Managing diversity: The anthologization of "American literature"
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Anthologies provide a means to define, transmit, and reproduce "American Literature. "The twovolume anthologies for courses in higher education are the objects of this study. In them "American Literature" is conventionally defined, but at the same time each new anthology on the market presents itself as different from the previous ones. Proclamations of newness were particularly evident in 1990, when The Heath Anthology of American Literature brought "diversity" and "reconstruction" into the anthologization.
This study analyzes the anthologization process as an interaction between forces of continuity and pressures for change. Apart from the Heath anthology, I consider different editions of The American Tradition of American Literature and The Norton Anthology of American literature. For each of them, I seek to analyze the literary protocol, that is, how anthologies select, organize, and present authors and texts. Two parts of the protocol are selected to examine the interaction of structure and agency: the prefaces and the essays introducing the 1865-1914 period. The prefaces demonstrate that anthologization always negotiates literature and history in the production of national value, and the period introductions negotiate the received record of a historical period.
Since the anthologization is based on and reproduces an invented literary tradition, opportunities for change are limited. The competition on the anthology market changes but conventionalizes "American Literature." As an academic textbook the anthology provides legitimacy, but it is also part of the hierarchy which characterizes the academic structure. The pressure for change in anthologies may come from outside, as political demands, but are then mediated by the academy. An analysis of how the "culture wars "impacted on anthologization shows how political differences turn into cultural positions conditioned by the continuity of the academy.
The final principle to manage diversity is, I argue, the marketing of "American Literature" as a symbolic goodwhich incorporates national value. This unity of purpose reifies literature and overrules differences. Thus the national anthologization process manages the diversity which may be argued by individual anthologies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 343 p.
Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0562-2719 ; 111
Research subject English
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1076ISBN: 91-554-4817-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1076DiVA: diva2:160617
2000-10-10, Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Villavägen 4, Uppsala, 10:00