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Grant number like: FT-56121-08

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Mortimer M. Guiney
Kenyon College (Gambier, OH 43022-5020)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 8/31/2008

The Crisis of French Literary Pedagogy, 1905 to the Present

French society puts a greater emphasis than American society on the teaching of national literature, especially in the secondary school system. Consequently, there is a higher degree of public concern over literary pedagogy as it relates to the creation and preservation of a coherent national identity. Currently this concern takes the form of a national crisis over the decline of literary studies in the curriculum, the literary canon, and the deterioration of spoken and written French among students. My book project will contextualize the most recent controversy by relating it to earlier "crises" in French literary pedagogy, starting in 1905 with the law on the separation of Church and State, shortly after the advent of literary history. I argue that the function of literature as secular scripture accounts for the comparative importance of literary pedagogy in France, for its past influence on literature studies in American universities, and the recent decline of that influence.