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- DescriptionIn the mid-nineteenth century, the study of English literature began to be divided into courses that surveyed discrete periods. Since that time, scholars' definitions of literature and their rationales for teaching it have changed radically. But the periodized structure of the curriculum has remained oddly unshaken, as if the exercise of contrasting one literary period with ather has an importance that transcends the content of any individual course.Why Literary Periods Mattered explains how historical contrast became central to literary study, and why it remained institutionally central in spite of critical controversy about literature itself. Organizing literary history around contrast rather than causal continuity helped literature departments separate themselves from departments of history. But critics' long reliance on a rhetoric of contrasted movements and fateful turns has produced important blind spots in the discipline. In the twenty-first century, Underwood argues, literary study may need digital techlogy in particular to develop new methods of reasoning about gradual, continuous change.
- Author BiographyTed Underwood is Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Work of the Sun: Literature, Science, and Political Economy, 1760-1860 and blogs about digital approaches to literary history at The Stone and the Shell.
- Author(s)Ted Underwood
- PublisherStanford University Press
- Date of Publication24/07/2013
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Place of PublicationPalo Alto
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintStanford University Press
- Content Noteillustrations
- Weight454 g
- Width152 mm
- Height234 mm
- Spine18 mm
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