What are the key points in Terry Eagleton's essay "The Rise of English"?

Eagleton's key point in "The Rise of English" is that English as a field of study is an ideology. He traces the development of this ideology from the eighteenth century through the rise of New Criticism in the 1930s. In particular, he argues that with the decline of religion, literature became dominant way of indoctrinating the lower and middle classes in the values of the ruling class.

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Eagleton argues that literature as a field of study is itself a kind of ideology. He traces the rise of "literature" from its roots in eighteenth-century "belles lettres" through the Romantic distinction between "reason" and "imagination," the Victorian impulse to use English studies as a way to indoctrinate the middle and lower classes in British ruling class values, into the twentieth century. In particular, Eagleton locates the rise of what we now think of as "English" with academics like F. R. Leavis, T. S. Eliot, and I. A. Richards. Eagleton's main point is that English as an academic subject was invented to serve a specific, largely conservative, ideological purpose.

Eagleton is mainly concerned with...

(The entire section contains 347 words.)

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