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181  Profession2007The Historicization of LiteraryStudies and the Fate of Close ReadingJaneGalloPA few years ago I, along with a few colleagues from my department, wentto dinner with a candidate for a junior position in eighteenthcenturyBritish literature. In the course of the conversation, the job candidate declared that it was impossible to get published without archival work. Thiswas something I had never heard, and it stuck in my craw.Whether or not her assessment of things was accurate and despite thelikelihood that it varies a lot by field, I recognized that this remark doesin fact represent something about the direction of literary studies today.While not literally true, the remark bespeaks what, for those whose disciplinary formation is taking place in the United States in the early twentyfirst century, is an established norm. This norm diverges widely from thosethat governed my own professional formation three decades ago, and I wantto say—at the risk of sounding like the a...