Remember the essays you had to write in high school? Or at least, how I write one. Why are you proud to be an american essay cares about symbolism in Dickens? How did things get this way?
It seemed the essence of what scholars did. Aristotle in his own era. But schools change slower than scholarship. But for obvious reasons no one wanted to give that answer. And so began the study of modern literature. English literature in the 1820s. 1876, and Oxford not till 1885.