Chronicle of Higher Education’s Best Scholarly Books List Includes Latest by Jed Esty

Jed Esty, Vartan Gregorian Professor of English

The Future of Decline: Anglo-American Culture at Its Limits, by Jed Esty, Vartan Gregorian Professor of English, was selected as one of the Best Scholarly Books of 2023 by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The list, compiled by Chronicle contributors, included books that had “surprised, challenged, thrilled, or impressed them most in 2023.” Esty’s book was named by Jane Hu, a Humanities Society of Fellows postdoctoral candidate at the University of Southern California.

In the book, Esty looks at the decline of post-World War II Britain as a lens for the future of the United States. “The book is a study of the past, focused on the long twilight of American decline that has been ongoing since the 1970s,” Hu says. “But Esty’s central argument, as his title suggests, is fundamentally about the future, in drawing out new narratives for the United States ‘after supremacy.’” She continues, “Esty makes the comparison in service of the importance, even necessity, of literary criticism,” and quotes Esty saying, “Paradoxically, a study of the fictions—the beliefs and ideologies—that have been shaping American culture is more objective and more useful than a flat-footed debate about the ‘facts.’”

To read the full article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, click here.

To read more about The Future of Decline, visit the Penn Today story here.


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