Is Literary History the History of Everything? The Case for "Antiquarian" History*

David Simpson's essay, reprinted here from SubStance, makes the compelling argument that strategies for making literary history relevant in both research and the classroom involve inviting students and scholars to project themselves uncritically upon the past. Simpson's particular strategy is archivalism, the disinterested collection of historical detail, which includes a critical appraisal of the limits of such disinterestedness (or objectivity).