I like to think I have a certain advantage as a teacher of literature because when I was growing up I disliked and feared books.
—Gerald Graff

The profession of literary studies in the university has become so risible a subject in newspaper and magazine articles that tremors are beginning to be felt in the academy. What, professors want to know, is going wrong? It does no good to tell them that they have corrupted the rich curriculum of literature in English into a mind-numbing, monotonous replication of the same old left-wing ideological harangue—the race-class-gender victimization thing. And it is pointless to tell them that their preoccupation with the jargon of incomprehensible theory is driving students away from literature classes. Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (1987), Dinesh...


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