Literature by Carl Woodring

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Delving into the hotly debated issues surrounding the relevance of the humanities in today's society, this spirited and engaging book analyzes the history and current status of literary study in America. Carl Woodring -- who played a central part in organizing Columbia University's Society of Fellows in the Humanities, which oversees the core program devoted to monumental works of civilizations and art -- casts an astute eye on the culture wars, chastising both the radicals who have jettisoned humanism and the conservatives who reject any challenge to prevailing tastes.

After examining the history of cultural, political, and commercial influences on literary study in North America from the early 1800s to the late 1990s, Woodring turns to the present state and future course of the university itself, discussing the larger institutional context of the contemporary humanities. From the role of technology in classrooms and libraries to needed changes in the tenure system, from the effect of the current emphasis on research and publication to helpful advice for young teachers, Literature: An Embattled Profession offers critical insights into ways to rescue the profession of literary study from insularity and dissension. Finally, Woodring delivers a devastating analysis of the bloated administrations that act as Ph.D. factories and show no regard for the future of the scholars they produce.


About Carl Woodring

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Carl Woodring is Woodberry Professor Emeritus of Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books, including "Politics in English Romantic Poetry, Wordsworth, Virginia Woolf, " and "Nature Into Art: Cultural Transformations in Nineteenth-Century Britain." He is the editor of "Table Talk in the Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Columbia History of British Poetry, " and, with James Shapiro, "The Columbia Anthology of British Poetry.
Published July 15, 1999 by Columbia University Press. 224 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Occupying an excellent vantage from which to assess the state of his profession, Woodring (professor emeritus of English at Columbia) here happily resists the temptation to pen a polemical culture-wars screed.

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The New York Review of Books

More recently, the theme appears in, among other books, Literature Lost (1997), by John Ellis, a scholar of German literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz, The Rise and Fall of English (1998), by Robert Scholes, a professor at Brown, and it is reprised in Kernan’s new book, a mem...

Nov 04 1999 | Read Full Review of Literature

ForeWord Reviews

As the future of literature and the humanities at the university level are crucial to the independent thinker, Carl Woodring’s Literature is an important book for those, such as independent booksellers and publishers, whose livelihoods depend on a large audience of well-read, interested readers.

Aug 16 1999 | Read Full Review of Literature

LA Times

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Times Book Prizes are awarded the night before the weekend's Festival of Books, which will take place at USC.

Feb 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Literature

Project MUSE

The elitism that worries Woodring is manifested in a variety of ways such as our espousing only a "narrow canon of elitist literature" (p.

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