Remember the essays you had to write in high school? Or at least, how I why does history matter essay one. Who 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. Germany in the late 19th century. Johns Hopkins in 1876, the new model spread rapidly. Writing was one of the casualties. But how do you do research on composition? The closest thing seemed to be English literature.