Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Introduction: Asking Literary Questions

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pp. 3-14

The fortunes of literary studies have gone up and down during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with the same volatility as the stock market. And like the stock market, the market in literary studies can be charted with confidence only with the benefit of hindsight. ...

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Who Owns “Human Nature”?

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pp. 15-44

In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, people around the world struggled to understand what the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon could possibly tell us about “human nature.” The London Guardian suggested that “we are struggling to adapt our perception of the world, ...

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Historical Correctness: The Use and Abuse of History for Literature

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pp. 45-69

We who profess literary studies have been living through a time of infatuation with history. This is not the first such crush, to be sure, but it is a heady one. And like all infatuations, it carries with it a certain overestimation of the object. History seems to know everything that we want to know, ...