Laura Heffernan is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Laura is currently writing two books: “Unliterary Critics,” a study of critical practices in the modernist period, and – with Rachel Sagner Buurma – a new disciplinary history of English, titled “The Teaching Archive.”
"The Discipline" explores untold histories of literary study in the twentieth century. What futures for our discipline do these new pasts make possible?
In the Spring of 2001, while a graduate student in Philadelphia, I inherited the instructorship for a Temple University continuing education course called, accurately if awkwardly, “Books You Wish You’d Read.” Everything about this gig screamed “easy money,” starting with the course title’s modest past perfect promise — no one, it seems, was expecting me to transform adult students into readers of the classics; all I had to do was turn a few classics into books they had read.