Eagleton: “The Rise of English” Literary Studies before “Theory” Timeline: I. Pre-modern: ‘Literature’ the valued writings of society—‘imaginative’ or otherwise; embodies and disseminates values of a particular (privileged) class; purposes frankly ideological. II. Romantics (1798 – early 19th century): Reaction to social/technological upheavals of second-half of 18th century: rise of liberal economy, industrialization, breakdown of ‘traditional’ social relations and ‘organic’ society; ‘Literature’ becomes oppositional to dominant ideology. NB: but also detaches itself from social purpose, to retreat from engagement with the world to preserve the “essential” human qualities against dehumanizing forces taking over; “art” becomes the repository of “timeless” values and truths superior to those of any particular historical moment [quasi-religious overtones already apparent]. III. Victorians (mid 19th – early 20th centuries): ‘timeless’ values and truths embodied in Literature become substitute for religion in indoctrinating middle and laboring classes; ‘universal’ values encourage solidarity across classes and shared identification in national body (useful for indoctrination into imperialist ideology); discourage class consciousness or a focus on inequitable material conditions and their sources in various social injustices. ‘English’ offered as suitable for academic study by laborers and women. IV. Leavis and Scrutineers (early - mid 20th century): replace aristocratic cocktail-party chatter about ‘Literature’; instead position study of ‘Literature’ in opposition to ‘dehumanizing’ effects of modern mass culture; study of English a moral crusade—a struggle for people’s souls [cf. Romantics]. Deeply nostalgic and suspicious of, even hostile towards, popular culture (radio, film, jazz, advertising). [cf. Romantics] Practical and New Criticism: attempt to inject rigor into study of ‘Literature’ (poetry in particular); focus on ‘the text itself’ divorced from larger contexts (historical, social, cultural, personal) to find ‘timeless’ truths revealed by ‘Literature.’ Motivated in part by science envy and need to ‘prove’ intellectual seriousness of literary studies; encouraged by infusion of new students into universities who lacked preparation of previous social classes who made up bulk of university students; focus on resolvable paradoxes and ‘harmony’ and ‘balance’ of texts worked well with consensus ideologies of 1950s.