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31 Special Forum: Victorian Studies and Interdisciplinarity I have spent my 1500 words here in pied complication and historical boundary crossings, but where do Hopkins’s and Gadamer’s works actually point us? Certainly they should lead to a recognition of the bounded-ness of all disciplinary horizons, and therefore, also, of their inadequacy and mutability. Concomitantly, they ask us to acknowledge the impossibility of any search for exhaustive understanding.Thus, how we frame our work—make manifest its horizons—might shift towards more explicit requests for dialogic response, for communal interrogation, and, of course, for continuing revision. Hopkins and Gadamer point us not only towards an eager engagement beyond the narrow confines of“literature,” but also towards an eager engagement with each other, much as this special issue brings into juxtaposition a pied variety of perspectives and presuppositions. Of course, the only beauty“past change” here (that some of us non-believers would readily admit) is the beauty of natural, epistemological, and ontological diversity itself. But that still gives us a lot with which to work. Works Cited Anger, Suzy. Victorian Interpretation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. 2nd rev. ed.Trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall. NewYork: Continuum, 2003. Hopkins, Gerard Manley.“Pied Beauty.” The Major Works. Ed. Catherine Phillips. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 132–33. Saville, Julia. A Queer Chivalry:The Homoerotic Asceticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Charlottesville, VA: University Press ofVirginia, 2000. • The Institutional Limits and Possibilities ofVictorian Interdisciplinary Studies Lin da K. H ughes • The interrelations of literature have been discussed for years, in fact for centuries (if one wishes to go back to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the Italian Renaissance theorists, Horace), and more recently by scholars…. Because of the unprecedented interest in interdisciplinary study … and the proliferation of interdisciplinary scholarship … the time was right for a new collection of essays that would reflect the current state of interdisciplinary study. This epigraph comes not from the directive Victorian Review editors sent to forum contributors, but from Interrelations of Literature published by the Modern Language Association of America almost twenty-five years ago (iv–v). The subject of interdisciplinary studies has since recurred regularly in the victorian review • Volume 33 Number 1 32 MLA’s publication Profession, which addresses issues of research, teaching, and professional development. Stanley Fish contributed “Being Interdisciplinary Is So Very Hard to Do” in 1989; Margery Sabin considered “Literary Reading in Interdisciplinary Study” in 1995; and a forum entitled “Interdisciplinarity: Art, Literature, Music” comprised most of the 1998 issue.The topic’s regular reappearances suggest that interdisciplinary studies are considered foundational and pervasive, yet still an issue to be tussled with. I open with organizational publications in order to focus on the mediation of interdisciplinary studies by institutions with respect to training, teaching, and publishing, touching on what institutions obstruct and what they make possible. I begin with training.The biggest obstacle to genuinely interdisciplinary work is that so few of us are trained in more than one discipline. Most American PhD programs offer courses in literature and culture and some offer PhDs in English and women’s studies. But few programs encourage students to take graduate courses in another discipline such as history, art history, musicology, or sociology. Even if more did so, a mere two or three courses cannot suffice to master another field’s methodology.Typically, then, we apply the methodologies of English studies to materials from other disciplines. Does this amount to interdisciplinary study? I recall an art historian’s riposte to a literary scholar’s talk illustrated by some two hundred slides:“Fine. And next time I give a lecture I’ll talk about fifty poems in an hour.”The remark hit home. For art historians the iconographic conventions and painterly techniques out of which representational images emerge are themselves sites of contest and cultural inscription that require patient analysis. Most of us in English would be taken aback if the problematics of literary texts were effaced except as they helped theorize music or painting, and we in English should be wary of ignoring fundamental methods of other disciplines into which we venture. Institutions, however, can work to support interdisciplinary...


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