The most striking development in literary scholarship since the millennium is the increasing exploration of scientific models for literary research. This reflects an anxiety about the authority of humanistic research that has historical roots, some of them well described in the work of the social anthropologist Ernest Gellner. The “two cultures” debate of the early 1960s, centrally animated by C. P. Snow and F. R. Leavis, made the anxiety of the literary professoriat a matter of public debate that still inflects literary scholarship and theory. The rhetorical amplification of scientism, privileging scientific methodologies or partnership with scientific methodologies, in recent literary-critical scholarship is one result. The older formation of “humanities computing,” for example, has reemerged as the digital humanities, with claims to the status of interpretive methodology, particularly in the work of Franco Moretti. Such claims, however, are sometimes the repackaging of older methodologies.

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