Literature in the Making: A History of U.S. Literary Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

Hardcover | November 26, 2015

byNancy Glazener

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In the eighteenth century, literature meant learned writings; by the twentieth century, literature had come to be identified with imaginative, aesthetically significant works, and academic literary studies had developed special protocols for interpreting and valuing literary texts. Literaturein the Making examines what happened in between: how literature came to be more precisely specified and valued; how it was organized into genres, canons, and national traditions; and how it became the basis for departments of modern languages and literatures in research universities. Modern literature, the version of literature familiar today, was an international invention, but it was forged when literary cultures, traditions, and publishing industries were mainly organized nationally. Literature in the Making examines modern literature's coalescence and institutionalization inthe United States, considered as an instructive instance of a phenomenon that was going global. Since modern literature initially offered a way to formulate the value of legacy texts by authors such as Homer, Cervantes, and Shakespeare, however, the development of literature and literary culture inthe U.S. was fundamentally transnational. Literature in the Making argues that Shakespeare studies, one of the richest tracts of nineteenth-century U.S. literary culture, was a key domain in which literature came to be valued both for fuelling modern projects and for safeguarding values andpractices that modernity put at risk-a foundational paradox that continues to shape literary studies and literary culture. Bringing together the histories of literature's competing conceptualizations, its print infrastructure, its changing status in higher education, and its life in public culture during the long nineteenth century, Literature in the Making offers a robust account of how and why literature mattered thenand matters now. By highlighting the lively collaboration between academics and non-academics that prevailed before the ascendancy of the research university starkly divided experts from amateurs, Literature in the Making also opens new possibilities for envisioning how academics might partner withthe reading public.

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In the eighteenth century, literature meant learned writings; by the twentieth century, literature had come to be identified with imaginative, aesthetically significant works, and academic literary studies had developed special protocols for interpreting and valuing literary texts. Literaturein the Making examines what happened in betw...

Nancy Glazener is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of Reading for Realism: The History of a U.S. Literary Institution, 1850-1910.

other books by Nancy Glazener

Reading for Realism: The History of a U.S. Literary Institution, 1850–1910
Reading for Realism: The History of a U.S. Literary Ins...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.18 inPublished:November 26, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199390134

ISBN - 13:9780199390137

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Organizing Literature2. Literature, Civil Society, and the State3. Studying Literature4. Lost Episodes from Public Literary Culture5. Literary Species and Academic Toolkits6. Disciplinarity and Beyond

Editorial Reviews

"Literature in the Making excavates the complex cultural negotiations that produced the category of 'literature,' a concept that would then undergird the emergent discipline of 'English.' Parsing ideas about the literary in relation to evolving social distinctions between public and expertculture, Glazener's timely and important book steps into urgent scholarly conversations about the status of disciplines in what Louis Menand has called the 'post-disciplinary' era." --Elizabeth Renker, author of The Origins of American Literature Studies: An Institutional History