Why Literature—not the People—Rose
The past decade of literary study witnessed a host of arguments concerning the making of the English canon and the rise of Literature with a capital “L.” From changing reading habits to the displacement of religion, from an expansion of print to a “disciplinary” displacement of philosophy, eighteenth-century critics have posited a variety of answers to the question of how and why literature rose when it did.1 In one sense, this may be a continuation of a trend in eighteenth-century studies particularly, one whereby critics chart the rise of this or that in eighteenth-century Britain: the novel, the public sphere, the people, the domestic woman, liberalism, capitalism, civility, literature. But in another sense, it marks a critical self-consciousness about the profession itself, one that seeks to answer for the present crises of the discipline.2
KeywordsEighteenth Century French Revolution Late Eighteenth Century Woman Writer Good Writing
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