Friday, December 16, 2005

Literary theory as she is tort today

Literary theory is a really gripping subject, right? Right. In my case, it grips me tightly round the throat and rapidly induces a state of merciful unconsciousness.

You, however, may be made of sterner stuff. And if you want to know what little Jimmy is likely to be taught when he starts college next year (at least in the US), then the Chronicle of Higher Education provides a pretty good survey. Basically, it turns out to be the same sort of crap as the Hollywood 'character arcs' stuff mentioned earlier; only in the case of literary theory, even some of the professors have realised that no one's taking any notice.

Paul H. Fry, a professor of English at Yale, says 'Literary theory is now a topic that interests a few people as a matter of intrinsic importance and matters to a few more as an object of historical research. Why continue to view it as a national threat?'

I promise I won't. I shall just regard it as an unusually tiresome nonsense.

Meanwhile, the same issue of the Chronicle has an article about literary aesthetics. This one claims that 'today's academic scholarship has become separated from its grounding: It is no longer connected to the very medium that gave it rise, literature.' Which comes as no surprise to me.

Both links from Galleycat.

No comments: