The various pronouncements of the nation’s dissolution seem to have been premature. Literary history is still very much within the nation, especially if one considers the realm of the middle- and lowbrow, or indeed the vast swaths of genre fiction. What has changed in literary history is the position of literature itself. The discipline of literary study (whether one thinks of it as literary history or literary criticism) institutionalized itself during a period of literary dominance. Now that that dominance is over—now that the field of narrative aesthetic culture includes television, film, and video games, and now that those genres dominate not only markets but the forms of representativity that used to belong almost exclusively to literature—what is the future for literary studies, either as a scholarly discipline or as an institutional field?

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