Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Foreword

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pp. vii-xi

Until quite recently, "doing English Literature" meant joining the flow of an established tradition of wisdom and beauty. One might divert into "American Literature," or even "Commonwealth Literature," but these were considered largely to be tributaries. When "Black Literature" and "Women's Literature" forced their way to the surface, some people regarded them also as wayward eddies...

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1. Shakespeare and Dissident Reading

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pp. 1-20

Last time I traveled to the United States, before I could reach the airline desk in London, I met with the additional checks that have been provoked by fears of terrorism. Who was I? Why was I traveling:* To the young security guard, I evidently didn't look like his idea of a professor. Anyway, professor of what? This was where the trouble really started. English Literature—he'd really hated that...

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2. Art as Cultural Production

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pp. 21-39

Students and professors in the United States often ask me to explain cultural materialism. This is mainly because it comes up in discussions of new historicism—either as a lamentable extreme toward which new historicism declines, or as the positive vision which it fails to attain. This is partly because the success of new historicism in North America derives from its vagueness; it covers mostStudents and professors in the United States often ask me to explain cultural materialism. This is mainly because it comes up in discussions of new historicism—either as a lamentable extreme toward which new historicism declines, or as the positive vision which it fails to attain. This is partly because the success of new historicism in North America derives from its vagueness; it covers most...

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3. Un-American Activities

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pp. 40-59

During World War II, U.S. recruiting officers were on the look out for two unmanly types: malingerers and homosexuals. The malingerers were drafted, but gays were rejected; whatever they did, they couldn't be manly. But what of the gay man who tried really hard to get into the services I1 Was that not prima facie evidence...

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4. Beyond Englit

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pp. 60-82

In his poem "The Truest Poetry is the Most Feigning," published in 1955, W.H. Auden urges upon love poets the most elaborate style: "Be subtle, various, ornamental, clever. . . . From such ingenious fibs are poems born." This is the best way to court "your Beatrice," and it may help you in times of political violence...

Notes

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pp. 83-90

Texts Cited

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pp. 91-100

Index

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pp. 101-106