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July 5, 2007

Branded

In today's Inside Higher Ed, Mark Bauerlein writes:

After I left graduate school, more literary/cultural criticism anthologies appeared along with various dictionaries and encyclopedias. The process seems to have culminated in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (ed. Vincent Leitch et al), whose publication in 2001 was momentous enough to merit a long story by Scott McLemee in The Chronicle of Higher Education that included the remark, "An anthology stamped with the Norton brand name is a sure sign of the field's triumph in English departments."

For McLemee to speak of "stamping" and "branding" was apt, more so than he intended, for every anthology assigned in class carries institutional weight.

Uh, no, that would be precisely the overtone and degree of aptness intended. I haven't reread the piece in a very long time, but do recall that the institutionalization and commercialization of theory were very much the focus of my attention.

The text of that article from 2001 (the first cover story I wrote while at the paper) is available online.

(crossposted from Cliopatria)

Posted by smclemee at July 5, 2007 6:43 AM

COMMENTS

Lacan made the cut, Erich Auerbach did not...I'm relieved all over again that I'm out of that profession.

Posted by: Tony Nassar at July 5, 2007 11:20 AM

What I remember from reporting the piece was the tenor of response to my question about the absence of practical criticism (as it was once called) from the anthology.

It was as if I had asked for the return of slavery, or at least of indentured servitude.

Posted by: Scott McLemee at July 5, 2007 2:57 PM