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Free eBook The Death of Literature download

by Professor Alvin Kernan

Free eBook The Death of Literature download ISBN: 0300047835
Author: Professor Alvin Kernan
Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (September 26, 1990)
Language: English
Pages: 240
Category: Imaginative Literature
Subcategory: History and Criticism
Size MP3: 1667 mb
Size FLAC: 1771 mb
Rating: 4.9
Format: lrf lrf txt lit


The Death of Literature is a 1990 book by American literary critic and professor Alvin Kernan.

The Death of Literature is a 1990 book by American literary critic and professor Alvin Kernan. In the book, Kernan considers the circumstances and causes of what be describes as the death of the "old literature" of romanticism and modernism. Among the causes he considers are recent theoretical approaches such as deconstruction, the politicization of criticism, and the rise of television culture.

The turn taken by literary criticism itself, in deconstructing traditional literature and declaring it void of meaning in itself, and in focusing on what are described as its ideological biases against women and nonwhites, has speeded the disintegration.

Princeton professor Kernan explores how our technological society is swiftly abandoning reading for TV and other . Dr. Kernan is a professor emeritus of humanities at Princeton

Princeton professor Kernan explores how our technological society is swiftly abandoning reading for TV and other electronic media. Kernan is a professor emeritus of humanities at Princeton. His book, The Death of Literature, is a scholarly analysis of the academic and cultural trends that have led to the decline (I refuse to concede & of literature as a respected and respectable academic discipline and its imminent risk of being subsumed by the more & and broader branch of knowledge known as &.

The Death of Literature book

The Death of Literature book. In this witty and eloquent book, a distinguished professor of humanities looks at some of the agents that have contributedto literature's demise and ponders whether its vitality can be restored in the changing circumstances Literature has passed through a crisis of confidence in recent decades-a radical questioning of its traditional values and its importance to humanity

No other book on the state of literature today can outdo this profound and lively expos‚. The book is alarming and reassuring at the same time.

No other book on the state of literature today can outdo this profound and lively expos‚. Kernan shows how changed societal structures can change the meaning and function of what we have called literature.

Literature has passed through a crisis of confidence in recent decades-a radical questioning of its traditional values and its importance to humanity. In this witty and eloquent book, a distinguished professor of humanities looks at some of the agents that have contributed to literature's demise and ponders whether its vitality can be restored in the changing circumstances of late twentieth-century culture

The death of literature. by. Kernan, Alvin B. Publication date.

The death of literature.

Alvin Kernan, the Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, professor of English, emeritus, and former dean of the Graduate School at Princeton University, died May 17 in Skillman, New Jersey. Literature: An Embattled Profession.

The witnesses were not ‘defining literature’ but trying conscientiously to prevent censorship of a book which they believed should be published.

It sports a pointless and omni-directed superciliousness so relentlessly predictable that if, for example, Rebecca West is cited making a perfectly tenable statement you can rely on being told that she was displaying ‘qualities that must have once made . Wells wonder what he had gotten into’. The witnesses were not ‘defining literature’ but trying conscientiously to prevent censorship of a book which they believed should be published.

Looks at political and critical attacks on literature, suggests that traditional literature is no longer useful to our technological society, and argues that a new concept of literature is needed
User reviews
Fonceiah
I own the book and recommend it for what it is. However the book does not go far enough. Let me hastily add this disclaimer: I am a former university English instructor, an author of literary fiction, and a retired corporate and constitutional law attorney. Ergo, I am far from unbiased.

Dr. Kernan is a professor emeritus of humanities at Princeton. His book, The Death of Literature, is a scholarly analysis of the academic and cultural trends that have led to the decline (I refuse to concede `death') of literature as a respected and respectable academic discipline and its imminent risk of being subsumed by the more `useful' and broader branch of knowledge known as `Communications.' It is well written, handsomely bound, and carefully researched. Jonathan Yardley's unqualified endorsement of the book is testimonial enough. Chapter 7 on the deconstruction of the English language in itself justifies purchase of the book.

The book chronicles the several factors leading to the present crisis - chief among them, the failure of traditional academicians to defend and uphold the centuries-old standards of classic literature against the deconstruction of literature and its acknowledged masterworks by neo-marxists intent on advancing a host of narrow ideologies (feminism, gay rights, economic socialism, and the like). The literary champions blinked. That Literature now risks being `decertified' as a separate department seems only just, given the tepid defense. The historic proclivity of traditional English scholars to view themselves as a self-ordained priesthood, uniquely qualified to interpret literature for the unanointed and to serve as gatekeepers for those works entitled to admission to the canon, scarcely inspires sympathy outside academe. The old English department was a model of a literary autocracy and status-seeking, a paradigm for Plato's Parable of the Cave. Few will mourn a comeuppance so richly deserved.

However, the study of literature as an academic discipline is a far cry from Literature itself. Literature is alive and well and will survive the present crisis. Literature does, however, deserve a better champion. Unfortunately, the author offers no solutions for the crisis he describes. He apparently regards the revolution as a fait accompli. Certainly, the lunatics are running the asylum, as a quick review of any English department syllabus will demonstrate. In fact, the devolution of Literature as a field of study tracks the loss of cultural standards across many facets of our culture beginning with the anti-authoritarian sentiments of the late 1960s. Dr. Kernan identifies the various forces that have eroded all forms of cultural discipline since then, not least of which is the failure of public education and the inability of the general public to read, write, and reason proficiently. It is hardly a surprise that Literature has been affected by these same cultural trends.

What is surprising is that those on the ramparts, including Dr. Kernan in this book, have done such a poor job of justifying their own existence. There are, in fact, superb arguments in defense of Literature and the humanities. There are remedies available for draining the quagmire known as the modern English department. What is needed is better management and less moral relativism. It is not Literature which has become irrelevant, but the keepers of the academic flame. About the rampant lunacy in academe, however, Dr. Kernan has little to say.
Zainn
Until the middle of the twentieth century, literature had been attacked on many levels: it is boring, insipid, corrupting, and just plain useless. Yet, until Jacques Derrida announced his theory that there is no "inside" to any text but only an "outside," literature had always been assumed to "say" something of timeless duration to each generation. Derrida and the next generation's deconstructionists, poststructuralists, feminists, and new historicists now insist that the text is little more than a mirror which reflects whatever political ideology motivates its reader. In THE DEATH OF LITERATURE, Alvin Kernan bemoans what he sees as the loss of literature in the sense that his generation both knew and loved. For Kernan, literature always has an "inside" meaning that exists independently of the reader. And it is precisely this which annoys the deconstructionist crowd. Kernan traces the historical growth of literature from the Enlightenment to the present day, less in the evolution of literary genres and more in the changing mediums with which literature appeared. As long as literature was limited to the printed page, its continuity was assured. But with the advent of the technology of the modern age--television, computers, hypertext--emphasis began to focus on replication of that text rather than on its explication. And when the postructuralists suggested that the very words of any text merely pointed to other words in a never ending closed loop of nihilism, then Kernan feels he has no choice other than to write an epitaph to a means of human endeavour that most folks call literature. However, literature has continuously shown a gritty ability to survive any number and means of assault over the ages. Despite the growing use of computers, books sales continue to flourish in a gratifyingly upward spiral. Further, Kernan fails to see that the current trendy deconstructionist destruction of the printed word is but a minor ripple in the pool of human literary culture. At some point, the miasma of Derrida will dissipate, leaving our nation's colleges and universities to wonder just why it took so long for the emperor to be revealed as truly naked as Kernan has long charged.