Notes from the Field

  • From the Editors
  • August 26, 2011

Literary Matters

Literary theory has long been targeted as overly politicized and irrelevant. But the study of literature has given insights into human history and into the human condition at least as profound as anything claiming to be solely based in fact. "Knowing the past means knowing what people carried in their pockets, what they did with their sewage, where their dogs slept," says Scott Herring in the Chronicle Review. Could grounding the study of literature in objects offer a lifeline to a tired discipline, divorced (at least in public opinion) from reality or from anything that matters? 

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