The Profession of Eighteenth-Century Literature: Reflections on an Institution

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Reviews the institutional history and assumptions of the modern study of 18th-century literature, one of the last fields to cross over into postmodernism. The purpose is not to berate earlier ideas, but to show how they have influenced the new ideas. The 11 essays discuss destabilizing Augustan literature, Swift in his time and ours, commodity feminism, and other topics. Paper edition (unseen), $24.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299133047
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1992
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Leo Damrosch
Leo Damrosch
The Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University, Leo Damrosch has illuminated the lives and writings of figures from Samuel Johnson to Alexander Pope in his scholarly works. But it was his longtime fascination with an infamous Swiss philosopher that resulted in the National Book Award-nominated masterpiece, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius.

Biography

Leo Damrosch is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University. He has written widely on 18th-century writers.

Author biography courtesy of Houghton Mifflin.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Damrosch:

"I love sports, and my high point as an athlete was at the University of Virginia, when I was 40, and our English Department intramural softball team beat the basketball team for the championship. I was the pitcher, and got their seven-foot-tall star to pop up four times. Nowadays, I'm confined to watching sports on TV, an interest that my family finds inexplicable. I still play pool, and juggle."

"I've developed a big lecture course at Harvard called "Wit and Humor" that combines films with literature and tries to combine serious inquiry into why we laugh with a good deal of actual laughing."

"I live with a cockatiel who regards himself as the head of the family but condescends to groom my beard."

"Ever since college I've had a passion for geology; I pay attention to rocks wherever I go, and I especially admire the big glacial erratics that litter New England and furnished the material for thousands of miles of stone walls."

"I've loved photography ever since my teens; I recently went digital, and some of my pictures of places Rousseau lived are in the biography."

"I love to travel. My family and I have had memorable stays in a little village in Provence, and also on the islands of St. John and Guadeloupe. Basking in a tropical ocean is my idea of perfection."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leopold Damrosch, Jr.
    2. Hometown:
      Newton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 14, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Manila, Philippines
    1. Education:
      B.A., Yale University, 1963; M.A. Cambridge University, 1966; Ph.D., Princeton University, 1968

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Inventing the Eighteenth Centuries: A Long View 7
2 Varieties of Literary Affection 26
3 Cultural Crisis and Dialectical Method: Destabilizing Augustan Literature 42
4 A New History of the Enlightenment? 62
5 Professing Gray: The Resumption of Authority in Eighteenth-Century Studies 84
6 The Legacy of Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel 95
7 Swift in His Own Time and Ours: Some Reflections on Theory and Practice in the Profession 113
8 Ideology and the Flight from History in Eighteenth-Century Poetry 135
9 Commodity Feminism 154
10 Samuel H. Monk and a Scholar's Life: Humanism as Praxis 175
11 Reaching Mid-Career in "the Eighteenth Century": Some Personal Reflections 200
Commentary 211
Notes on Contributors 223
Index 227
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