Monday, January 8, 2007

Brian Boyd on literary studies

We love stories, and we will continue to love them. But for more than 30 years, as Theory has established itself as "the new hegemony in literary studies" (to echo the title of Tony Hilfer's cogent critique), university literature departments in the English-speaking world have often done their best to stifle this thoroughly human emotion.
Above, the opening paragraph of a powerfully argued piece by Brian Boyd (author of a great two-volume Vladimir Nabokov biography) on culture, biology, and the present state of literary studies.
"Getting It All Wrong" (The American Scholar)

comments: 2

Nyssa23 said...

Very interesting, and I couldn't agree more. I love that feeling of reading something a hundred years old or from a thousand miles away, and realizing that all people have the same basic wants and feelings.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for your comment, Nyssa23. When you look at, say, the list of cultural universals in the back of Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, it becomes relatively easy to see such distances in space and time as rather small after all.