Marjorie Garber
William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies Harvard University

A Manifesto for Literary Studies

A Manifesto for Literary Studies writes Marjorie Garber, “is an attempt to remind us of the specificity of what it means to ask literary questions, and the pleasure of thinking through and with literature. It is a manifesto in the sense that it invites strong declarations and big ideas, rather than impeccable small contributions to edifices long under construction.” Known for her timely challenges to the preconceptions and often unquestioned boundaries that circumscribe our culture, Garber’s beautifully crafted arguments situate “big public questions of intellectual importance” – such as those of human nature and historical correctioness – within the practice of literary historians and critics. This manifesto revives the ancient craft who ultimate focus is language in action. In this book, Garber passionately concludes that “the future importance of literary studies – and if we care about such things, its intellectural and cultural prestige both among the other disciplines and in the world – will come from taking risks, and not from playing it safe.”