The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline

The Rise and Fall of English Reconstructing English as a Discipline In this lucid book an eminent scholar teacher and author takes a critical look at the nature and direction of English studies in America Robert Scholes offers a thoughtful and witty intervention in

  • Title: The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline
  • Author: Robert Scholes
  • ISBN: 9780300080841
  • Page: 419
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this lucid book an eminent scholar, teacher, and author takes a critical look at the nature and direction of English studies in America Robert Scholes offers a thoughtful and witty intervention in current debates about educational and cultural values and goals, showing how English came to occupy its present place in our educational system, diagnosing the educational ilIn this lucid book an eminent scholar, teacher, and author takes a critical look at the nature and direction of English studies in America Robert Scholes offers a thoughtful and witty intervention in current debates about educational and cultural values and goals, showing how English came to occupy its present place in our educational system, diagnosing the educational illness he perceives in today s English departments, and recommending theoretical and practical changes in the field of English studies Scholes s position defies neat labels it is a deeply conservative expression of the wish to preserve the best in the English tradition of verbal and textual studies, yet it is a radical argument for reconstruction of the discipline of English The book begins by examining the history of the rapid rise of English at two American universities Yale and Brown at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century Scholes argues that the subsequent fall of English discernible today in college English departments across the United States is the result of both cultural shifts and changes within the field of English itself He calls for a fundamental reorientation of the discipline away from political or highly theoretical issues, away from a specific canon of texts, and toward a canon of methods, to be used in the process of learning how to situate, compose, and read a text He offers an eloquent proposal for a discipline based on rhetoric and the teaching of reading and writing over a broad range of literatures, a discipline that includes literariness but is not limited to it.

    One thought on “The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline”

    1. Narrates the "fall of English" from a passionate oratory form to the theory heavy literature focused discipline it hypothetically is now (according to Scholes). But, this book only looks at this fall via the lens of Yale and Brown. And, the difference between English and Composition is hardly acknowledged.

    2. I am on a serious pedagogy kick right now, and this filled the void that Bloom left- the "what should we really DO?" void, as well as the oft-ignored need for a direction in the humanities, a real aspiration toward truth and away from trends for their own sake. As a future college educator I feel rewarded and inspired by the lucid outlining of the real concerns of education in the liberal arts and the "assignments" provided some serious insights without seeming too rigid or stuffyough, how could [...]

    3. First of all, this is a very well-written collection of linked essays. Non-narrative non-fiction that drew me in and compelled me to keep turning pages--that is quite a feat. And I was buying the premise of his argument and agree wholeheartedly with his identification of the problems of English Departments. Perhaps I'm just a too thoroughly indoctrinated child of the theory era, but I found his solution to be far too conservative in its thinking. I won't offer spoilers, but he lost me by Chapter [...]

    4. I read this book the second to last semester of my undergrad program (Music Ed and Spanish Majors) and I very nearly decided that I was going to be an English teacher because of it. It got me so excited about my own language, and Scholes seems to rise above the clamor of the pendulum swings that typify our educational and philosophical foci.This book is a must read for any English-Speaking educator or teacher of English. It gives a greater sense of purpose and perspective to our profession, whic [...]

    5. Shockingly, I really enjoyed this text. I anticipated hating the book, which was certainly not the case. I really enjoyed the way Scholes broke down the evolution of English as a discipline. It reminded me of many of the flaws of the English department I experienced during undergrad. My one issue with the text was the lack of diversity in the authors he referenced throughout the book as well as within the teaching unit he presents in the end. But definitely readable and helpful.

    6. Scholes presents some interesting ideas on the rise of English literature departments in America, current decline, and ways to restructure or reorient thinking to make literature studies more widely accessible and relevant. Not all the politics may agree, but the ideas (esp. Ch 3-5) are good. Recommended for those teaching literature or devising writing courses.

    7. I feel like I should keep this book because it's "important" and represents a lot of what we discussed/argued in the courses for my master's in English, but will I ever read it again? Did I even read it all the way through in the first place. I'm thinking

    8. This book has me thinking deeply. It's characterized by a breezy tone (breezy for a theoretical piece, at least). But the arguments Scholes makes are strong. I'm surprised at how compelling I find them.

    9. I wish I could rate this book lower than one-star. Like negative 10 stars. It was so awful and the only reason I read it is because it was required for school.

    10. "if we can no longer find it possible to believe in Truth, we must nevertheless find our way to truthfulness" p. 151

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