The Rise of English | Summary

The Rise of English Summary

The rise of English does not mean the rising of English people as a nation, it means the rising of English literature and language as an academic subject.

It getting attention not because it is a beautiful or innocent thing. Because of hegemony, they use it as a weapon to dominate others, and a political, economical, religious, social, and cultural conspiracy is working behind it.

They used literature for utilitarian motive in the neoclassical age, in the Victorian age we used literature for revolution, but now we use literature as a weapon.

Some monarchies tried to hegemonize the middle class through literature. In the medieval age, people thought that representing the elite class means literature.

They used literature as an instrument. They used literature as a weapon of cultural and social hegemony.

The Rise of English Summary

In the 17th Century, a civil war took place between Catholics and Protestants. And at a time, the protestants beat catholic supporters. Because the middle class getting more powerful day by day the monarchy wants ideological domination over the protestants through literature.

They wanted to make the middle class polite and spineless. And They successfully made symbolically division into the middle class through “Sartorial Hegemony”. That means “Divide and Rule”. And this is how decades after decades, slowly they were making English a dominating tool.


At that time in England, English was not recognized as a prestigious subject. People thought that English is a cheap subject whereas philosophy, science, and law is very elite subjects. They thought that English should be read in the mechanical institute. And was it allotted only for working-class or second or third-rate people who will give their services to the factories?

The Rise of English Literature Summary 

“In the early 1920s it was desperately unclear why English was worth studying at all;

by the early 1930s, it had become a question of why it was worth wasting your time on anything else”


That means, In the early 1920s the Britishers were surprised that how could they accept English as a subject in their universities. But in the early 1930s, they understood why they are wasting time on other subjects when they should study English. Because English is not just a subject, it is a weapon of Neo-colonialism. And they could use it for political-cultural-economical-religious hegemony. The English people made English supreme, for their benefit.

Read: Relationship between gods and mortals in Iliad

Author:  Tonmoy Debnath

Department: English

Institution: Notre Dame University Bangladesh

Member of ‘Future Writers’