept of genre as social action from her 1984 essay in the Quarterly Journal of Speech. As glossed by C. Thomas Couser, the concept calls us to read genre for what it does rather than what it is. 2. A version of his presentation appears in this issue of the Bulletin.

Works Cited
Bok, Derek. Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2006. Print. Couser, C. Thomas. Genre Matters: Form, Force, and Filiation. Life Writing 2.2 (2005): 13956. Print. Curzan, Anne. U of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 27 Mar. 2009. Address. Damrosch, David. national Literatures in an Age of Globalization. ADE Seminar West. Flamingo, Las Vegas. 22 June 2009. Address. Emanuel, Rahm. You never Want a Crisis to Go to Waste. 20 nov. 2008. My Squawk. My Squawk, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2009. Gregory, Marshall. Do We Teach Disciplines or Do We Teach Students? What Difference Does It Make? Profession (2008): 11729. Print. Hayles, n. Katherine. Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes. Profession (2007): 18799. Print. Miller, Carolyn R. Genre as Social Action. Quarterly Journal of Speech 70 (1984): 15167. Print. Pease, Donald E. new Americanists: Revisionist Interventions into the Canon. Boundary 2.17 (1990): 137. Print. Pope, Randolph D. The Major in Foreign Languages: A Four-Pronged Meditation. ADFL Bulletin 40.1 (2008): 2426. Print. Rabkin, Eric. Real Work Is Better Than Homework. U of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 19 nov. 2008. Address. Report to the Teagle Foundation on the Undergraduate Major in Language and Literature. Modern Language Association. MLA, Feb. 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2009. Rotman, Brian. Becoming beside Ourselves: The Alphabet, Ghosts, and Distributed Human Being. Chapel Hill: Duke UP, 2008. Print. Warner, William B., and Clifford Siskin. Stopping Cultural Studies. Profession (2008): 94107. Print.

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Literary history and the Curriculum: how, What, and Why


Jennifer Summit
The author is professor and chair of the English department at Stanford University, where she is also Eleanor Loring Ritch University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. A version of this paper was presented at the 2009 ADE Summer Seminar West in Las Vegas.

The undergraduate literature major, as the MLA Report to the Teagle Foundation reminds us, can and should reflect the vitality of the discipline. But by the same logic, the majors weaknesses, as we or our students experience them, emerge from and render visible some of the disciplines unresolved conflicts. One of these conflicts centers on literary history, a topic that drifted from critical attention decades ago but has survived in undergraduate literary curricula, where it now poses a serious problem. The MLA report diagnoses a worrying aimlessness in the current pedagogy of literary history. If there is to be a solution, it will emerge from a new english major that rewrites the historical paradigms that undergird the undergraduate curriculum. This essay describes one such model in the hope of reopening, along with the MLA report, the question of how and why we teach literary history. Among the aims of the undergraduate major, the MLA report states, is to foster a range of literacies, including what it calls historical literacy. This is a useful and interesting term: useful because it underscores the humanities traditional focus on the value of considering the past, interesting because it situates the study of the past in an array of reading and writing practices that form the central pursuits of the major. By reterming literary history historical literacy, the report suggests not only an archive of cultural memory that provides background and context but also a dynamic praxis in its own right, manifested in students enhanced analytic and interpretive skills: knowing literary history, the report asserts, makes us better and more adept readers and thinkers. It thus makes an appeal to the pragmatic value of students studies. It asserts further that historical literacy advances a more abstract but no less vital goal of personal development: meaningful engagement with the literary past broadens readers perspectives beyond our insular selves (4). Literary history, reconceived as historical literacy, thus offers at once knowledge, skill, and ethos. This represents a significant advance over past thinking about literary history and the curricula that continue to reflect it. But it also begs an important question: how does historical literacy differ from the literary history that structured the traditional curriculum, and how is this difference registered in the objects, methods, and curricula of the new english major? Many of the questions that the MLA report raises about the teaching of literary history dovetail with issues that Stanfords english department, which I currently chair, grappled with over the academic year 200809, when we undertook a major revision of our major. If our rejection of the old major was driven by a sense of the outdatedness of its literary-historical paradigms, the experience of crafting a new major taught us that any curricular reform must begin with the ideas about literary history, implicit or explicit, enshrined at the majors core.
ADE and the Association of Departments of En glish are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.46, ISSN 00010898

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Literary History and the Curriculum: How, What, and Why Jennifer Summit

Literary History as Problem The current state of literary history and its pedagogy is best described as transitional: moving away from the certainties of a canonical past, the english major is still structured historically, even if it remains unclear what historical vision or objects that structure manifests. The MLA report reflectsand perhaps to some degree shares in the uncertainties ofthis transitional moment, starting with the very language it uses to frame the problem of what it calls the majors knowledge base. The aim of the english major should be . . . to acquaint students with representative cultural examples through a designated body of works and engage them with . . . cultural traditions (5); yet literary studies have properly freed themselves from a knowledge base grounded in a fixed, standard set of canonical or representative works (9). So the english major should teach representative examples and cultural traditions through a designated body of works, yet these contrast with the canonical or representative works from which literary studies have properly freed themselves, raising the question, how are the designated body of works, representative examples, and cultural traditions of the new english major different from the fixed and standard canon of the past? What differentiates the representative cultural examples that we will teach from the canonical or representative works of the canonical past? What, in other words, do these new representative works represent? The View from Stanford My department became convinced of the need to revise its curriculum after surveying our majors and recent graduates, followed by a series of focus groups. These told us that students were very happy with the individual classes they took, most of which we offer as small, intense seminars whose sharp focus is honed by the time constraints of the quarter system. At the same time, our majors and graduates felt that the major as an aggregate lacked coherence. Again and again, students asked us plaintively for a big picture that would supply connections between and across their classes: they confirmed what many of us have long perceived and lamented, that they lack a basic grid of historical knowledge that could give broader perspective and unity to their individual classes. Repeatedly, they told us that they felt the absence of an arc in which their classes could fit together; and in the focus groups, they passionately expressed their collective wish for a historical core or survey class that could provide the background and connections that they lacked. Colleagues with a long tenure in the department were not surprised to hear that students lacked historical knowledge; they were astonished, however, that the same students now wanted a core, given that the department had rejected its longstanding core as outdated some forty years ago. Like many english departments, ours had a core sequence that surveyed the development of english literature from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, with separate requirements in Chaucer, Shakespeare, and the english language. A version of this sequence formed the core of the english major in the universitys catalog of 1906, when the major was defined around three axes: a history of english Literature from the beginning to 1798,

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a language requirement (reflected in the fact that ours was then the Department of english Literature and Rhetoric), and courses in the major canonical authors: Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton (or Wordsworth or Spenser) (Announcement 97). This trinitarian structure of requirementslanguage, history, and canonical authorsheld steady until 1967, when it was dropped in favor of distribution requirements across six broadly defined areas: language, medieval, Renaissance, neoclassic, Romantic and modern, and American (the first time that an American requirement was introduced [Courses]). By replacing the historical core with area requirements, Stanford was slightly ahead of the national trend: in 1985, seventy percent of english departments still required a historical survey; in 1989, it was fifty percent (Laurence 1; Lawrence 13). In place of the survey came area requirements like Stanfords, which are now widespread. Yet, as Gerald Graff observes, the distribution of english department faculties and courses along a chronological array of period specializations still reflects an ideal of historical coverage, however outdated many faculty members find it (6); and the distribution continues to maintain the ideal that drove the old core. The difference is that area requirements disperse responsibility for that ideal over the department as a whole instead of concentrating it in a single survey course or sequence. Stanfords catalog from 1970 explains the english departments new distribution requirements, while holding fast to the coverage ideal:
The english Department recognizes that the interests of its majors are extremely various: for this reason the stated formal requirements are minimal. At the same time the Department strongly recommends that all english majors take courses with broad historical perspectives on language and literature . . . , and also more concentrated courses on the great major figures, notably courses in Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare.

And it stresses:
No one of these courses is mandatory, but those covering the background and the evolution of english and American literature, or focusing on the greatest writers, constitute the best preparation . . . of all students seriously interested in the study of english and American literature. (Courses 270)

This statement reflects a paradigm shift in thinking about literary history and its curricular manifestations: while allowing that students come to the study of english with extremely various interests, it insists that those who are seriously interested in the discipline should still elect to follow a traditional curriculumeven when not compelled to by requirementsin a comprehensive model of literary history and the canonical authors. Both approaches fell into question in the decades that followed. Stanfords debates over the traditional Western Civilization requirement made the university an easy target of the culture wars of the 1980s and challenged the implicit canon that had anchored the english major requirement. Also in steady decline was the developmental metanarrative of literary history inherited from nineteenth-century philologists, for whom the history of literary works illustrated, as hans Robert Jauss put it in 1981, the idea of national individuality on its way to itself (3). here its worth pointing out that literary history and the canon were two distinct entities, both

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conceptually and pedagogically, though today we sometimes use them interchangeably. My department maintained a sequence of courses called Masterpieces of english Literature (and Masterpieces of American Literature) for nonmajors that was distinct from the required historical survey for majors. But until the abolishment of the historical core, majors also had to take separate courses in single authors, which dominated the curriculum. In other words, the survey represented background and evolution; the single author courses provided culmination. Together, they produced a topography that incorporated the mountains of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton and the valleys of Lydgate and Fulke Greville. With the switch from the core to area requirements, the canonical authors were absorbed into their background, while the evolutionary model that had informed the core survey was distributed laterally across the periods. Professionally, this switch reflected the decline of generalists and the ascent of specialists, in a fraught dynamic that Graff charts across the first half of the twentieth century. The triumph of the specialist resulted in the much-remarked explosion of research in the subdisciplinary fields that made the old goal of coverage no longer tenable. It also created a situation where no individual could claim to possess the comprehensive view implied by the survey class and projected as the aim of the english major, thus compelling departments to hire evenly across the subfields to maintain the illusion of a common knowledge base that specialization had forced them to abandon. It is easy to see how departmentsStanfords includedcould reach a point that Patricia Schroeder describes in 1993, when the ostensibly objective goal of coverage has been replaced by consciously directed sampling (38). Its also easy to see how studentslike Stanfordscould find themselves not liberated by such a tasting menu but longing for the historical scaffolding that could bring their disparate classeshowever vibrant, challenging, and popularinto a coherent whole. Toward a Coherence of Aims rather than Objects The MLA report asserts, The requirements for a major should amount to more than a list of courses (Report 5), and calls for a coherent program of study that follows an integrative, synergetic model (3) and guides students through the acquisition of the english majors distinct knowledge base and skills. These are compelling goals, to be sure: yet at Stanford we were forced to confront the fact that our students were asking for something that we no longer believed in: the arc of literary history no longer holds sway as a dominant mode. If the concept of a developmental metanarrative had long fallen by the waysideits illness diagnosed by Jauss and its death pronounced by Foucaulttoday literary history occupies the status of a vexing, but unresolved, question. Indeed, the most provocative recent works on the subject have framed themselves not as vision statements but, literally, as questions. David Simpson asks, Is literary history the history of everything?; Mario J. Valds asks, Is literary history history?; and David Perkins asks, in a work whose title says it all, Is literary history possible? On the level of curriculum, our disciplines response to its own unease with literary history has been to erode the period requirements into ever-broader categories,

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which no longer claim the coherence of the grand narratives that undergirded the historical survey class or the checklist of historical areas from medieval to modern. Thus many departments, Stanfords included, gradually reduced the historical requirement to two courses before 1750 (or 1660, 1798, 1800, or 1830, as other departments variously define the watershed between literary-historical past and present). As a result, students are administered the literary past in homeopathic doses: they must take two classes before a date that stands for modernity, but these are now unlikely to bear much relation to each other, let alone to those that follow. Meanwhile, we have collapsed the vista into the close-up: if the old english major balanced the study of masterpieces with the topographic survey, the new english major has done away with the justification both for the specific focus (i.e., the distinctness of the masterpiece) and for the big picture (which provided background to or illustrated the evolution of the masterpiece). Yet if weve abandoned the traditional rationale for literary history and its curricular forms, we havent abandoned literary history: every course in any period implies a literary-historical model, however submerged. In the temporal arc of our quarters or semesters, we habitually trace miniature lines of development, whether these follow the contours of an authors career or the unfolding of a literary movement, period, genre, or idea. And we routinely posit the principle of historical change in the very language we use to talk about our subject (e.g., modernity, print culture, the postcolonial), which implies temporal markers before which our subject did not exist and from which our subject emerged into historical distinctness. The real challenge of producing a coherent major on the level of its historical requirements lies in reintroducing the vista, bringing together our various microhistories, and showing students how they join up with or conflict with one another, what stories they tell about how and why a given literary workand literature itselfmatters on a large scale. Toward a New Curriculum of Literary History At Stanford, the necessary first step in rethinking our approach to literary history was to reconsider not just what we teach but why we teach it in the first place. We wanted students literary-historical training to be multilayered. We hoped to offer students a basic scaffolding of historical terms and concepts; we wanted them to come away with a sense of which historical boundaries and generic markers define the period and literature of the Reformation, the Restoration, Romanticism, modernism; and we wanted them to come away with a sense of how these terms followed from one another that would allow them to perceive the longue dure of literary conventions. In so doing, we shared some of the aims that informed the traditional english major survey. But beyond the goal of historical knowledge, we wanted students to learn to think historically, by which we meant something similar to what the MLA report calls historical literacy. Thinking historically begins by bringing the past into active and meaningful dialogue with the present. It means not only discovering continuities between the present and past (no matter how remotely or proximately defined) but also unsettling the fixities, and exposing the contingency, of the present moment, since experiencing what one of my colleagues called the strangeness of the past also has

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the power to estrange the present. As Fredric Jameson observes, the vocation of historical thinking . . . is surely to bring us up short against the radical difference of other societies and of their lived experience, and against the radical historicity of everything we may be tempted to think of as permanent (367). This point dovetails with the MLA reports ethical vision of historical literacy, its ability to move us beyond our insular selves. Above all, we wanted to excite students curiosity about the past, as neither an antiquarian object nor a monument to be revered (to adapt Nietzsches terms [67]) but as the building material of the present, subject to rearrangement, displacement, loss, and recovery. how do we design a curriculum that achieves these aims? From the beginning, we decided to do away with the checklist approach to historical area requirements, whether in the old, comprehensive form or in the newer, homeopathic version (two courses before 1750); instead, we sought new models for teaching the big picture. This search led to the question, What is literary history for, and what is literary history the history of? By defining our goal as a balance of knowledge and skillthat is, to give students a broad perspective of history as well as the ability to think historicallywe opted against instituting a core that represented a single historical narrative. We did not want a literary history that simply presented background or traced evolution. We were drawn instead to models of literary history organized around both the threads of continuity across time and the breaks that create discontinuities in time, as these threads and breaks are registered in and through literary works. We created a three-quarter sequence aimed at delivering broad, synthetic perspectives and organized around literary-historical throughlines and paradigm shifts over the broad sweep of thirty weeks, with the collaborative participation of many faculty members from many fields. In so doing, we strongly agree with the Teagle reports call for seeing the major as a collaborative educational project. Where the reports authors offer team teaching as a way of enlivening pedagogy, we see it as a necessary disciplinary bridge across the historical isolation of the fields. The collaborative and team production of this new sequence is essential to its character and differentiates it from the old survey or core, in which the major periods were defined as sequential yet autonomous. What defines a work as representative is determined each year by the team that is teaching the course and by the throughlines it elects to pursue. For example, if we bring in a postcolonial specialist to teach the spring sequence and a specialist in Victorian sexuality to teach the winter, the fall course might develop sections on medieval and early modern exploration and colonialism, gender and desire. Conversely, a sequence that begins in the fall with a medievalists teaching works on cognition and imagination may continue in the winter and spring with Blake and Virginia Woolf. The works chosen will thus be representative but not fixed. The lesson is that they become historically meaningful not simply because they existed in the past but also because they form part of a longer story that tells us how literary-historical change happens and how it registers in the horizon of expectations by which individual texts become legible at particular moments. But literary works also reverse the horizon of expectations that they enterand this reversal allows Jauss to observe that the specific achievement of literature in social existence is to be sought exactly where

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literature is not absorbed into the function of a representational art but assumes a socially formative function (45). Literary history, so conceived and taught, is not an inventory of masterpieces or a succession of periods as embodied in typical works; its a dynamic process that we enact anew every time we bring texts into relation with one another. Its this dynamic and relational process that we wanted to open to our students in our new historical core. The lack of a unifying arc that our students experience was diagnosed twenty years ago by Graff as a disciplinary atomization, beginning with the division of fields. Field specialization, he points out, isnt a problem itselfindeed, its the most efficient way to organize a complex body of knowledge; the problem is its byproduct, historical isolation, by which we lose sight of the disciplinary forest for the trees of the subfields (8). If the discipline thereby loses its rationale, so do the fields themselves. When we become too immersed in fields, we lose sight of the temporal markers, and the horizons, that define them. There are many ways to teach literary historyand perhaps even more ways to teach historical literacy. At Stanford, we worked to find an approach that would serve the needs of our students and our own vision for the discipline. No doubt there are approaches that could serve other needs and visions better. But we learned that the revision and revitalization of the english major begins with literary history and its big questions: what it is, what it is for, and why it remains necessaryas we believe it isto the enterprise of academic literary study. Note
I would like to acknowledge the vision and collaborative efforts of the colleagues responsible for the curriculum revision I describe in this essay, namely, Franco Moretti, the departments curriculum director, and the members of its curriculum working group in 200809: John Bender, Michele elam, Nicholas Jenkins, and Blakey Vermeule.

Works Cited
Announcement of Courses, 190607. Stanford U, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. Stanford U Libs. Bulletin Archive. Courses and Degrees, 196970. Stanford University Bulletin 21.1. Stanford U, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. Stanford U Libs. Bulletin Archive. Graff, Gerald. Professing Literature: An Institutional History. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987. Print. Jameson, Fredric. From Criticism to history. New Literary History 12 (1981): 36775. Print. Jauss, hans Robert. Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Trans. Timothy Bahti. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1982. Print. Theory and history of Lit. Laurence, David. From the editor. ADE Bulletin 95 (1990): 13. MLA, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. Lawrence, Karen. Curriculosclerosis; or, hardening of the Categories. ADE Bulletin 90 (1988): 1317. MLA, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Uses and Disadvantages of history for Life. Untimely Meditations. Trans. R. J. hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1983. 57124. Print. Perkins, David. Is Literary History Possible? Baltimore: Johns hopkins UP, 1992. Print. Report to the Teagle Foundation on the Undergraduate Major in Language and Literature. Modern Language Association. MLA, Feb. 2009. Web. 2 Dec 2009. Schroeder, Patricia R. Covering the Waterfront versus Taking the Plunge: Curriculum Revision in a Liberal Arts College. ADE Bulletin 104 (1993): 3639. MLA, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. Simpson, David. Is Literary history the history of everything? The Case for Antiquarian history. SubStance 28 (1999): 516. Print. Valds, Mario J. Rethinking the history of Literary history. Rethinking Literary History: A Dialogue on Theory. ed. Linda hutcheon and Valds. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 63115. Print.

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Research Is teaching
Cathy N. Davidson
The author is John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. Devarney Professor of English at Duke University. A version of the article was presented at the 2008 MLA Convention in San Francisco.

Theory versus Practice At my university as at many others, tenure guidelines often make it sound as if teaching doesnt count very much. At Duke, the guidelines explicitly state that excel lence in teaching and service are not sufficient for tenure (Chapter 3). However, the published requirements for tenure do not comparably state that publication alone is not sufficient for tenure. Does that asymmetry imply that a great teacher and colleague without significant publications will be denied tenure but that a widely published and widely acclaimed researcher with terrible teaching and no service will progress to tenure and promotion? That is the question. And if you think my answer is a simple yes, youre wrong. Indeed, part of the conflict faced by junior faculty memberstypically framed as the binary of teaching or researchis that we put so much emphasis on publication as the road to tenure that they are often shocked to find that teaching counts. And so does service. Both count far more than our profession overtly acknowledges. In this brief essay, I point to a number of misalignments in the profession of En glish between what we say about the worth and importance of teaching and research and how we put those values into practice. I propose some concrete steps toward remedying the misalignment in the present and then suggest how we can rethink key issues more broadly to rectify the misalignment in the future. Because this sub ject is prone to misinterpretation, let me be explicit in my premises. I am arguing that our practices do not match the values we express, and the mismatch goes in two directions at once. First, we lay so much value on research that it is easy to miss how important good teaching is to earning tenureespecially now that teaching evalu ations and facultystudent ratios are in the news and in the legislatures too. Second, although we say that the scholarly monograph is the gold standard of research for our profession, we are infamouscompared with faculty members in virtually all other fieldsfor not buying one anothers monographs and for not assigning them in our undergraduate or graduate classrooms. That means that what we purport to value as research doesnt translate to our bookbuying and syllabusbuilding prac tices. One consequence is that more and more publishers are shying away from pub lishing monographs on literary topics. A monograph in our field can be expected to sell only a few hundred copies. most monographs enjoy no course adoption. Given these two different ways in which the theory of our profession and the ac tual practices of those in the profession are misaligned, is it any surprise that a junior faculty member could be confused or become cynical? more than other fields, ours confirms the negative stereotype that we crank out our monographs simply to get tenure, that we write not to communicate to the next generation, not to share ideas
ADE and the Association of Departments of En glish are trademarks owned by the Modern Language Association. 2010 by the Association of Departments of En glish, CrossRef DOI: 10.1632/ade.149.53, ISSN 00010898

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among our colleagues, not to shape a field, but to meet the minimum standards of tenure and promotion committees. Thats pretty appalling. And to make matters worse, we are English teachers. Our business is the analysis of texts as well as the im provement of critical writing and reading. If our own professional reading practices are so misaligned with our professional writing practices, what values about the worth of our profession are we modeling for our undergraduate and graduate students? If we understood our research instead as a form of teaching (teaching not only our students but also one another), our profession would profit on many levels at once. As I have been arguing for the last decade, if our discipline took its cultural role more seriously, we would be thriving right now instead of feeling trapped in the per petual handwringing over our declining numbers and our everlasting crisis in the humanities. English departments have a tremendous amount to offer our historical moment, in this information age when every aspect of reading and writing is under scrutiny and transformation. The skills we have as cultural and literary historians, as theorists of all forms of media, as students of language, and as critical readers of cul tural texts are tremendously valuable now. But until we accept the challenge of who we are and what we offer as a discipline, we will continue to dwindle into irrelevance and will find an evergreater imbalance between our preachings and our practices. Teaching and Tenure Over my career Ive taught at different kinds of institutions. The fouryear institu tions include a liberal arts college, a mammoth secondtier state university, an Ivy League school, and Duke University, where I am now. At all these, teaching is the bottom line. But it is sometimes an unspoken bottom line. too often it is simply assumed that you are an excellent teacher and that scholarship is the monumental hurdle. Certainly, if ones teaching is good, if ones evaluations and enrollments are high, if one can be counted on to perform well in the classroom, and if one is a good colleague who contributes, then all eyes focus on external letters of evaluation. Ex ternal peer review (and, ludicrously, external letters are being used more and more often for first and thirdyear reviews) implies that you already exist beyond your in stitution, that you are a public, professional person whose productivity in the profes sion can be assessed from your publications or performances at scholarly meetings. However, that is not the whole story. Junior faculty members rarely know what happens behind the closed door of an actual departmental tenure meeting. typi cally, you are not allowed in a tenure meeting until you have passed through the tenure process yourself. In my experience and in that of dozens of others with whom I have spoken about this issue, the conversation in tenure meetings tends to be very different when the teaching is excellent from when it is not. If excellent, the teaching is noted and then the discussion focuses on the quality and quantity of the scholar ship. When the teaching is mediocre and institutional citizenship undependable, the entire dossier is subjected to a different level of scrutiny; a changed standard of judgment subtly or strikingly comes into play. Bad teaching colors the discussion of everything else. This is the deep, dark secret of the profession: teaching counts.

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If you think my argument is naive, that everyone knows teaching doesnt matter and especially not at Research 1 universities, consider this: senior scholars are not necessarily altruistic. They do not think kindly of someone who makes their jobs harder, no matter how brilliant that junior person may be. If you have shown yourself to be a mediocre teacher who is not likely to be a good mentor to graduate students, someone with a poor record of service who is likely to be a disaster as the depart ments next director of undergraduate studies or graduate studies, you do not contrib ute anything that will lighten the load of the senior faculty. What does the star senior faculty member have to gain by voting for a freeloader, even if a brilliant one? As one who writes a few dozen appointment, renewal, tenure, or promotion letters each year, I state that teaching matters in our profession. yet we do not spend much time helping graduate students be more successful as teachers. Even less frequently do we underscore the relation between teaching and research in an overt, noncyni cal, and therefore productive way. We would be doing a great service to our graduate students if we emphasized the continuities of teaching and research and how both fit into the other demands of a career, including those of departmental, university, and professional citizenship. Junior faculty members often believe that the time they spend on their teaching hurts their research. Rarely do they believe the opposite. There are many reasons for this perennial tugofwar between teaching and re search, and many able scholars in our profession have tackled this issue in the pages of this journal as well as in PMLA and in dozens of articles and books. Gerald Graff, Annette Kolodny, and others have eloquently analyzed it. I too have addressed this topic, focusing on the urgent need, in the face of our everdwindling numbers, to rearticulate the mission of our profession, broaden the scope of the humanities, and remap the contours of higher education on just about every level (Humanities 2.0). In this brief essay, I address not such overarching issues as the future of learning institutions in a digital age (Davidson and Goldberg) but instead focus on one particular aspect of the teachingresearch conundrum that pertains in specific, mate rial ways to the profession of English. The recommendation I offer is so simple that anyone reading this essay can put down the ADE Bulletin, go to the desktop, and in a few clicks make a change that will help our profession in ways that are anything but trivial. At the risk of sounding like a snakeoil salesman, I insist that one simple change in our practice can improve our health as a discipline, contribute to real and material benefits for our profession, and help our graduate students and junior col leagues appreciate the inherently symbiotic relation between teaching and research. Practicing What We Preach: Teaching the Scholarly Monograph Dig out the syllabi for your next English courses and add one or (if you want to get really wild) two scholarly monographs. Ditch the course pack youve planned and go for actual, real, whole books produced by the scholar or scholars whose work you re spect most. The clearest evidence of the existing structural misalignment in our field is the hyperbolic, ambivalent, and almost schizophrenic role into which we have cast the scholarly monograph. We require the writing of monographs for advancement in

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our field. We do not require that our students read themand we dont read them very much ourselves. The stats are alarming. According to a study conducted by the mLA, 88.8% of the departments in Carnegie Research/Doctorate institutions reported that the publication of a monograph was either very important or important to earning tenure. In a profession notably atomized by national literatures, periods, genres, and diverse interest areas (such as linguistics, rhetoric, and creative writing), in one where the culture wars can still rage, its hard to imagine what else would garner that degree of consensus. Even in Carnegie institutions classified as masters and Baccalaureate institutions, a surprising 43.9% and 48.0%, respectively, report that the scholarly monograph is important for tenure (Report). Given that embrace of the monograph as the key to tenure in our profession, it should follow that monographs in literature sell like hotcakes. In fact, they sell a meager two hundred or three hundred copies. Even prizewinning books in the field rarely top the thousand mark. That means the form of publishing that as a profes sion we say we value most isnt selling enough to pay for the cost of its publication. That means the form of publishing that as a profession we say we value most isnt being widely taught and probably isnt being widely read. Here is something we can change, now: we can read, buy, and assign the very books we say we value. In our next courses, undergrad and grad, let us make a concerted effort to assign one, two, or maybe even three scholarly monographs that exemplify what we say we value most as a profession. If we dont value what we say we do, how can we expect anyone else to value us? If we believe monographs are worthwhile, lets teach them. teaching them requires us, of course, to think about them as a genre and to make sure were reading new ones as they appear and not just reading them for the tenure committees we sit on. As with any book we select for a syllabus, we are picking and choosing among many worthy options, deciding which are the most compelling and representative, which translate to the classroom, which have relevance beyond a specific field, which are most inspiring in content and form. Our selection is a way of explaining to our students the importance of the scholarly genre to which weve devoted a significant part of our life. Whether we like monographs or not, whether we think they will last or are dy ing out, whether we believe they should be published electronically or in paper, and whether we believe they should have such determinative power over our careers, for now, at present, we, as members of our profession, continue to decree that a scholar needs to publish one in order to be granted tenure at most fouryear institutions. If you disagree with that premise, work to change it. If you are supporting that premise (in your peer reviewing, in your tenure votes, in your own career), well, then, its about time you stopped being a hypocrite. Put your money where your mouth is! We require a monograph for a scholars entry into the profession but do not respect the form enough to teach it in our classes. This imbalance is fieldspecific and almost singular. We are monographic fundamentalists in our theology but monographic agnostics in our religious observance. No wonder young professionals in our field are confused about the relation between teaching and research. Other fields teach what they prescribe. Historians teach the best new books in history in their undergraduate

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and graduate classrooms. They take as the subject of their courses not only the con tent about a given historical field but also the practice of writing professional history. So do anthropologists. Where do English students learn about the finest practices of writing professional, booklength literary criticism? Articles are not equivalent in form to a scholarly monograph. Or maybe they are. Consider the misalignment in the reverse direction. If course packs of articles constitute the gold standard of what we want to communicate to our students about the best practices of the profession of English, then why are we pretending there is something special about the monograph as a formso special that tenure and promotion depend on its production? We cannot continue to require the writing of books for which we do not cultivate an audience. Fewer and fewer university presses publish literary criticism, junior fac ulty members have little reason to believe that they write for any reason other than to impress the senior faculty members who will judge them, and our students dont get to see the product of our intellectual labor in what we insist is its finest form. Could a professions practice be more selfdefeating? This situation will only get worse. With the drastic decline in endowments for private schools and with ballooning debt and draconian cuts to state university bud gets, university publishers (all of which are subsidized in one way or another) are in peril. They have to meet a strict bottom line, or they face extinction. Why should they publish books in fields where those books are not taught, where even prize winning books dont sell? Unlike historians or anthropologists, who teach the best new examples of work in their field, English professors teach socalled primary texts and then course packs. Through coursepack pedagogy, we cheat our colleagues, our university press publishers, and inevitably ourselves. By not teaching the monograph as a genre, we are depriving ourselves of the op portunity to teach and therefore to study what this genre can do, what it cannot do, what it does well, and what might be done better in other forms. The English monograph has become a perfectly preserved relic, an artifact frozen in time, like a museum piece viewed behind glass but not handled. Producing it has the features of a cultural initiation rite: perform the rite successfully, and you go to the next level of the professional priesthood. Does the monograph serve the purpose for which it was designed? How would we know? One publisher tells me that he alone turns down thirty book proposals or manuscripts a week. But if a monograph in English sells only a few hundred copies, it seems that more of us write them than read them, more of us write them than teach them. The form is clearly outmoded. Heres a summary assessment of the state of the scholarly monograph in the pro fession of English today. 1. most doctorategranting departments require one monograph for tenure, two for promotion to full professor. 2. yet we do not support colleagues whom we believe have written the finest examples of the genrewe dont buy them, we dont assign them. 3. We do not teach monographs even on the graduate level and so miss the chance to teach graduate students how to evaluate and master the form that we say represents the finest articulation of our disciplinary form of thinking.

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4. By not requiring that our students study monographs, we are making mono graphs so unprofitable that many university presses want out of the market. 5. We thereby undercut our own chances and that of our younger colleagues and graduate students of having venues for publishing that crucial mono graph required for tenure or promotion. Those five statements do not add up to anything like a healthy relation between research and teaching. They do not add up to a healthy profession. By contrast, teaching what we research does material good to our profession and, I am convinced, psychological good as well. It demystifies the process of producing a monograph by helping us understand the product in generic, structural terms. That knowledge can be applied in writing ones own dissertation, article, and book. I hope it will also help graduate students understand that what they write has importance beyond themselves and future dissertation and tenure committees. And I hope, when they are able to teach, that they too use scholarly monographs in their courses, to convey to their students the importance of our chosen profession. There is much about our profession that needs radical transformation. Recon ceptualizing our learning institutions for the digital age is a grandscale, longterm objective. However, as we are working together to reform ourselves as a profession, it is also comforting to have an immediate, shortterm goal that is simple, easy, obvi ous, and healthy. When we teach by using the form of communication by which we ourselves are judgedthe scholarly monographwe are not only teaching the best accomplishments in our field, we are also coming to understand the mechanisms of communication necessary for our scholarly productivity. Research is teaching, learn ing is theorybut only if we correct the structural misalignment in our profession that alienates us from our scholarly productivity and makes the classroom seem less like the logical extension of our scholarship and more like a diversion and distrac tion from it. Beyond the Scholarly Monograph There is a final benefit to teaching the scholarly monograph. We all know that teach ing is the best way to learn. teaching the monograph as a genre encourages us to ask questions about the formal characteristics of the genre. What is a literary monograph? Why do we prize it? What do the best examples of the form succeed in doing? Why is this important? Is close reading the right way to convey an idea? Is periodization important to our argument? What about nationalism? Are there other ways of conveying the same insights? Are there better ways? Does it really take five hundred pages to make our point effectively? We rarely ask formal questions about the genre that governs so much of our lives. I value the monograph as a form. There are certain complex, unfolding ideas that can be conveyed fully, eloquently, and well only in it. But it should not be the only standard for tenure and promotion. Not every topic is best served by presentation in monographic form. One can be a fine theorist or researcher and never write a monograph. (Stuart Hall springs immediately to mind.) It makes no sense that we

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have taken a complex, difficult genre (and one that we dont even teach) as the only way to determine if a junior faculty member deserves what is, in essence, lifelong employment in our profession. tenure is an amazing privilege and giftand neces sary if our society is ever going to have a place where ideas are supported regardless of either politics or profitability. tenure is the professions best bet on who will de liver on the promise of decades of fresh ideas, continue to contribute vitality to the profession over the course of a career, and pass on insights to the next generation of thinkers. Is a onesizefitsall research and publication requirement the best way to choose such people? I dont think so. The present onebookfortenure and twoforfullprofessor re quirements are an impoverished way of measuring one of the most important fea tures of academic life. If the academy is that designated place in society where ideas may be pursued without the constraints of politics or making a profit, then we need to grasp that our role is to be lifelong disseminators of learning (not just education), lifelong inspirers of freethinking creativity. We need standards commensurate to our mission. We need flexible measures to predict who is most likely to have the zeal, passion, commitment, and intellectual ability to contribute to society when obtain ing tenure and promotion are no longer the objective. We should be seeking an in satiable quality of mind, as evidenced by publication (including multimedia, online) in the most compelling way imaginable for a particular research project. A scholarly monograph is only one of many ways to communicate our research and ideas. The misalignment in the current academy between our requirements for tenure and our bookbuying and bookassigning practices should inspire us to think about what constitutes the best form for conveying our research and ideas, to re think the scholarly monograph as the only form. I am not suggesting a loosening of standards. Simply giving up standards means that you grant lifelong employment to whoever comes next and freeze out future scholars from the opportunity. An argument for better and more diverse standards is not an argument on behalf of no standards. Quite the opposite. HAStAC (pronounced haystack, an acronym for the Humanities, Arts, Science, and technology Advanced Collaboratory) is a virtual network I cofounded with David Theo Goldberg and others in 2002 (see Davidson and Goldberg, Future of Thinking). We are currently joining task forces, commissions, and committees spon sored by the mLA and other professional associations to support tenure guidelines that endorse many different forms of scholarly production. Along with other profes sional organizations, we are insisting that multiple forms of publication (including online and multimedia) should be counted for tenure in our digital age. We are also supporting the work of other organizations in thinking through how those different modes of production might be assessed. Reassessing our mechanisms for evaluating the quality and quantity of scholarly productivity is a task long overdue. However, I am a realist and know that even if every scholarly organization in the country endorsed a more flexible set of assessments for tenure and promotion, it might still be a decade (or two or three) before most departments of English vote for such a change. So while were all waiting for a change that must and eventually will

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come, I am suggesting a shortterm fix whose benefits are immediate and significant. teaching our research in the form that currently we say we value most is good for pedagogy and the best way to support our research now, today. So, now together, everybody: take out your syllabus for that upcoming course. Eliminate the course pack (admit it: your students dont read all those articles any way). Substitute a few scholarly monographs that you believe best represent our profession and our ideals. Then think through, with your students, what a scholarly monograph is, what it does better than any other form, when it is essential to the practice of research and teaching in our profession and when it is not. When the mode of our research becomes the subject of our teaching, we will be able to celebrate the best examples of our work in a way that inspires our students and is healthy for our profession. At the same time, a practice of reading scholarly monographs with an eye to teaching them should also help us see more clearly where and when the genre does not do the significant task that we say it does in our tenure committees. If teaching scholarly monographs were required in the syllabi of any field that requires writing one for tenure, we would be able to evaluate its efficacy in a differ ent way than we do now, when we read monographs mostly when someones entire career is at stake. Reading them together with our students in our classrooms will not only support authors and publishers in doing what we say they should be doing, it will also help us decide whether the scholarly monograph is really the beall and endall of what we do as researchers and as teachers. Works Cited
Chapter 3: Faculty Appointment, Promotion, and tenure. The Duke University Faculty Handbook. Of fice of the Provost, Duke U, Aug. 2009. Web. 29 Sept. 2009. Davidson, Cathy N. Humanities 2.0: Promise, Perils, Predictions. PMLA 123.3 (2008): 70718. Print. Davidson, Cathy N., and David Theo Goldberg. The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. Cambridge: mIt P, 2009. Print. John D. and Catherine t. macArthur Foundation Research Paper. . The Future of Thinking: Research Institutions in a Digital Age. Cambridge: mIt P, forthcoming. Graff, Gerald. Clueless in Academe: How School Obscures the Life of the Mind. New Haven: yale UP, 2004. Print. Kolodny, Annette. Failing the Future: A Dean Looks at Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century. Durham: Duke UP, 1998. Print. Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion. Profession (2007): 971. mLA, Dec. 2006. Web. 29 Sept. 2009.

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Writing for Readers in a Small Liberal Arts College


Linda Simon
The author is professor of English and former chair of the English department at Skidmore College. A version of the article was presented at the 2009 ADE Summer Seminar West in Las Vegas.

On ACCEPTED candidates days at Skidmore, a representative from each department meets prospective students. Having represented English at many of these events, I can testify to one thing: overwhelmingly, students declare that they want to do creative writing. Doing creative writing is of a piece with Skidmores reputation as an artsy school: students dance, play instruments, draw, sculpt, and paint. Yet although they can major in dance or studio artthat is, become increasingly adept performers in their fieldthey cant major in creative writing, communications, or journalism. The English major means literary studies, in which we ask students to become increasingly adept readers and analytic writers. Yet Skidmore has a strong creative writing faculty and courses filled to bursting in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. So to begin, let me give you an overview of Skidmores creative writing offerings, a little history, and a current update of where we see some problems: assessment, hiring, and coherence. We have a large department (around forty, including non-tenure-track faculty members) and lots of majors. English is one of the largest majors at Skidmore; 165 students major and a few dozen minor in English. Eight years ago we eliminated the possibility of choosing a creative writing track in the department. This decision came at the request of the creative writing faculty. Because any student can register for a creative writing course and because there are no admissions criteria (e.g., writing samples), any student can proceed through the sequence of courses. Faculty members felt uncomfortable: completion of the creative writing track suggested that students somehow had achieved a level of competence or met with approval from the department beyond individual grades. It seemed as if we were offering a BFA, which in fact we were not. Furthermore, the department felt obliged to provide seats for all students interested in creative writing simply because they had declared themselves to be on this track. A senior who registered early for a course could therefore keep out a sophomore who needed the course to keep on track in the sequence. Students requested lots of independent studies to make up for the seats they could not find. So the department endorsed wholeheartedly the elimination of the creative writing track. Yet we continue to boast about these offerings; we treasure our creative writers, and we heap prizes on the students who excel in their creative writing courses. Sometimes, though, we have occasion to step back and ask ourselves what were doing. When we interviewed candidates for a fiction position and a poetry position this year, for example, one question we asked them all was, Given that our majors usually dont go on to MFA programs or make a career as writers, why teach creative writing? All the candidates replied, Because it makes students better readers. We do believe this. none of the creative writing courses focus only on student work. Every faculty member teaches students to read professional work, analyze it for style and strategies, and attend to language. In my own courses, I find that
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student poets in particular write impressive prose. They care about language; their vocabulary is rich; they are attentive to style. Maybe most important, they care about how their written work reflects on them. Some of my colleagues concur, but these impressions are anecdotal. In any case, the fine writing may not correlate with scholarly insight. One of our problems, as you might guess, is assessment. All our majors take a gateway course called Introduction to Literary Studies, one course from the category forms of language and literature, and one from the category language and literature in context. Students who want to take fiction, poetry, or nonfiction writing workshops first need to take one of the forms courses in the genre they hope to pursue. So a genre course in fiction is a prerequisite for the first fiction workshop. Other than these three introductory courses, all majors need to take two courses in some pre-eighteenth-century literature and five literature courses at the advanced level. Creative writing courses do not fulfill any of these requirements. Students may, however, fulfill their capstone experiencerequired of every majorthrough a creative writing project: a set of poems, short stories, or essays or, sometimes, a longer work, like a novella. They can do this advanced project in a class or supervised by a faculty member. When a student writes a senior thesis or long critical paper for a senior seminar (which more than half our seniors do), we have a sense that this project is the culmination of majoring in literary studies, with its emphasis on the practice of close scholarly reading. We dont have that sense when a student writes a creative work. Its true that creative writing students need to take five courses in advanced language and literature, but none of these courses function as a capstone. Some of us think, then, that we are comparing apples, oranges, and maybe mangos when we look at the variety of capstone projects. How do we know that a student whose capstone is a set of poems can achieve the same level of sophistication in literary scholarship as a student who has written a senior thesis? Do we want to have one standard of achievement? Would a dancer, say, graduate with the same certification in a major as someone who has studied the physiology of dancing? This is the assessment problem that we now face. Our second problem is faculty. The creative writing courses are staffed in a variety of ways. We have a tenure-track poet whose position also includes being director of creative writing. This director is supposed to make the creative writing offerings coherent to students, take on the job of inviting writers to give readings and presentations, and help guide students to internships and perhaps graduate programs. Our four fiction writers have shared positions, which means that they teach one semester each year and have the other semester, ideally, to write. Their positions are for three years and renewable. Every three years, then, each writer undergoes a reappointment process. When the shared fiction position was first devised, decades ago, it seemed an ingenious solution to the problem of how to keep practicing writers on our faculty. Soon we had four writers sharing two positions, and they seemed happy enough until a few years ago, when one left for more money and fewer classes. Since then, we have had steady turnover and difficult searches. As I see it, two things have made our half-time positions unattractive. First, the market for literary fiction has changed dramatically. Its almost impossible to get a second and third novel published unless

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sales have been substantial, and for the kind of literary fiction that we cherish, sales usually are not substantial. Advances are small, and they certainly do not make up half a years salary. There are few short story venues that pay. Some of our faculty members have taken other teaching jobs during the semester they should be writing, because they need the money. Second, we have lots of competition from a proliferation of MFA programs, where faculty members get to teach graduate students. Their teaching load is lighter than the alternating 2/3 that our faculty members teach, and the pay is a great deal better. In the past few years, weve had a string of faculty members for the fall position. Some have been superb teachers, but some were not. Top-tier writers who also are exceptional teachers are expensive, and we cant afford them at the moment. I dont know if we will be able to afford them in the future. At the same time, some of us are worried about what we really are offering undergraduates. In the past, we put great emphasis on our writers literary reputation, but weve also seen that some of our best teachers are contingent faculty members whose publications are modest. We dont know if we should be going after superstars, even if we could afford them. Are we doing this for our students or to bask in the glory and gleam of brand-name writers? Our nonfiction writers come from the regular faculty. TwoI and anotherwere hired specifically to teach nonfiction writing, but because student interest is great, others, including literature faculty members and adjuncts, also teach these courses. The common denominator credential for all these faculty members is publication: all are practicing, published writers. But not all have the same status in the department; depending on that status, expectations for what they publish and where vary. Right now, because of the economic climate, some of the non-tenure-track faculty members are feeling very vulnerable. Who should teach creative writing? This question has become urgent. Our third concern is curricular. Our courses in fiction and poetry are not separated further into genres; we do not offer, for example, a course in the graphic novel. But we do have many nonfiction courses in personal essays, lyric essays, memoir, environmental journalism, arts criticism, travel writing, film reviewing, and rock music reviewing. We do not yet offer courses in screenwriting, play writing, feature article writing, or restaurant reviewing, all of which would be of great interest to students. If our offerings seem capricious, even haphazard, in fact they are, driven by what faculty members feel competent to teach and by what we know students will want to take. Is it possible, or desirable, to have a coherence in this part of the curriculum? An overarching concern, and it is critical, is the interplay between our literature and our creative writing offerings, especially as the department thinks about our place in the rolling landscape, unsettled and unsettling, of literary studies. Many of us care deeply about internationalizing our offerings, about programmatic and curricular diversity. But our creative writing courses often seem insulated from these concerns, because of their focus on technique and aesthetic quality. We recently enacted dramatic, for us, curricular reform, moving away from canonicity toward methodology. This move suggests changing pedagogy, but on the rare occasions that we talk about pedagogy, we focus either on our delivery of the colleges required basic writing coursewhich is not part of the English major at

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allor on our literature courses. I dont recall any conversation in which creative writers shared their pedagogies with those who teach literature, or vice versa. We offer a popular course called Reading for Writers, but again, we have not talked about how those readings speak to the rest of the curriculum; we havent talked about how reading for writers is different, if it is, from the reading students do in their literature courses; and we never have imagined a course called Creative Reading. Some of us wonder what that course would be and whether it might provide a link between the two realms that now exist in the English major.

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Education in the Balance: On Receiving the ADE Francis Andrew March Award
David Bartholomae
The author is professor, Charles Crow Chair, and former chair of the English department at the University of Pittsburgh. A version of the article was presented at the 2008 MLA convention in San Francisco.

I I HAD the pleasure of speaking at Jim Slevins Francis Andrew March Award ceremony (December 2005), and the paper he gave, his last, has stayed with me. It opens with a great story, and Ill give it to you in Jims words. In September 1963,
I was taking English 1 from Rene Fortin, and the paper was a three-page, doublespaced close reading of Moby-Dick. The teachers script was legible and gentle, sloping. The comment went like this: Here [arrow to a sentence] you make Melville sound like Plato. Here [arrow to another sentence] he sounds like Aristotle! Which is he? Which are you? While not exactly Chapmans Homer, this comment was news to me. What had been a straightforward, required paper with no one really in it was suddenly populated by a small crowd: Plato, Aristotle, Melville, Fortin, Slevin. We were all gathered there in that little one-inch margin, on erasable paper, my writing inexplicably transformed into an object of cultural attention and interrogation. (11)

Jim lets this anecdote stand for the lost, crucial project of English studies, one that has been lost to students (and teachers and texts) because our discipline has led us to forget or to misunderstand what our intellectual work is and is for (12). He says:
What is lost primarily is the possibility that all students might pursue humanistic inquiry, and what is lost because of that loss is a greater public understanding (achieved by what we do best, teaching and research) of what humanistic inquiry is. (13)

The problem, he says, is that we have learned to think and act in terms of tiers remedial education, general education, and advanced educationand we define courses and careers accordingly, saving our best for the top tier, where serious intellectual work becomes a curiosity of the privileged rather than a necessity for all (14). He proposes a course, Universal English 1, that is at once remedial, disciplinary, and general. It is a course like the one he took with Rene Fortin, where he was invited into the intellectual labor of significant remediation and critical engagement. This is a class where the written work of Plato, Aristotle, Melville, and Slevin are equally the subjects of instruction and the objects of critical attention. From Fortin (and others), Jim learned to speak of the intellectual possibilities from the marginal space of a concern with student writing (15). I love this flattening of the landscapewhere a student paper can demand the same respect and attention as the greats on our reading lists, and where student writing belongs to English (or to everyone interested in the possibilities of thought) and not just to composition. Jim was equally unhappy with how the professional landscape had been partitioned. He had coined a phrase that I found (and continue to find) very useful. He
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said that he worked with composition but not in composition. The division between literature and composition, whether marking out a hierarchy of value or marking out disciplinary subfields, seemed to him to be counterproductive, uninteresting. I share his frustration. Both of us were trained at a time when these divisions were not fundamental or foundational. Several of my generation (and I count myself among them) made student writing central to their scholarship and teaching; we wanted to think about students reading and writing in a productive and engaged relation to the reading and writing of others, including canonical authors and distinguished academics. It was our job to study and to manage these encounters, encounters between different ways of reading and writing that were difficult to resolve or to imagine as part of a single conversation, a conversation in pursuit of knowledge (and involving all sides, we insisted); we were determined not to simply deny or erase what students brought to the classroom. Jim and I talked about this often in the period before he died. I argued that the important professional or intellectual or scholarly or pedagogical issues of our time were no longer well represented by the terms composition and literature; it was more useful to think about the lower division and upper division, about the mission of general education and the possibilities of ordinary language for serious intellectual work, and to think about these in relation to English as a specialized, disciplinary field of research and teaching, whose primary audience was increasingly defined as English majors or graduate students. II My department was recently given a $1.5-million-dollar gift to create the Charles Crow Chair of Expository Writing. The funds came from an estate; the donor, Charles McIntosh, class of 1948, was unknown to me; and the gift came with very little by way of restriction or explanation; and so I went to the university archives to see what I could find.1 McIntosh was not an English major, although he was active in theater; he took a JD from the University of Michigan and had a successful corporate career with H. J. Heinz in Pittsburgh. Given the trajectory of Crows career, as far as I could tell the only courses McIntosh could have taken with him were required introductory courses in composition or literature. Because he referenced expository writing in naming the endowed chair, I am assuming that Crow taught his freshman writing course and that McIntosh never forgot it and wanted to honor its and Crows importance to his life and career. Who was Charles Crow? Crow received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931, and his PhD seventeen years later, in 1948, all from Pitt. For thirteen years, from 1933 to 1946, he worked outside the tenure track, as an instructor in our English department, where, as I noted, he would have taught only the required introductory composition and literature courses. He was on military leave from 1942 to 1946. When he came back, he completed his doctorate and was promoted to assistant professor. The 194748 university bulletin is the first to list his name. That academic year he taught one section each semester of American Poetry, so it is likely that he continued

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to teach the introductory courses. From then on, it is difficult to chart his relation to the lower division. In 1948, he teaches the course Verse Writing, part of our new writing major, which began in 1946, making ours (I believe) one of the oldest creative writing programs in the country, after Iowa. By the fall of 1949, Crow has received his PhD, and he becomes a regular fixture in the bulletin, teaching American Poetry in the fall and spring, Versification (a new title for Verse Writing), and Modern Poetry. It is clear, in other words, that he is interested in student writing as a focus of instruction. In the fall of 1950, he teaches one of the standard period courses for the first time, Seventeenth-Century Literature. His courses on Shakespeare become legendary. He is a key figure in our department in the 1960s, when Jim Slevin takes a course from Rene Fortin at Providence College. In 1970, Crow was promoted to Distinguished Service Professor of English. He retired in 1973, and his students and colleagues gathered funds to provide books and materials for the department in his name, a fund we continue to use today. Crow passed away in 1976. (I arrived at Pitt in the fall of 1975. I never met him.) In the introduction to a Festschrift offered to Crow on his retirement, Richard Tobias noted the range of Crows reading and teaching. Tobias said that while many professors concentrate on a figure or period, enacting a concentration that the academic community admires,
Crow . . . taught American literature, criticism, Milton, and Shakespeare. He offered seminars recently on John Dryden, Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Browning. He taught for three years a sophomore Introduction to Poetry course so successfully that rising enrollments drove him away. His committee wrote a fifty-five-page syllabus for a freshman writing course designed to make college writing a cultural experience rather than an exercise to be endured. Crow is the first to know the new Russian novel, the last French critic, or a fresh recording of an opera. From the early 1930s until now Crow is a man thinking in a time when thought seems a commodity snatched from sick hurry. His lectures were of uncommonly high caliber because he brought so much to his classes. (vii-viii)

Tobias noted that a professor published just as surely in his classroom as in a learned journal, and he said that Crow did his publishing in his classes . . . (vii). This is how and where his research was made public, was offered to a wide audience. In 1958, the English department chair, Charles Crouch, noted that Crow directed more MA theses and doctoral dissertations than any other member of the department. In 1970, Bob Whitman, then the English department chair, wrote in support of Crows promotion to distinguished rank:
For years, his undergraduate courses were the most popular of the departments offerings. Generations of graduate students have worshipped Charlesand I use that extravagant term advisedly, for they found in him the model of a stimulating and provocative scholar-teacher. While he may not be what is known as a publishing scholar . . . , I find that Charles is nevertheless widely known and respected throughout the country and even abroad. I know that several of our most eminent Mellon Professors acknowledge his mastership in the area of Shakespearean criticism; and all of us who have heard him lecture recognize the extraordinarily broad learning and the profound mind.

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What is very clear from the record is that Charles Crow organized his career along lines that are barely recognizable to us now, forty years later. He was much revered as a colleague, teacher, and scholar, although he published very little in his lifetimetwo short articles: a lecture on Henry Jamess late style, printed in English Institute Essays 1957, and an article in Shakespeare Survey 18. He was not a specialist. He devoted his time and energies to general education, as well as to graduate education and the education of English majors. He exerted a strong positive influence over my department and its students from the 1930s to the 1970s. Today, he would be a failed tenure case. III The work in the archives has led me to begin to assemble a documentary history of the Pitt English department from the 1860s to the 1960s. Allow me one or two more brief profiles, since they are pertinent to this occasion. Percival Hunt was one of Crows teachersand, I think, a model Crow took for himself early in his career. I am struck by the parallels. Hunt received his BA and MA at the University of Iowa, where he spent five years outside the tenure track as an instructor (190207); he was appointed assistant professor in 1907 and associate professor in 1916; he served two years as acting head of the department, 191719. He built a brilliant reputation as a teacher. He was the director of the course Constructive Rhetoric from 1904 to 1919. He taught Shakespeare and, beginning in 1903, a very popular course titled Short Story Writing. With this course, Hunt is part of the emergence of not only composition but also creative writing as a course of study at Iowa, the home of the first writing program. (My argument is that these terms, composition and creative writing, were not as fixed and limiting then as they are now.) Hunt was clearly interested in thinking about writing as a school subject. John Gerber, in his history of the Iowa English department, notes, Few had built so brilliant a reputation as a teacher as Percival Hunt. Carrie E. Stanley, Alma Hovey, and others who taught composition under his direction at Iowa continued his principles and methods after he left (39). From 1911 to 1914, John Bowman was the president of the University of Iowa; in 1921 he became the tenth chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, and he served in that role from 1921 to 1945. Bowman looms large (or at least tall) in our history, since he was the chancellor who imagined and then created our grand, forty-twostory Cathedral of Learning. He also recruited an old classmate, Percival Hunt, to serve as chair of Pitts English department. Hunt joined the department in 1921; in 1936, Pitt offered him an honorary doctorate. During his professorial career, Hunt published very little but was known for his Outline of Composition, which defined the program at Pitt and had some national recognition, and for his annual publication of student themes. (These documents are all in the University of Pittsburgh archives.) He took pride in saying that his teaching did not allow him the time to write books. After he retired in 1948, he published three: Samuel Pepys in the Diary (1958), Fifteenth Century England (1962), and The Gift of the Unicorn: Essays on Writing (1965). He died in 1968.

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At his retirement, students and colleagues prepared a Festschrift in his honor: If by Your Art: Testament to Percival Hunt (1948). In his preface, Bowman wrote:
Percival Hunt is tall and slender and straight. A strong wind, it seems, might blow him away. He is a solitary man who, one of his colleagues told me, commutes to work from another star. . . . The man is the best teacher of English I have known. What is Percivals secret of teaching? . . . In his class you must be you; simply, honestly, gladly be you. Tomorrow you will be a more satisfactory person to yourself. No one can tell you how to change in such a way. But you may begin by being now honestly what you are: a bright or dull person, a selfish talkative sham, or a seeker of loveliness in human personality and in the outdoor world. When you write a theme or a paper, you are to make it an expression of yourself. Also you are to keep your mind open and sensitive. In this way you may find more of heaven in these days than you suspected was in them. (xiii-xiv)

Tomorrow you will be a more satisfactory person to yourself. What an odd and resonant phrase. (For those of us in the English department at the University of Pittsburgh, it calls forth memories of a much later colleague, Bill Coles.) Let me reach out for one more connection. One of Hunts students at the University of Pittsburgh was John Gerber, who had Hunt for Advanced Composition and for Shakespeare. Gerber did his BA and MA at Pitt and taught English as an instructor for five years, from 1931 to 1936, which would have made him Crows non-tenure-track colleague and a partner in teaching and developing courses for the lower division. What they said and what they did are part of the lost history of English studies. Gerber went on to a more conventionally distinguished career, one rich with publication and outside recognition. At his retirement, he was the M. F. Carpenter Professor of English at the University of Iowa. During his career, he served on the executive council of the MLA, he was president of NCTE, was a founding member of 4Cs, served as chair of the Iowa English department for fifteen years, from 1961 to 1976. And Gerber was, of course, the first recipient of the Francis Andrew March Award (in 1984). So what do I want to say about Charles Crow and Percival Hunt? They shaped the work, the writing, and the scholarship of many in my department; their scholarship had lasting influence; they saw their teaching as a commitment to something that didnt break easily into layers or levels, into lower division and upper division, composition and literature. They struck a balance. I think it is also safe to say that their careers would be impossible in todays English departments, certainly in mine, where the lack of a monograph and a steady record of publication would exclude them from a tenure-track career in English and from the rewards and influence a tenure-track position can provide. I am echoing a point John Guillory made in a 2004 address to ADE, later published as Evaluating Scholarship in the Humanities: Principles and Priorities:
[H]umanities disciplines have increasingly lost the capacity to recognize scholarship in any form other than book publication. . . . We all know that there are brilliant scholars among us whose scholarship goes into the classroom and not onto the page. I am speaking here not of popular teachers, whose success is easy to measure, but important teachers, whose effects are long-term and connected immediately to the depth of their scholarship. The failure of the profession to devise ways to recognize

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this kind of scholarly achievement, which at moments in the history of humanities disciplines has been enormously important, is not difficult to understand but it is also not right to excuse. The existence of this and alternative modes of scholarship must be acknowledged and rewarded if scholarship is to survive in all the forms in which it can be expressed. (26)

IV I chaired the ADE ad hoc committee that prepared the recently released report on staffing Education in the Balance: A Report on the Academic Workforce in English. One of the earlier titles for the report was On a Multitiered Faculty: Examining Priorities for Staffing in English. We settled for balance, and balance is the word I took for my title today. I want to make it clear that in the remarks that follow I am not summarizing the report or speaking on behalf of the committee. I do, however, want to take a minute to talk about what strikes me as interesting and disturbing in what we found. Having spent ten years as a director of composition and fourteen years as a chair who teaches freshman writing every fall, I have hired and supervised and taught alongside the non-tenure-track faculty members in my university. I know them well, many as close colleagues, and this knowledge was my point of reference as we gathered the data and began to process it. As a committee, we were looking at changes in staffing patterns during a ten-year period, from 1997 to 2007. Not all the data sources fit the period we set out to study. In the period between 1993 and 2004 (in data available from the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty), we charted a decline in both the numbers and the percentage share of tenure-track faculty in Englishfrom 29,100 to 26,000 individuals, from 34.6% of the total instructional staff to 31.6%. There was a significant increase in the number of full-time non-tenure-track positions (1,200 positions, from 11,400 to 12,600) and a slight increase in the number of part-time non-tenure-track positions (200, from 43,600 to 43,800). The tenure-track faculty lost ground; the most significant increase was in full-time faculty outside the tenure track. This trend corresponds to an increase in enrollments over the same ten-year period, although not necessarily an increase in the number of English majors. As student enrollments increased, the pressure on the curriculum was met with an increase in hiring outside the tenure stream and with an increased attention to full-time positions. The ADE survey allowed us to make a detailed accounting of how faculty resources are currently distributed across the curriculum in English. For example, only 30% of lower-division undergraduate courses in English are taught by tenure-track faculty members in PhD-granting institutions; only 62% in baccalaureate institutions. The lower division has been increasingly given over to faculty outside the tenure track. Most of those sections are taught by instructors with an MA; they are not being staffed by PhDs waiting for tenure-track jobs. This finding both surprised and discouraged us, and here is why. Through decisions about staffing, English departments have been making the argument that the lower division does not require the engagement of research funds

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and a research faculty. This approach is dangerous to the future of research support and tenure-stream appointments. Our report therefore insists on the distinction between tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty rather than between full-time and part-time faculty. Provosts and deans rely on the distinction between full- and part-time faculty when, for example, they report to U.S. News and World Report on student-faculty ratios. This reporting masks the more fundamental distinction between a tenure-track faculty (teachers whose job descriptions include ongoing research) and faculty outside the tenure track (teachers with a heavier class load and no support for or expectation of research productivity). Tenure-track faculty members play a limited role in the lower division; they teach primarily majors and graduate students. And there is a decanal (or provostial) logic that goes something like this. While enrollments have increased, the numbers of English majors and English graduate students have not increased substantially (if at all). What have increased are the numbers of students needing to take required English courses, lower-division, general education courses in composition and literature. Tenure-track faculty members are not appropriate for these assignments; they have shown little interest in general education. Therefore, we will provide the teaching faculty necessary for these courses. In fact, we will increase the number of full-time non-tenure lines as a sign of the importance we place on these students and the mission of general education. With full time status, these positions will (and can) define a career path, including a career path for those PhD, MA, and MFA students who choose not to pursue the tenure-track jobs. The staffing patterns we chart in our report, and the multitiered faculty they represent, are the product of a distinction between research and teachingor between a research faculty and a teaching facultythat has become fundamental to institutional thinking. Provosts and deans use the distinction to justify the resources required to support a tenure-track faculty: lighter teaching loads; assignments in advanced courses only; research support, including leaves, grants, and fellowships; and competitive salaries in an increasingly competitive market. And this is not something that happened just to us. I suspect that everyone of my generation has the same story to tell. We teach less now than we did when we entered the profession. We receive more research support. Our institutions are committed to raising their research profiles. Everyone wants a PhD program; everyone requires a book plus for tenure. We have chosen this pathto raise the ante for tenure, to lower teaching loads, and to turn away from the lower division and general education. In a sense, our interests and the interests of the institution lined up perfectly. In fact, we have created pressures in the tenure track that have led at least some of our PhD (and MFA) graduates to prefer positions outside the tenure streamwhere they can teach and maintain an identification with the institution without the pressure to have a book under contract in the first five years. Let me be clear. I am not arguing against the investment in scholarship in English language and literature, although I am dismayed at the simple equation of scholarship with the monograph. There are so many ways that our scholarship meets, informs, and influences the public. And I recognizein fact, I cherishthe longstanding commitment of English departments to general education. I have come

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to accept the fact that English departments, from their inception, have relied on a multitiered faculty, some members with professorial rank, some without, some moving slowly from one to the other. Percival Hunt, Charles Crow, John Gerber all started their careers as instructors. The multitiered faculty is not a recent invention or a problem that is likely to be resolved. Departments like mine are large because of a tacit contract we have with the public. They believe that English is important enough that all students must take, as required, at least two courses with us. We act as though we agreethat is, we offer the courses and accept the resources they provide. I think more can be made of this relation to general education. As advanced research becomes increasingly remote from the general public, it is crucial for researchers to be able to think about their projects from the perspective of the broad base of general education students, the nearest representatives of our wider audience. Similarly, resources that support research and publication should be directed toward the issues represented by general education, which include fundamental questions about the use and value of reading and writing. And so, in the end, the ADE report argues for balance. For enough tenure-track faculty members for all areas of the curriculum. For increased numbers of full-time rather than part-time non-tenure-track faculty members, with wages, privileges (including support for research and travel), and job security so that the careers offered outside tenure are reasonable and fair. For recognition for broad areas and genres of research, including research directed at issues in general education. If this change is to happen, those in the tenure track will have to make some sacrifices, as many already have, now that the bar for promotion and tenure has been substantially raised. To work out the value of research in relation to the multiple missions of an English department (and its multitiered faculty), we will need to develop standards for evaluation that recognize the various forms of scholarship that can serve the project of English. A teaching faculty and a research faculty: this way of conceiving faculty status and responsibility formalizes a distinction between research and teaching that many of us question. But how do we raise our question in a way that creates and supports a just, responsible, and productive workforce? It is hard to imagine that we can reproduce the conditions that supported a career like Charles Crows. I do, however, hope that we can find a balance. Note
1. I am grateful to my research assistants who spent many hours in the University of Pittsburgh archives in service of this project and of a larger departmental history I am preparing: Anna Redcay, Katherine Kidd, and Tara Lockhart.

Works Cited
Bowman, John. Percival Hunt. If by Your Art: Testament to Percival Hunt. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1948. xiiixiv. Print. Education in the Balance: A Report on the Academic Workforce in English. Modern Language Association. MLA, 10 Dec. 2008. Web. 27 Sept. 2009.

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Gerber, John. The Teaching of English at the University of Iowa: Volume 1, 18611961. Iowa City: Maecenas, 1995. Print. Guillory, John. Evaluting Scholarship in the Humanities: Principles and Priorities. ADE Bulletin 137 (2005): 1833. Print. Slevin, James F. Academic Literacy and the Discipline of English. ADE Bulletin 140 (2006): 1117. Print. Tobias, Richard C. Preface. Shakespeares Late Plays: Essays in Honor of Charles Crow. Ed. Tobias and Paul G. Zolbrod. Athens: Ohio UP, 1974. viixi. Print. Whitman, Robert F. Letter to Charles Peake. 16 Feb. 1970. TS.