Features February 1995
Farewell to the MLA
On the 110th annual convention of the Modern Language Association, in San Diego, California, December 1994.
You might think that after all the attention lavished on the annual, post-Christmas meetings of the Modern Language Association in recent years, the 110th convention in San Diego, California, last December would have little to offer in the way of shock or surprise. After all, the rampant politicization of literary study that the MLA has aggressively supported in our colleges and universities is now an established datum of American cultural life. The priority that this mammoth academic bureaucracy (total membership: 31,000) accords to such issues as race, gender, and class in its professional deliberations is no longer news, and neither is its elevation of popular culture to a position of parity with great works of literature as subjects for classroom study. Yet the growth of the MLA’s radical agenda continues to spawn new outrages. Readers of The New...
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