“The developments to which scholars were responding during the twentieth century were quite significant. Literary study was one thing when a small number of Christian men were teaching the professionally aspiring sons of fellow professionals. It became another when members of an expanding professoriate were teaching students from middle- and working-class families or, later, when a sizeable number of faculty were women and a sizeable number of their students were from racial and ethnic minorities. And the field is yet another thing now, when faculty and students are more likely to encounter texts on screens than anywhere else and everyone is scrambling for positions, funding and status in a shrinking quarter of the academy.” – Barbara Hernnstein Smith, “What Was ‘Close Reading’?”

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