Widely considered the standard history of the profession of literary studies, Professing Literature unearths the long-forgotten ideas and debates that created the literature department as we know it today. In a readable and often-amusing narrative, Gerald Graff shows that the heated conflicts of our recent culture wars echo—and often recycle—controversies over how literature should be taught that began more than a century ago.
Updated with a new preface by the author that addresses many of the provocative arguments raised by its initial publication, Professing Literature remains an essential history of literary pedagogy and a critical classic.
“Graff’s history. . . is a pathbreaking investigation showing how our institutions shape literary thought and proposing how they might be changed.”— The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism