D.G. Myers has a provocative -- if also rather silly -- pop at Theory, Seven theses about the history of literary theory, over on his excellent A Commonplace Blog. Provocative because each of the seven theses contain banalities, truisms and misapprehensions in equal measure; silly because -- well, attacking Theory (which is so capacious) in such a bluff way always strikes as fatuous. Nonetheless, the post warmed me up for the day, and you can't ask for more than that on such a frosty morning!
Myers does pull out a quote that I did very much enjoy from J.V. Cunningham who wrote:
If I read books I should know how books are made and where to find them. If I read Shakespeare I should know it may not be Shakespeare. We call the one bibliography, the other textual criticism. If I read a language I should know the language, whether it be of Tudor London or contemporary Western American. We call this philology. If what I read has any real reference I should know something of the referent. We call this history. If the referent is, in part, as it is in Lycidas, prior literature, I should know that. We call this literary history (more...)