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Devolving English Literature written by Robert Crawford

 

Devolving English Literature written by Robert Crawford

Overview:

Devolving English Literature questions the manner in which an assumed English cultural center has controlled the way we read since the eighteenth century. It interrogates the Anglocentricity of the subject of "English Literature," demonstrating how it has governed our reading of un-English and "provincial" texts. Discussing English, American, Irish, Australian, and other writings, Crawford concentrates on Scottish literature, which furnishes the most extended and acute model of a culture concerned with maintaining and developing its own identity while engaging with England's linguistic and political dominance. Starting with the eighteenth-century "Scottish invention of English Literature", Crawford traces the evolution of a distinctively British Literature. This process culminated in Scott who, with Carlyle, encouraged nineteenth-century American writing and left rich legacies both to anthropology and the literary Modernism of Eliot, Pound, and others. This essentially provincial phenomenon of Modernism underwrites even Larkin, as well as such sophisticated post-British "barbarian" poets as Heaney, Harrison, Dunn, Murray, and Walcott. Devolving English Literature makes a major contribution to the current debates regarding English-speaking literary culture and the participation in it of non-English speakers, arguing for devolutionary readings, alert to nuances of cultural difference.

Synopsis:

Discussing English, American, Irish, Australian, and other writings, Crawford concentrates on Scottish literature, which furnishes the most extended and acute model of a culture concerned to maintain and develop its own identity while engaging with England's linguistic and political dominance. Starting with the eighteenth-century 'Scottish invention of English Literature', Crawford traces in Boswell, Burns, and others the evolution of a distinctively British Literature. This process culminated in Scott who, with Carlyle, encouraged nineteenth-century American writing and left rich legacies both to anthropology and the literary Modernism of Eliot, Pound, Joyce, and MacDiarmid. This essentially provincial phenomenon of Modernism underwrites even Larkin, as well as such sophisticated post-British 'barbarian' poets as Heaney, Harrison, Dunn, Murray, and Walcott.

Devolving English Literature makes a major contribution to the current debates regarding English-speaking literary culture and the participation in it of non-English speakers, arguing accessibly and clearly for devolutionary readings, alert to nuances of cultural difference.

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Title: Devolving English Literature

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