The Legibility of Literacy in Composition's Great Debate: Revisiting "Romantics on Writing" and the History of Composition
Keywords:the abolution debate, literacy, literacy studies, the New Literacy Studies, freshman composition, compulsory composition, first-year writing, literacy myth, literacy crisis, Thomas Lounsbury, Oscar James Campbell
This essay revisits two proposals for the abolition of compulsory freshman English: Thomas Lounsbury’s “Compulsory Composition in Colleges” in 1911 and Oscar James Campbell’s “The Failure of Freshman English” in 1939. It demonstrates how the New Literacy Studies provides a generative theoretical perspective from which to make more visible the assumptions, definitions, and attitudes about literacy that perpetuate the compulsory composition debate.
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Copyright (c) 2013 Michael Harker
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