The English Department: A Personal and Institutional History

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Overview

To understand the history of "English," Ross Winterowd insists, one must understand how literary studies, composition-rhetoric studies, and influential textbooks interrelate. Stressing the interrelationship among these three forces, Winterowd presents a history of English studies in the university since the Enlightenment.

Winterowd’s history is unique in three ways. First, it tells the whole story of English studies: it does not separate the history of literary studies from that of composition-rhetoric studies, nor can it if it is going to be an authentic history. Second, it traces the massive influence on English studies exerted by textbooks such as Adventures in Literature, Understanding Poetry, English in Action, and the Harbrace College Handbook. Finally, Winterowd himself is very much a part of the story, a partisan with more than forty years of service to the discipline, not simply a disinterested scholar searching for the truth.

After demonstrating that literary studies and literary scholars are products of Romantic epistemology and values, Winterowd further invites controversy by reinterpreting the Romantic legacy inherited by English departments. His reinterpretation of major literary figures and theory, too, invites discussion, possibly argument. And by directly contradicting current histories of composition-rhetoric that allow for no points of contact with literature, Winterowd intensifies the argument by explaining the development of composition-rhetoric from the standpoint of literature and literary theory.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809321698
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/1998
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Ross Winterowd is Bruce McElderry Professor of English, Emeritus, at the University of Southern California. Among his sixteen books are Composition/Rhetoric: A Synthesis, The Rhetoric of the "Other" Literature, and The Culture and Politics of Literacy.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue 1
1 The Prelude 17
2 Discovery[actual symbol not reproducible]Invention[actual symbol not reproducible]Creation Rhetoric: Tod und Verklarung 32
3 Current-Traditional Textbooks: Take in Small Doses and Shake Well Before Using 75
4 Romantic Agonies 101
5 Romantic Stasis: Shelley, Arnold, Richards 137
6 Emerson: The American Connection 167
7 Literature at a Turning Point, 1938 184
Epilogue: Where Are We Now? 203
Notes 235
References Cited 241
Index 255
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