In what ways does this selection exemplify a Marxist approach? Do Eagleton's ideas show the influence of his teacher Raymond Williams?
What are some qualities of Eagleton's style?
What in his view were some of the social determinants of the study of English literature in the 19th century? How was it differentiated from study of the classics?
Which values was the study of English literature supposed to confirm? (2247) What made literature suitable for the transmission of moral ideology?
At the turn of the century, which groups of persons were encouraged to study literature?
To what does Eagleton ascribe the increased attention to national literature in school and university curricula after the first world war?
Can you think of any other reasons why English literature overtook the classics and philology in popularity beside the ones which he mentions?
What seem some purposes behind Eagleton's critique of the ideological mission of the teaching of English? Are his strictures more applicable to a particular kind of curriculum?
What kind of literary/cultural study do you think he would favor? Could any of his critiques be applied to aspects of the English program at Iowa?
Pierre Bourdieu, introduction, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste
What is Bourdieu's argument, in brief?
What are the references and implications of the title? What influence may the fact that Bourdieu is a sociologist have on his view of aesthetics?
How may his claims for the primacy of cultural capital as an index of status, education and social origin reflect aspects of contemporary French culture?
What aspects of "cultural competence" does Bourdieu believe are acquired? In what settings are they best inculcated? (1811)
What does he believe are features of "art" which are socially valorized? Which aspects are denied or repressed?
What are differences between a naive or popular view of art and that which reflects intellectual values? (1813) What examples does he give of hierarchies of interpretation?
In what ways do canons of "taste" operate outside the spheres of high art? (1813)
Does Bourdieu share some interests or viewpoints with Williams and Eagleton?
To what extent may Bourdieu's claims be valid within most cultures? Is a place reserved in his analysis for differences in personal judgment, affinity and temperament?
Are there aspects of literature and its apprehension which are not entirely relevant to his analysis?
Selections and pagination from the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2001 edition.