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In his book, Professing Literature, Gerald Graff discusses that from 1890-1915 there was disagreement between generalists, who, as Graff states, "tended to dispense with elaborate pedagogical theories and ... let the great masterpieces of literature teach themselves" (Graff 86), and scholars, who were primarily philologists. While the generalists believed the study of literature should result in appreciation and a more cultured student, the scholars were primarily researchers. Graff goes on to describe the additional conflict between critics and scholars that grew out of the development of criticism between 1915-1930. Within the group of critics, Graff identifies humanists, who supported a generalist approach to literature, and aesthetic formalists, who focused on the structure of a text to better understand it. By determining where the Eastern Illinois State Normal School faculty stood on these issues, it will become possible to begin to put together a picture of how the Normal School pedagogy may have evolved differently than that of faculties at the research-based schools Graff focuses on. Isabel McKinney's articles in the Normal School Bulletin, as well as two textbooks for both middle and high school English, which she wrote with Thomas Briggs, have been useful in determining the answers to these questions.

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