The current issue of University Affairs magazine has as its cover story an article by Albert Braz, "In praise of literature" about the loss of faith in literature by literary scholars and professors.
"Whenever one discusses the future of the discipline [he says], it soon becomes apparent that most people feel that if [literature] can be saved at all it will be by embracing some related field, such as film studies, cultural studies or that academic catch-all that goes by the name of theory – anything but literature. In fact, no other term appears to cause more anxiety at departmental meetings than literature itself. Instead of being a source of disciplinary pride, or at least of disciplinary identity, it has become an embarrassment, an anachronism, and we handle it as if it were an explosive device."Braz holds a joint appointment in English and comparative literature at the University of Alberta. He is the author of The False Traitor: Louis Riel in Canadian Culture. Almost as interesting as his article are the comments that sprang up almost immediately it was posted on the UA website yesterday.