Canons and Contexts by Paul Lauter

By Paul Lauter

This number of essays areas matters important to literary learn, really the query of the canon, within the context of institutional practices in American faculties and universities. Lauter addresses such an important matters as what scholars may still learn and research, how criteria of "quality" are outlined and adjusted, the bounds of theoretical discourse, and the methods race, gender, and sophistication form not just educating, curricula, and learn priorities, yet collegiate body of workers activities to boot. The publication examines seriously the range of modern proposals for "reforming" better schooling, and it calls into query many practices, like making use of huge numbers of part-timers, now well-liked by collage managers. supplying concrete examples of a "comparative" strategy for educating literary texts, and particular circumstances approximately "integrating" curricula, Canons and Contexts proposes sensible rules for growing diversified, lively, and democratic school rooms and schools.

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It is not, I should add, that the journal confined itself to "major" writers or to authors from the early or mid-nineteenth century. Quite the contrary, it ran pieces on stalwarts like John Pendleton Kennedy, not to speak of Godey's Ladies' Book, as well as articles dealing with a number of twentiethcentury male authors. While professionalization was thus erecting institutional barriers against women, their status was being attacked in other ways. 26 The extent to which such attacks arose from the pressure of job competition, general political conservatism, antisuffrage backlash, or other factors is not yet clear.

And I suspect there are still more sessions on women's studies in language and literature, though they are not listed separately in the subject index. In general, formalist and feminist sessions are the best attended, and, give or take some overlap, their constituencies are largely distinct. At one of the most crowded sessions on criticism at the 1982 convention three rather complex, not to say obscure, papers were presented. At the end, with an unusual amount of time left, the chair asked for comments or questions.

Dickinson appeared in twenty-four of these courses; that placed her seventeenth on the list, tied with Holmes and Cooper, but behind Whittier, Lowell, Bryant, Longfellow, and others. The other women were the last two writers listed; Wharton (number thirty-six) appeared in five courses of the ninety surveyed; Cather (number thirty-seven) appeared four times. Before both of them came Frank Norris, Hamlin Garland, Theodore Dreiser, Mather (presumably Cotton), William Bird, Abraham Lincoln, Bret Harte, and Jonathan Edwards.

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