Ralph Cohen was highly regarded as the visionary founding editor of New Literary History, but his own theoretical essays appeared in such a scattering of publications that their conceptual originality, underlying coherence, and range of application have not been readily apparent. This new selection of twenty essays, many published here for the first time, offers a synthesis of Cohen’s vital work.

In these pages Cohen introduces change and continuity as essential modes of discourse in the study of literary behavior, an approach that can produce reliable narratives of literary, artistic, and cultural change. Here Cohen conceptualizes and develops a compelling, innovative theory of genre that promotes a systematic study of historical change, offering rewarding insights for twenty-first-century scholars.