Closed Circles?: English Literature and the Return of Canonical Exclusivity

Dr. Andrew Warnes, University of Leeds – Expertise and Experience

Dr. Emily Ennis, University of Leeds – Leisure and Subversion

Dr. Simon Sandison, University of Leeds – Elsewhere and Everyday

This interactive and deliberatively provocative panel will consist of three short presentations in which we share concerns about the future of the English novel and our common ownership of it. Drawing on our own diverse research interests and classroom experiences, we will steer our audience towards the consideration of practical steps to address three common anxieties.

1. That full tuition fees has led us to present English literature as a field of specialist knowledge, and to present ourselves as experts without whom it cannot be “truly” appreciated.
2. That this mirrors a wider shift in our literary culture, and a growing reluctance to deal with the ground beneath our feet.
3. That we are returning to a view of literature as the preserve of a leisure class, estranged from the fractured UK of 2017.

Together with our audience we will justify our shared sense that the academy has retreated to the canon, invite challenges to our logic and defences of this process, and collaboratively imagine ways and means to make our discipline proactive, open, and inclusive.

Thursday 6th July, 9.30