Introduction: Asking Literary QuestionsWho Owns "Human Nature"?Historical Correctness: The Use and Abuse of History for Literature
A literary scholar addresses the significance of the study of literature in the arena of important public questions
Marjorie Garber is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at Harvard University, the director of the Humanities Center and the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard, and the president of the Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutions. She has been a prolific lecturer and writer since the 1960s. Recent books include Quotation Marks, Academic Instincts, and Sex and Real Estate: Why We Love Houses.
""A Manifesto for Literary Studies," writes Marjorie Garber, "is an attempt to remind us of the specificity of what it means to ask literary questions, and the pleasure of thinking through and with literature. It is a manifesto in the sense that it invites strong declarations and big ideas, rather than impeccable small contributions to edifices long under construction." Known for her timely challenges to the preconceptions and often unquestioned boundaries that circumscribe our culture, Garber's beautifully crafted arguments situate "big public questions of intellectual importance"--such as those of human nature and historical correctness--within the practice of literary historians and critics. This manifesto revives the ancient craft whose ultimate focus is language in action. In this book, Garber passionately states that "the future importance of literary studies--and, if we care about such things, its intellectual and cultural prestige both among the other disciplines and in the world--will come from taking risks, and not from playing it safe."