When it first appeared in 1976, this groundbreaking exploration of the influences of capitalism on the profession of English touched a nerve among educators and inspired Library Journal to declare, "This book should be read by all thoughtful Americans." Now, 20 years later, in a substantial new introduction that recontextualizes the book, Richard Ohmann addresses the critical furor over its initial publication, evaluates his own arguments in the aftermath of the Cold War, and locates the profession of English in the thick of the hotly contested culture wars. A remarkably prescient book whose claims have withstood two decades of fierce debate, English in America is widely considered to be as relevant today as ever. Wise, witty, and urbane, it has much to teach all students of English.
English in America is one of the most important books in the field of literary studies of the past three decades . . . Much of what Ohmann wrote about in 1976-the intellectual, professional, and historical trends he describes-remains very pertinent today.
RICHARD OHMANN is Professor of English at Wesleyan University and author of Politics of Letters (1987) and Shaw: The Style and the Man (1962). GERALD GRAFF is George M. Pullman Professor of English and Education, University of Chicago, and author of Beyond the Culture Wars (1992).
I. Foreword by Gerald Graff
II. Introduction to the 1995 Edition
III. Introduction to the 1976 Edition
1. Literature and the Rites of Passage
2. English 101 and the Military-Industrial Complex
3. The Professional Ethos
4. Past and Future
5. Afterthoughts, 1995