Who Says English Is a Dying Discipline?

Chaucer Illustration

Brian Rea for The Chronicle Review

Has the discipline of English finally reached its fatal tipping point, the point of no return? We English professors have never been sanguine about our discipline's future. A sense of struggling against remorseless institutional tides has defined the ethos of the English department since the 19th century. But the rhetoric of impending doom has ratcheted up of late. Even before the financial crash in 2008, the literary-critic-turned-public-intellectual William Deresiewicz declared in The