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Is Literary History Possible?
     

Is Literary History Possible?

by David Perkins
 

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Is Literary History Possible? is a landmark study of the thinking underlying recent theory about literary history. Through analysis of particular literary histories -- most of them contemporary works -- Perkins elaborates on two fundamental problems that arise in the writing of literary history: the contradictions inherent in organizing, structuring, and

Overview

Is Literary History Possible? is a landmark study of the thinking underlying recent theory about literary history. Through analysis of particular literary histories -- most of them contemporary works -- Perkins elaborates on two fundamental problems that arise in the writing of literary history: the contradictions inherent in organizing, structuring, and presenting the subject; and the "always unsuccessful" attempt of literary histories to explain the development of the literature they describe.

Editorial Reviews

Biblioteque d'Humanisme et Renaissance
Is Literzry History Possible? is a book you must read. It is pleasure to be able to that the duty is made enjoyable by the clarity of though and expression. When Perkins concisely explains how literary history in also literary criticism but is different from what we usually call history, and why it is both a complex and and worthwhile pursuit, more than antiquarian interest in a 'aesthetic spectacle', anyone can see that most writers on such a topic would have had more words, fewer ideas, and less effect. What more can one ask for than lucid learining on a topic of major importance?

Harvard Review
The highest achievement of Perkin's book comes in the clarity he brings to the contestation, the dignified, serious, judicious, and generous rationality he bestows on the subject. He acknowledges the damaging confusion bedeviling humanities at the moment without enlarging it, and goes a long way in this book to showing a way out of the worst excesses the contestation has engendered.

— Theoharis Constantine Theoharis

Comparative Literature.
Perkins writes clearly and concisely. Like René Wellek and M. H. Abrams, he has an admirable gift for making clear the underlying assumptions of many different writers.

Comparative Literature
Perkins writes clearly and concisely. Like René Wellek and M. H. Abrams, he has an admirable gift for making clear the underlying assumptions of many different writers.
Harvard Review - Theoharis Constantine Theoharis
The highest achievement of Perkin's book comes in the clarity he brings to the contestation, the dignified, serious, judicious, and generous rationality he bestows on the subject. He acknowledges the damaging confusion bedeviling humanities at the moment without enlarging it, and goes a long way in this book to showing a way out of the worst excesses the contestation has engendered.

Booknews
Through analysis of particular literary histories--most of them contemporary works--Perkins (English and American literature, Harvard U.) explores two fundamental problems that arise in such writing: the contradictions inherent in organizing, structuring, and presenting the subject; and the literary histories to explain the development of the literature they describe. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801847158
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
10/19/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

W. Jackson Bate
Profoundly searching, yet written with grace and lucidity. A distinguished historian and critic illuminates and answers one of the major problems of literary study in a work that will become and remain a classic.

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