English and Englishness : a cultural history of English studies in British higher education, 1880-1980
It is argued in this thesis that, contrary to much previous work on the subject, the history of English Studies in higher education is not best understood in terms of the emergence of a mature form of academic activity which has since continued to develop through time on the basis of the unity of its object (lq`English literature') and of its mode of study (lq`literary criticism'). Instead, this history examines the conditions which allowed the initial emergence, specification and delimitation of the new academic discipline of `English Language and Literature', and the sequence of subsequent institutional and discursive modifications and transformations which brought about substantial alterations to the field of study. Through a series of case studies of the English Association, the Newbolt Report, the Review of English Studies, and of the diverse tendencies which have characterised the discipline since the nineteen-forties, it is argued that `English Studies' must be analysed as an entity not having any single or consistent fixed centre. It is further shown that within the variable discursive and institutional articulations which have characterised English Studies as a field of activity, account must be taken of a much wider range of objects and relations than can be encompassed within `literature' and `criticism'; in fact, the discipline is shown to have been just as concerned with, for example, approved modes of communication, and Englishness. The thesis examines the specific historical conditions under which such objects and issues were brought into mutual relation through the establishment of full academic disciplinary status, the installation of an integrated career structure and professional norms, and the development of a distinctive documentary field, set of professional associations, range of pedagogic activities, and mechanism for the selection of students.