Another incisive essay about the decline of English depapartments.
What are the causes for this decline? There are several, but at the root is the failure of departments of English across the country to champion, with passion, the books they teach and to make a strong case to undergraduates that the knowledge of those books and the tradition in which they exist is a human good in and of itself. What departments have done instead is dismember the curriculum, drift away from the notion that historical chronology is important, and substitute for the books themselves a scattered array of secondary considerations (identity studies, abstruse theory, sexuality, film and popular culture). In so doing, they have distanced themselves from the young people interested in good books.
I think that most of these type of essays have really great points, being myself averse to theory-dominated textual "studies". But while much can be gained from the minority who are critical of the status quo, who is trailblazing new solutions for the future? What solutions are there?