…we can take it as read and written that
a future of literary thinking exists, out there for the imagining or making…
Just as the future of literary thinking is tied to the future of democracy, so it is
tied to the deconstruction of religious systems, mystical and supernatural thought, anthropocentrism
in general. Future literary thinking will certainly need
to engage, not unlike the blog-critics, with the pressing concerns of a wider world. What
we write will no longer be dictated by the implicit or explicit identity politics which
currently drives the academy. In the age of the internet the profession
needs to go on the attack and take literature seriously, wresting it back from people who
do not read that well. ‘The future of’ perhaps too readily implies
that there is a present, a fixed and reassuring now of the literary. Nothing is less certain.
…as the future as such is just a scratch, unraveling in plaster, a spine of pure cord.
Everywhere I look in the field of Humanist studies I see scholars who have moved beyond
the polemics and dogmatism of the seventies and eighties and incorporated what we have
learned from the culture wars into their work in a wholly positive way. Of course there
are still some who are intent on fighting old wars as there are some who seem never
to have been touched by them. But I do think there is a new spirit abroad, and it is one
that gives me every reason to hope.