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It is a stale approach to restrict literature majors to a small list of classics rather than expanding our knowledge by allowing us to see what else is out there. Classes like Ellen OBriens Irish Literature course expose students to works they most likely would never discover otherwise. Keeping the curriculum fresh makes it engaging for the students of literature. Greenblatt and Gunn explain how English studies need to evolve: Where twenty-five or thirty years ago the profession was organized almost everywhere around the close reading of a stable, determinate set of masterworks, literary studies are now being reorganized in many institutions around an open series of inquires about what constitutes literary interest in the first place" (Greenblatt and Gunn 9). The key word is interest. Literary interest is not learned. It is experienced. Gina Buccola was not taught that she liked Shakespeare, and Ellen OBrien was not taught that she liked Victorian literature. They were engaged with particular works that sparked their literary interests, and they continued their studies further than what was taught to them in survey classes. Literature as an academic discipline needs to ignite social engagement, expose students to a wide range of works, and define an actual literary canon within the constantly evolving world that dictates the discipline as a whole. Almost a century ago, English studies were at the forefront of education. Terry Eagleton writes, "In the early 1920s it was desperately unclear why English was worth studying at all; by the early 1930s it had become a question of why it was worth wasting your time on anything else. English was not only a subject worth studying, but the supremely civilizing pursuit, the spiritual essence of the social formation" (Eagleton 55). In some ways English studies are returning to the ideologies of the 1930s but in other ways their importance has severely diminished because the discipline is not seen for its importance, but rather for its label as a requirement of graduation. American universities need to break free from this narrow stigmatization in order to continue the transformation process of the literary canon, its ability to engage students, and its ability to adapt to the modern ideals of pop culture, technological advancements, and cultural studies. Works Cited: Bloom, Harold . Elegaic Conclusion , Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature , pp 224-233. Bedford. 2000 Eagleton, Terry. The Rise of English, Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, pp 49-59. Bedford. 2000 Greenblatt, Stephen and Gunn, Giles , Introduction , Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies , pp 1-11 NY: 1992 Menand, Louis. The Demise of Disciplinary Authority , Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, pp 103-111. Bedford. 2000 Ohmann, Richard. The Function of English at the Present Time , Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature , pp 89-95. Bedford. 2000 Richter. David H., Why We Read , Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature , pp 15-30. Bedford. 2000 Scholes, Robert . A Fortunate Fall? Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, pp 111-119. Bedford. 2000... View Full Document

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