As academics whose teaching and research fall under the lazy umbrella term 'theory' we experienced some of the collateral damage of the 'theory wars' of the 1980s and 90s. Now, cheerfully informed by a friend and colleague that 'the war is over; theory lost', we acknowledge that some kind of peacetime tranquillity seems to have settled on English departmental relations. Unless, that is, someone raises the question of what constitutes the discipline of English these days. Responses most often turn on questions about the content of the papers we teach: how important is historical and genre 'coverage'? Where does creative writing fit in? And—still—what about that vague entity, (literary) 'theory'?
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